Friday, August 22, 2008

Aunt Annie & Uncle Doc

Aunt Annie was born in 1908 and was the youngest daughter of John "Spoony" Webb and Sarah Hamby. She was the second to the last baby, born when Sarah was 43. That may not sound very old, considering women are now having babies well into their late forties. However, Sarah still had one to go!
Annie married Doc Beatty, but I have not confirmed the year yet. They married in Glenmary, and Doc was older than she by twelve years.
Family legend has it that Uncle Doc was big into the KKK, but he also considered himself a devout Southern Baptist. He attended church on a regular basis, using a mule and carriage to often take the family over a rising creek and down the mountain to get there. Now, I am sure the latter tale is true, because my mother often accompanied them in that carriage. However, I'm not sure I could ever find tangible proof that Uncle Doc was in the KKK; I thought that was a secret society.
This brings me to the point of this post: When you find out something about a family member that is this atrocious, do you hit it head on, as I just did? Or do you sweep it under a rug and look for evidence of his life elsewhere?
From what I've gleaned from family members, Uncle Doc is sort of a legend unto himself. He was the sheriff of Scott County at one time, which mean he had been sworn to uphold the law. Does that correlate to being a member of the Ku Klux Klan; or was that a normal occurrence for that part of the country? Oh my God! Did I just ask if that was normal? I hate it when historians make allowances for bad behavior by saying, "that was the way it was at the time." Have I now just had to confront my worst fear by uncovering that which I would prefer not to know?
Uncle Doc died in May, 1958, the same month I was born. Aunt Annie came to stay with us for a while when I was very little. I remember her as being very gentle, and I think I was very much a brat for her. Annie suffered from dementia in her later life. She was found hiding under the church steps, homeless, and a parishioner took her in and gave her a room. It's the family's understanding that Annie lived out her days here in the care of a stranger.

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