Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Bit Nostalgic

Slowly returning online, I was trying to catch up when I ran across an email reminding me my post was due today. Thanking God my coronary arteries are in working order for now, I tried to wrack my brain for where I put the flash drive to my series of great blog ideas. I really want to bring back the B drive disks. They were easier for me to keep up with. I haven’t figured out a good way to file these little flashy suckers and they’re too easy to misplace.

So here I am wondering what I can do for you and groaning because now I need to do a two-fer to catch up. Writing ideas can come from anywhere and it's great when they come from close to home. I decided to use something I was saving for my own blog, but which those of you who are into genealogy can appreciate. I have a memory box. When I’m ill, feeling blue, distracted, or anything bad, I like to go through it. With my father gone and my mother lost to Alzheimer’s Disease, it is just me and Regina at home and my memories sometimes lift my mood.

One of the items in the box was written by my father for a school assignment when he was in the fourth grade. It reminds me of family drives from Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio (now, sadly renamed) to Memphis, Tennessee as a child to visit grandma for the summer. As a pilot, my father could drive with remarkable acuity – those Dodge fins would be right on the center line and my mother would gasp and hold onto the small vent window (remember the ones we used to call smoke holes because they were for Dad to toss his cigarettes out of?). She’d gasp every thirty seconds and break my concentration lest we hit an oncoming vehicle.

And what was I concentrating on? My little eight year old mind was trying to recite the McCall lineage back to Thomas and Daniel MacGregor, the Delisi lineage back to Palmero, and the Botto lineage back to the vineyards in Bordeaux.

It wasn’t until after Dad died that we found a notebook containing notes about our family history and learned this had been an interest of his since childhood and not a torture for trips. Of course, between each family recitation, Mom had us saying a decade of the Rosary and we wondered if we were praying for our memories. The Italians, Scots and French all take lineage very seriously. I didn’t hear of the Great Santini until years later, but none of the kids in that old Dodge wanted to make a recitation error.

So, I hope you can enjoy my memory trip. I can picture my father as a little boy at grandpa’s desk, his tongue between compressed lips and his little brows squished together, as he painstakingly typed this for his teacher.


From Whence I Came


Robert Duncan McCall


I would not be here if it were not for my parents. Parents are wonderful people; I don’t know where anyone would be without them. For this reason, I will give a brief summary of my ancestry.

A long time ago, before there was a United States, the clan of my father was preparing to leave Lomond, Scotland. Thus it was in two large sail ships Thomas MacGregor and his brother Daniel came to America. I am not sure why, but when they got off the boat their last name was McCall.

In the Revolutionary War, Daniel McCall fought with England, which was a bad mistake. The British were posted at the summit of a hill about a hundred feet in height; but on October 7, 1780, Thomas McCall was with the Americans who stormed the position from all sides and won a decisive victory. As it was, the “Battle of King’s Mountain” ended in the death of most, but not all, of the clansmen.

Those that were left settled in south and central Mississippi and became good citizens and landowners.

My grandfather, a descendant of one of these, was born in Delo, Mississippi, Duncan Dent McCall, engaged in the lumber business. At the age of twenty-one, he married Miss Cora Pope. They had three children, Leonce Bertrand, Tennyson Gullege, and Emma Cora.

My father, Leonce Bertrand McCall, was born on November 7, 1897 at Braxton, Mississippi. He went to Jackson High School and attended Millsap College on an athletic scholarship.

After leaving school, he served for about three months as a stoker on the freighter Vulcan, which ran from Mobile, to Havana, to Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

He later went to work for a motor car company in Shelby, Mississippi. While working there, he met, to him and me, the greatest girl in the world. Here I will relate the ancestry of Adele Matilda Delisi.

My grandfather was Gagetan Delisi who was born and educated in Palermo, Italy. His occupation was that of a tailor. He and his wife, Ellen, had three children, Joseph, Gagetab, and Peter.

Peter Delisi, my grandfather, was born December 24, 1855. He studied to be a priest for three years, but decided this was not his vocation. He became a soldier in the Italian army, and fought under Garibaldi, against Austria.

He later sailed to the United States and settled in New Orleans.

Here he met Matilda Botto, who was born October 5, 1863 in New Orleans, the daughter of Adele Palleau and Frances V. Botto from Genoa, Italy. She was sent abroad and educated in France and Germany.

Peter Delisi and Matilda Botto were married in New Orleans at the Saint Louis Cathedral, on November 17, 1884. They moved to Memphis, Tennessee, for business reasons where they had a family of eight children, Elena, Joseph, Frances, Catherine, Rose, Cajetan, Adele, and Josephine.

Adele Delisi was born in Memphis on January 27, 1900. She attended Public School and Business College.

It was on a Christmas visit to her sister Elena in Shelby, Mississippi, that she met Leonce Bertrand McCall.

After a short courtship of six months, Adele Delisi and Leonce Bertrand McCall were married at Saint Cecilia Church in Shelby, Mississippi, by Father Gabriel on June 8, 1918. They had three children, Leonce Bertrand Jr. born on July 16, 1919, and Peter Daniel born on May 16, 1921. They then moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where on February 5, 1930, a great event took place.
What a great Dad I had! So now I have to find a way to use family members in a great book.
Until next time, happy reading and writing!


Liz Fountain said...

What a treasure to find, all that family information! Love it. Thanks for sharing it (and the Dodge memories).


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

A great gift your box of family lore. We can use these for writing or simply for understanding ourselves better.

As an adoptee, I have almost nothing of my blood family. My adoptive family went into overdrive with written records. Their records cover the same timeframe as yours, including the lumber business, only in PA and NC.

Amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Big Mike said...

Nice legacy. You've got the makings and backdrop for a terrific historical novel. Set the scene, a woman loses her husband and father in same week, she comes across her dads letters after funeral and reads as he recants of his grand fathers letters to the wife he left back home until he could make a life in the new country. So classic but still a good one.

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Michael Davis (Davisstories.com)
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)