So since I didn't know who to start with, I decided to start on one of my biggest brick walls. This story will be short but not so sweet. You see, I have been hearing stories over the years about my family from my mother who is the family historian and Griot, she knows the history from both sides of the family. My mom and dad had been dating since she was age 13. My mother has the gift of gab and knows just what questions to ask. The man you see below if I remember correctly is a picture of my paternal great grandfather
William Henry Preston.
Now, what I'm getting ready to tell you I didn't find out until just some months ago, but as I was doing my research I couldn't remember my great grandfathers name to research him so I found my grandmothers obituary and found his name...when I searched his name, I found a draft card from World War 1 1917-1918 .
I examined the draft card and found that this person was a Chauffeur with a wife and 3 children living in Washington DC, for some reason I never really knew or asked about my grandmothers dad, I guess because she never really talked about him, she mentioned other family members regularly but never him. I was young and never really paid attention, but apparently at some point she must have spoken of her father, because my mom and oldest brother knew the story.
I told my mom what I found she said "yes," that my grandmom, her mother-in-law used to say her dad was a Chauffeur and they did live in DC for a time when she was a young girl. Great! I thought, this has to be him, then I found on familysearch.org some pages where there was a marriage between Frances Thompson my paternal great-grandmother and William Henry Preston.
Now I have an estimate of the year he was born. I asked my mother and oldest brother more questions, this is when I learned the rest of the story... At some point when my grandmother was a little girl, her father had left one day and no one ever knew where he went or what happened to him, they never heard anything else about him. Now I know I really need to search more intently because I would really like to get to the bottom of this mystery. The technology and access to documents and things that we have now, I thought surely, I should be able to find out something. To my surprise I think I might have found the mystery but I can't confirm anything yet and even if this is him the story is still sad. It looks like he may have been put in jail, my search led to some documents saying that there was a William Henry Preston of Washington DC put in jail, maybe sent to a penitentiary in Atlanta Georgia.
The time adds up, it was around the time that he had left, we believe that my grandmother said she was between the ages of 6-8 yrs old and she was born in 1912 making it 1918 - 1920 which would be right around the right time for the 31 year old William Preston #7850. So this is my brick wall for now. My next step is to send for these records and find out the truth. If this is him, I wish that my grandmother would have been here to know that he didn't leave them, he was taken away. But I know that he is back with his family and they are all together again, William, Frances, my grandmother Marie and her 2 sisters Bernice and Theresa.
|Frances Thompson the mother top left, William H Preston father top right|
L-R Theresa Preston Elliott, Marie Preston Crippen(my grandmother) and Bernice Preston
and their baby brother Maurice Dennis. His father was Roy Dennis whom I don't know anything about and that is another story for another day.