Anabel March was a Tennessee girl who married Owen McLemore in 1812. She knew she had some Indian blood in her, and this is how she described her background:
“My great-grandma Macum, Dilsey, was half Indian and half white and my grandma told me how it happened, just as her mamma had told her. Back when the Macums had just come to Carlina from Pennsylvania they were living out on Bear Creek. They had built a kind of lean-to under an overhang they had kind of framed up with poles and mud. Well, while the men was buildin’ a real house, my great-great-grandmamma went out with a basket hoping to find some chestnuts in the woods. She was about fourteen years old and while she was out there by herself she was grabbed by two Indians and taken off to Kentucky.”
Eventually Dilsey got away but was already about six months pregnant. When she showed up back at her family’s place, she told them what happened and her brothers think they got the Indian who took her. Anyway, a few weeks later she gave birth to the child, who was Anabel’s great-grandmother, Beatrice Macum.
Anabel used to say, “I got the Indian look from my Pa’s side. And it is true I have his black eyes and hair. But I got Ma’s fair skin and features.” By the time Anabel had come around, the March family had crossed the mountain from North Carolina to East Tennessee. After her mother died Anabel pretty much raised her brothers and acted as the woman of the house from the time she was around ten.
The McLemores had the neighboring farm and Owen, who was older, began courting Anabel when she was around 15 and soon after they married. Anabel gave birth to seven children, all boys, by the time she was 36, but the last was a difficult birth. She died during the delivery and the child was sickly, and lived but two years. Owen grieved bitterly for his wife and left Tennessee taking his six remaining sons to Texas right after the youngest had died (see songs “My Anabel” and “Blinkin’ Back a Tear“). He never re-married.
Anabel once described herself like this, “people always said I went my own way, and that much I’ll admit. Some said it was because Mama died when I was young, and I never had nobody to show me how a girl ought to be. I turned out to be sort of stubborn more like my Pa and brothers than any woman around here. Others said it was the revival meetings that got me all mixed up and queer. And still others said it was because I read too many books. But I did love to read books, and always have, when ever I can.”
© 2018 Frank David Leone, Jr./Highway 80 Music (ASCAP). The songs and stories on the Highway 80 Stories website are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.