Several family stories from both sides of my family give personality and life to ancestors.
For example, at the funeral of my Aunt Isabel (my mother’s sister) recently, my first cousin once removed, Isabel’s granddaughter, said Isabel told this story: Grandfather Spencer (my mother and Isabel’s grandfather) got married late in life after being widowed. It seems a lady came to town looking for a rich husband. Because Grandfather Spencer had a surrey with fringe on top, just like the song. Apparently, as Cathy said, it was the Lamborghini of the time. Seeing this fancy rig, she assumed the owner was what she was looking for. She set her cap and they were wed.
Now, as Aunt Isabel told it, at the time a rich widow in town would have happily married Grandfather Spencer, had he only asked, because she quite liked him. But he went for the younger, prettier and slier girl.
Once settled into domestic life, the new Mrs. Spencer discovered to her dismay that he was not rich. Not at all. Grandfather Spencer had been a successful farmer in Indiana before moving to Mississippi, but the crops he was accustomed to growing just did not fare well in the Mississippi heat. So he was not only not rich, he was losing money each year. He had a nice house, with nice furnishings, some land, and of course that surrey. But income was not what the bride expected.
She cut her losses quickly, leaving town with all the family heirloom furnishings and was never heard from again. And, we all assumed the nice, rich widow decided Grandfather Spencer was too foolish a man to pursue any further.
This is another family history tale I want to turn into a novel someday!