My grandmother was the quintessential American pioneer. In 1891, when she was 17, her family left the comfort of their home and heritage in Marietta, Ohio to seek their fortune on the American prairie. Her father, Frank D. Booth, was the son of Horatio Booth, a boat Pilot on the Ohio River, and the grandson of the first Mayor of Marietta, James Mather Booth, an 1804 immigrant from Manchester, England. For over 23 years, Frank Booth was a pilot of the 138 ton J. H. McConnell a side-wheeler passenger steamboat that ran from Parkersburg, West Virginia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This is a family story, a story of loss and exile, and of the intersection of personal history with large historical events. It is also a quintessentially American story of arrival, and of a second chance. This is a story so close to me I seem always to have known it. It is the story of how my father came to America.
My family settled Between the Rivers in the 1790’s, and left in July 1968. My grandparents on each side of the family lost their homes twice to government projects. I was attending Murray State and still living with my parents when our home was taken by force, bulldozed and buried. My grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins homes were all taken, pits were bulldozed near the homes and all outbuildings and all signs of humanity pushed into the holes and buried as if they had never existed. The church my great grandfather helped found, was buried in a pit.
A traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution called “Journey Stories” is at Murray State’s Wrather West Kentucky Museum through March 10. We asked our listeners for their “Journey Stories.” We received this one from Mary Ann Littleton, who is a Murray native. Journey Story is about her spiritual pilgrimage to Tibet and Nepal in her 51st year.
Wrather West Kentucky Museum at 16th and University Drive on the Murray State Campus through March 10. Hours are 8:30 to 4 Monday through Friday, 10 to 1 Saturday.
A traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian Institution called “Journey Stories” is at Murray State’s Wrather West Kentucky Museum through March 10th. So, we asked our listeners for their “Journey Stories.” We received this one from Jan Basile of Murray.
Jan Basile of Murray offered her “Journey Story” for a limited series we’re producing to highlight the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition also called “Journey Stories.” It’s at Wrather West Kentucky Museum at 16th and University Drive on the Murray State Campus