Friday, May 28, 2010

I'm a Ketcham, you're a Ketchem, wouldn't you like to be a Ketchum too...

This is the continuation of the post below

Meanwhile, I've done something I never in a million years thought of doing. I'm helping plan a family reunion. A little background may be in order.

Some readers may know that my mother's family are Ketchams. It's a common name today, but back in the 1620s it wasn't. In fact, it belonged only to one man, a Puritan named Edward Ketcham who emigrated at that time. His name back in England had been Cheatham or something like that. From him are descended all the Ketchams, Ketchums and Ketchems in America. (Yes, even this one. In fact, he and I are about as distantly related as it's possible for two Ketchams to be. He comes from Edward's youngest son and I come from the oldest.)

My grandfather, Merritt Ketcham, came out west from Missouri in about 1921, a jump and a half ahead of the prohibition agents. See, his father had been a gandy-dancer until he lost a hand in a hunting accident, at which time he turned to moonshining. My grandfather and his older brother John made the deliveries. Well, this worked fine until Prohibition went into effect. (I'm extrapolating this part based on the dates.) All of a sudden, the moonshining business turned a lot more serious, and the boys' mother wanted them out of it. So she put them on a train to Wyoming with the clothes on their backs and a packet of sandwiches. John would have been 16 at this time and my grandfather was 14. They went to school with some relatives in Wyoming, then John went to work for the railroad and my grandfather went to punching cattle in Idaho, near the Oregon Slope. Eventually their parents and five younger siblings came out west behind them.

Fast-forward several generations, to last year when my wife finally lured me into getting set up on Facebook. It occurred to me to look up a couple of Ketcham cousins I hadn't seen in thirty years. (Response from the first one: "Wow! We always wondered what had happened to you!") Armed with a list from my mom of my grandfather's siblings and their kids, I sallied forth onto the internet in search of Ketchams.

When it was done, I had located a mess of children and grandchildren of the seven little Ketchams who had come out to the Northwest, most of whom I had never met. In fact, several of them had never even heard of any of us and were only vaguely aware that the family existed. It's been a very exciting process.

Well, to finish it up, I've been working with a cousin to set up the first-ever Northwest Ketchams Family Reunion. We're all getting together next month at Mossyrock, which coincidentally was where my grandfather first preached after his ordination. He officiated at his younger brother Oscar's wedding at Mossyrock, and Oscar's grandchildren will be there too. We're figuring on occupying some pews at that church on Sunday morning. (Note to self: call the current pastor and give him a heads-up.) Then a potlick and letting the kids run around while us geezers compare notes, photos and memories.

I've been really getting a feel for the exuberance Ken has for digging into the family history and finding relatives.

1 comment:

Kathie Crismier said...

I am a cousin from John Ketcham, Samuel, Nathaniel, Nathaniel, Jesse, and finally Temperance Ketcham who married Epenetus Smith. Temperance would be my GGGG grandmother. I have an ink on cloth drawing of hers she did as a young girl. placed Sir Knight Ronald Ketchum as Edward's father then Sir Henry Knyvet as his father. That is where I got stuck. However this is such. I live in Virginia and my name is Kathleen Marie Geer now Crismier. Have fun at the reunion.