Friday, September 21, 2018

The Pantheon of the Famously Named, Part II, September 21, 2018

There is nothing in all the earth
that you and I can do for the dead,
They do not need us,
but forever and forever more
we need them.
~President James Abram Garfield

Greetings to all of you from warm and sunny San Diego as fall is set to arrive tomorrow! In my last post I shared about 3 different people in our family tree who were named after U.S. Presidents. They are part of what I am calling "The Pantheon of the Famously Named."  There are a few others tucked away in various branches of our large family tree who also were given the names of famous people. Here are two more...

James Abram Garfield Gibbs. When I connected with my "shirt-tail cousin" Ron Gibbs a few weeks ago, he proudly mentioned to me someone I had never known about: his grandfather James Abram Garfield Gibbs (1881-1955). Ron's Grandfather had been given the name of the 20th U.S. President, James Abram Garfield. Unfortunately, President Garfield only served for six months after his inauguration on March 4, 1881. He was assassinated while in office and died September 19, 1881.

President James Abram Garfield
about 1880
 James Abram Garfield Gibbs is related to us via my Grandmother Bura Davis Shepard. Bura's two sisters, Nona and Myra Davis, married Kilpatrick brothers, Barney and William. Those two Kilpatrick brothers had a first cousin, Harriet Smith, who married James Abram Garfield Gibbs. My genealogical app says that James Abram Garfield Gibbs is "the husband of the 1st cousin of the husband of my great-aunt." Try to get your head around that!

Our ancestor James A.G. Gibbs was born October 16, 1881, just one month after the tragic death of President Garfield. It is therefore easy to understand the thinking of parents Alfred and Cora Gibbs, when they named their first born. Father Alfred Gibbs was a native Ohioan just like beloved President Garfield, which may have been a big reason James Abram Garfield Gibbs was given his name. He therefore becomes the fourth person to find his place in our "Pantheon of the Famously Named."

For many readers of The Shepard's Crook, President Garfield has special importance because he was one of only two Presidents who were members of the American religious tradition (the "Restoration Movement") which gave birth to the Churches of Christ and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Garfield was not only a member of that religious tradition, he was a minister within that group before he went into politics and became President. For more about President Garfield in this blog select this link.

Benjamin Harrison Davis. A fifth member of our "Pantheon of the Famously Named" is also from my Grandmother Bura Davis' side of our family. Benjamin Harrison Davis (1888-1963) was the youngest of the 7 children of my GG Grandparents Charles and Melinda Davis. My 2nd Great Uncle Benjamin Harrison Davis was named after our 23rd President Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901). This President Harrison was the Grandson of the 9th President William Henry Harrison who was mentioned in my last post.

Uncle Benjamin Harrison Davis (left)
President Benjamin Harrison (right)
My Uncle Benjamin Harrison Davis was born in Indiana August 25, 1888. His parents Charles and Melinda therefore named their son 3 months before the election of  President Benjamin Harrison, a popular Hoosier politician. Once again timing was everything. As was location. President Harrison was born in Ohio but lived much of his life in Indiana, much like the parents of my Uncle Benjamin, Charles and Melinda Wright Davis. My Uncle Benjamin lived his last years in Lipscomb County, Texas, just south of Beaver County, Oklahoma. He died by drowning at 74 years old when his pickup was swept into a swollen creek during a flash flood in the spring of 1963.

This second picture shows my uncle Benjamin Harrison Davis on the left, with his name sake President Benjamin Harrison on the right. Welcome to Benjamin Harrison Davis who is the fifth person to be added to our "Pantheon of the Famously Named."

For my next post: more people in "The Pantheon of the Famously Named." Believe it or not there are others in our family tree who belong in this Pantheon who are even more famous than the Presidents I have already mentioned. Next time I will share about a couple of others. If you happen to know of other people who belong in this Pantheon, please let me know. I do not want to overlook any famously named people in our family tree!
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Steve Shepard

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