I keep meeting relatives I didn’t know I had.
The latest one, I didn’t recognize, but he apparently had seen my picture and knew who I was.
His late father was somebody I knew about, but never met, although numerous people have asked me if we were related.
All Goldsworthys are related somewhere down the line. We came from a small area of Cornwall in the southwest corner of England.
Capt. Gary and I occasionally meet folks from Cornwall when we’re at Gettysburg, and it pleases them to know I am aware that we refer to ourselves as “Cornishmen,” rather than “Englishmen.”
I have yet to meet one who knows any of my relatives back home. Some of our family also migrated to Australia, whose citizens we often talk to. None of them has ever heard of us.
There remain plenty of Goldsworthys in England. Twice, the newspaper has received Associated Press photographs that featured Goldsworthy jockeys in action during horse races.
On both occasions, they were shown being thrown from their mounts.
At least my kinfolk have made it above ground. We used to be miners, and that’s what we became when my Great-Grandfather James arrived in the New World with his family in 1873.
We left the mines for good when Great-Uncle Vance refused to enter the mine one day with GG James.
“Pap,” he said, “I ain’t a-goin’ down in there today.”
That’s when the mine blew up. They were several yards away from the mine entrance and the force of the explosion knocked both of them over.
“The Lord told you not to go down in that mine,” my great-grandfather told his son, “and none of us will ever go down into another one.”
Not all of our family were dirt-diggers.
When my dad went to New York City in 1940, he met a distant relative who was a top deacon at one of the churches.
This fellow said one of our relatives was John Galsworthy (same family, different spelling), a Pulitzer-winning British author who wrote “The Forsyte Saga.”
John definitely resembles my great-grandfather, my grandfather, my father and me, and his cleft chin is identical to ours.
Another was Lt. Gen. Philip Goldsworthy, who was chief equerry to King George III of England and therefore the top man in the 18th-century equivalent of the motor pool.
That is to say, he was in charge of all the king’s horses. (I can find no record of him being thrown from one.) He rode with His Majesty in parades and shares the scene with him in at least one painting that hangs today in a royal museum or palace.
He also was a member of Parliament. Only politician I know of, in our family.
There are more Goldsworthys out there than I can count.
One of them, Brig. Gen. Robert Goldsworthy, was shot down over Japan in his B-29 and was a Prisoner Of War (becoming friends with Col. Pappy Boyington) until his release at the end of World War II.
Leon Verdi Goldsworthy was the Royal Australian Navy’s most decorated officer during World War II.
Another I saw on television recently was Michael Goldsworthy, a police forensic specialist who analyzed a purported video of ghosts that was taken ... Where else? ... on the battlefield at Gettysburg.
He doubted the authenticity of the footage and I also found it a bit suspicious.
However, it was taken in the woods at Triangular Field, and I recognized it because it’s the same place where I had second thoughts about following my buddies into the trees.
Something told me I had better not go in there, so I didn’t.
I have at least twice, while working as a courthouse reporter for the newspaper, covered the trials of my relatives. Other relatives have been cops — including one who was a corrections officer. (I usually introduce him to my friends as “My cousin, the screw.”
We have tried without success to figure out how we’re related. Our grandfather, great-grandfathers and great-greats had more than one brother each, and such trails are hard to follow.
We also didn’t know why we remained unacquainted for so long. There aren’t that many Goldsworthys around here ... not when compared to Smiths, Johnsons and the like.
My dad’s first cousin Mary Margaret Ferguson (we call her “Peaches”) lives in Ohio, and I asked if she could explain it.
Back in the day, she said, all the Goldsworthys went to one church. They were English and members of the Church of England ... which we don’t have in America, so they became Episcopalians.
Some converted to Catholicism and, as Peaches said, “It was like they put up the Berlin Wall between them.” I’ve heard tell of such things happening in other families.
This was early in the 20th century, when people looked at things differently than they do now.
I tell my newfound Catholic cousins about this, and they just shake their heads.
My family is Lutheran (which is not “Catholic Lite”), and some of our closest friends have been Roman Catholics. Mary and Frank Calemine went to the Church of the Assumption in Keyser, and they were my second parents. They were my parents’ lifelong best friends. Their daughter, Carole, is my sister in every way but bloodline.
I sometimes tell younger folks that when I was a teenager, most people said John F. Kennedy could never be elected President of the United States.
For one thing, he was a Catholic. Even worse, he was Irish.
These kids look at me like they have no idea what I’m talking about.
And I will add this: If when I was 14 or 15 years old someone had told me I would live to see a black man elected president, I would have told him he was crazy as hell.
Our pastor recently asked us which three people we would pick to have dinner with, if we had all of history to choose from.
I said I would pick two presidents and a minister: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are many others, of course, including Sojourner Truth and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
I would love to hear what they have to say about this country we inherited from them.
I keep meeting relatives I didn’t know I had.
Don’t do it
Temperatures have been moderate recently but are projected to rise to the upper 80s and low 90s later this week, so we want to remind you: Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
He means well, and this time they spared his life
Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.
It’s hotter here than in D.C. or Baltimore
At this time of the year, the weather is a frequent subject of conversation, particularly the temperatures. We are now in the “Dog Days,” usually the hottest days of the year. The term comes from our sun appearing to be near the “Dog Star” (Sirius) and the “Little Dog Star” (Procyon). In reality, the sun is now about 94.5 million miles away while Sirius is 8.6 light years away with Procyon at 11 light years distance. Sunlight takes only 507 seconds to reach us, while the two dog stars’ light takes about a decade to travel to our eyes. So our sun is in the same direction (but not distance) as these two bright winter evening stars.
Sale of quart-sized Mason jars lagging, merchants claim
The opening day of Maryland’s squirrel hunting season is Sept. 6 and I am guessing you will be able to drive a lot of miles on the Green Ridge State Forest and see very few vehicles belonging to hunters of the bushytail. It wasn’t always that way. In the early 1960s, when I was a high school student in Cumberland, there was no Interstate 68. What existed was U.S. Route 40 and in the last couple of hours before daylight on the opening day of squirrel season there was an almost unbroken line of tail lights and brake lights between Cumberland and Polish Mountain.
Columnist, son are range finders, but where are .22 shells?
We feel pretty lucky on this side of the Potomac to have a nice shooting range to utilize for free and within decent driving distance.
Opposition and inclusion understood
Those of you who have been here before know how I feel about the late great Len Bias, who I will remember foremost as Leonard Bias, the polite, spindly Bambi-eyed kid from Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School, who could throw a dunk through the floor, yet had the most beautiful jump shot I have ever seen.
Kicking the can down the road was one of the things American kids did to pass the time in the old days, particularly if they lived in rural areas where there was little traffic to contend with.
Further proof you should never bet on baseball
Had you known in March that ...
Build it now
Anticipated savings from demolition work that will provide ground for a new Allegany High School on Haystack Mountain may allow the addition of an auditorium at the school.
Fronts, highs, lows determine weather
Weather news on television and internet focus on violent weather, extreme temperatures and flooding.
- More Columns Headlines
- Don’t do it