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Image © Julie Elliott-Abshire

Image © Julie Elliott-Abshire

When I first started researching my ancestry I didn’t have a clue where to start. Especially with my dad’s side. He was adopted around age 10 and though he kept in contact with his biological family he never said much about them to my brother and me.

A friend of mine volunteered to do a bit of research for me to give me a starting point. I told him the names of my dad’s grandparents and off he went. He returned with one of the first stories that proves my rebel streak is inherited.

Sherman Dorsey (my great-grandfather) was shot and killed by a township constable at Hindsville, Arkansas. There was a write-up about it in the Madison County Record but getting a decent copy has proven near impossible. The following is a partial transcription of that article:

Sherman Dorsey, 50, was shot and killed about 10:30 Tuesday night at Hindsville by township constable, Dan Barron, who with others, was trying to get Dorsey, who was intoxicated, to leave town, following an altercation with Frank Simpson, a restaurant operator.

Dorsey, officers said, after being taken to his car, refused to leave and drew a knife on the constable, who fired six times with a .32 calibre revolver, three shots taking effect and killing him instantly. Dorsey lived on a farm about two miles and a half from Hindsville. He has several children but he and his wife are estranged. Madison County Record, Thursday, August 16, 1934 (Record Volume 56 No. 7)

The funny thing about this revelation came when I told my dad about it. He calmly said, “Yes.”

How can you not share a story like that with your children? Maybe not when we were young but by the time I had found out I was in my thirties. I’d heard hundreds of stories about my mother’s family and the few of my dad’s were told to me by mom, stories he told her.

Yes, I’m a bit bitter. My dad seems to be a fountain of information and yet I find out things about my ancestors from strangers. I did find out though. Now I have stories to save for my nephews. Hopefully, they will be interested.

Oh! I have a photograph of Grandma Dorsey but not of Sherman. If you think you might be linked to the Dorsey family and have a photo of Sherman Dorsey (1883-1934) you’d be willing to share, please leave a comment.

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