Question of the Week for February 1st


What, if any, “war stories” have been passed down in (your branch) of the Cartwright family?  I ask, in part, because I am struck by the absence of stories about members of the family who served in wars. (At least, I do not know of any such narratives.) On the other hand, it is also clear to me that our extended family has been no less affected by the disruptions of war than other families (as I plan to describe in my blog post about what was happening in Scott County, Arkansas, when Eliza and her children arrived in 1872).   In that sense, there ought to be stories about some of the experiences that various members of the family had during wartime. For example, I understand that Jess is the one who urged Aunt Virginia to write some of the young men who were serving in the military during World War II. She corresponded with Alvin Hamilton (a second cousin?) whom she later married.

THE MONTHLY MYSTERY (February 2015):

Does anyone know when folks in the Cartwright family began to claim that the family lineage includes Native Americans? If you have read some parts of Billy’s memoir about Jess, you may have noticed that he identifies Grandma Millie as a Choctaw  Indian (apparently through her father’s family), but from what I have gathered there is no stable documentation to prove that is the case.  There is no listing in “the Dawes rolls” that demonstrates this. My brother Paul Cartwright and my cousin Karen Snyder Smith have uncovered some additional references that suggest that this claim may go back beyond Millie’s generation, but to the best of my knowledge there is no documentation that ties this down. What we find, however, is persistent storytelling about ancestors who are believed to have been “Indians.”


What kinds of things have you and your siblings wondered about with respect to our shared our genetic heritage? Let me give a couple of examples.

Example:  Several years ago, while visiting Aunt Dorothy [Cartwright Snyder], I recall her telling me that her doctor had recently prescribed a supplement for thyroid deficiency. Then she commented, “I told MC that I am the last of the six siblings to have to take Thyroid medication.” Dorothy went on to say that in her case, it was probably the result of the aging process and not necessarily an inherited problem. Even so, I was surprised to hear that all six of the siblings had received treatment for thyroid issues. Although I had known that Aunt Virginia [Cartwright Hamilton] had struggled with her thyroid levels, I was not aware that this was a problem that had affected other members of the family. I am not even sure that I knew that my father Billy had experienced thyroid deficiency. Although I am far from being an expert on this kind of medical issue, I do know that there are multiple reasons why any of us might have thyroid issues. Genetic  inheritance is one contributing factor, but not the only one.

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About mcartwright1957

I am a member of the senior administrative team at the University of Indianapolis where I have served since 1996. I am married to Mary Wilder Cartwright. We are the parents of four children: Hannah, Erin, James, and Bethany. I currently live in Nashville, IN.
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