200 Cousins

I will be reading/singing by ballad Henry’s Big Kaboom to groups of children at Fort Ticonderoga in New York this Sunday and the Henry Knox Museum in Maine next Saturday. Both Chelse at the fort and Mary Kay at the museum have asked me to introduce myself and explain my connection to Henry Knox. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I have been a graphic designer for forty years. I have been gathering information about my family for nearly as long.

So, I drew a chart of my branch of the family that descends from Henry. In this case, the picture has a thousand words. I included a photo of the painting of Henry that John Singleton Copley painted. The original hangs in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The painting of Henry’s daughter Lucy Flucker Knox (who married Ebenezer Thatcher) hangs at the Knox Museum. I found the ‘tin print’ of her daughter Lucy Anna Thatcher in the Massachusetts Historical Society. We don’t know who Lucy had a pre-marital affair with to produce my great-grandfather Charles Gordon Ames. Rules of society in those days required that she give up her baby and pretend he didn’t exist.

Charles took on the Ames surname from his foster parents. The tin print of him with his first wife, Sarah Daniels, and their son Charles Wilberforce Ames is also in the Massachusetts Historical Society archives. The photos of Charles and his second wife, my great-great grandmother Fanny Baker are in folders in my closet. The painting of their daughter Alice Vivian Ames hangs on my living room wall. She married Thomas Winter from England. The photo of their daughter, my grandmother Edith Ames Winter, stands on my bookshelf in my bedroom. She married Knowlton Lyman Ames Jr., nicknamed Snake, and had three sons. My dad, Thomas Ames, was the middle one, but I didn’t include photos of his generation or of mine, my children’s or my grandchildren’s.

My chart shows all Charles Gordon Ames’ descendants. Over two hundred are living today and several of them will be there helping me sing. With the chart rolled up in a cardboard tube, I have also packed my ukulele.

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