Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Prolific Dad, Well, Maybe - - -

Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings has posted his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun, and I know, I said I was gonna take it easy this week, but, oh, dear me, I read this challenge and could not resist nor could I stop laughing, as the name of one of my ancestors popped right into my ole tired brain mass.  Randy's writes:

Your mission for Father's Day, if you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Determine who is one of the most prolific fathers in your genealogy database or in your ancestry. By prolific, I mean the one who fathered the most children.

2) Tell us about him in your own blog post, ...

Even though I just knew who I would be chatting about, I did give the data base a quick lookie see, and both Man and I have several male ancestors that had fathered 10, 11 and 12 children each. 

However, I just don't think there is a better (as in humorous, if you have a dark sense of humor, and I do!) story than of Benjamin Trumbo.

Benjamin (1821-1891) was born, married, lived and died in Rockingham County, Virginia.  He was married twice, first to Cynthia Ann Riddle with whom he had 7 children.  Cynthia died in 1865 and Benjamin remained a widower for quite a few years, as he did not marry his second wife, Samantha Catherine Emswiler until 1874.  Benjamin and Samantha had 6 children.

So, what is so humorous about all of this??  Nothing, pretty normal, marry, have kids, lose wife, marry again, have another batch of kids, 13 in total, not outrageous.

There is however, the report in a local cemetery book, which no one can substantiate, where it is written, "it is reported that Benjamin Trumbo was the father of 52 children."  Ya, you read that right, someone told the compiler of this cemetery records book that Benjamin was the daddy of all daddies of Rockingham County.  Fifty-two kids!

I learned of this tidbit when cousin Alva made a copy of the page and sent it to me.  She was outraged that someone would accuse/write this about Benjamin.  I on the other hand, nearly fell out of my chair laughing, tears running down my face.  I still get a very serious case of the giggles when I think of the story, her outrage and my delight!

Can you imagine all the really messed up family lineages in Rockingham County, if this were true?  Benjamin is not named as the father to children, other than his 13, in the record books of Rockingham.  Alva would have found any such record.  She lived nearby, walked to the courthouse several times a week, and despite the fact that she is a proper southern gal, dressed to the nines in heels, hose, dresses, perfect make up and all the finery she can muster, she tore up that courthouse!  If there was ANY record of a child of Benjamins, other than the 13 by the 2 legal wives, Alva would have found it.  It became her mission.

Course, there is also the possibility that ole Benj really did father 52 children, and not a one of the mothers reported same or sued him for any support.  If you believe that, I have this swamp land in Florida I want to sell, really, I do!

And, Carol giggles on.  Sorry, it is that dark sense of humor, I mean, really 52 kids??

* The quote from the cemetery book is not a direct quote, but, a close one.  Quotes used for affect.

** Had to google it, reportedly, the man who fathered the most children, ever, could have been Mulai Ismail who historians think could have had somewhere around eight hundred children in his life between 1646-1727 where he ruled as the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco.

***Graphic thanks to

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

1 comment:

Scottish Genealogist said...

52 kids? Waytogoooooo Benjamin :-)