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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

The importance of
knowing your family history

Can it be year’s end already? What went with 2005? Is that 2006 I see peeking around the corner?

Going through my files and putting together history on my parents and grandparents has made me homesick for people I never even knew. My parents were the youngest in large families, and their parents died before they married.

Growing up, I never thought about grandparents. We had an aunt, a great uncle and a few cousins living nearby, and we visited other extended family occasionally. They were an important part of our lives, yet not really close.

Relatives have shared photos and information about our ancestors, and I have come to know Tom and Mandy Matthews and her family, the Kidwells. Their family photo when Mama was seven years old reveals a lot and re-connects me with some cousins I knew briefly.

Daddy’s sister raised him, and she was sort of a grandma substitute for us. His father, Licurgus Aurelious Gunn, took a mail-order bride when Daddy was in grade school, and he moved in with one of his older brothers.

Now I learn from another grandchild that L.A. “Curg” Gunn was a kind and gentle man, much loved by his family. He homesteaded at the foot of the caprock, operated a lumberyard in Lockney, and owned several rent houses in Turkey. I think I would have liked him.

I have no information on Daddy’s mother, Mary Stringer, except that Curg already had five boys when she married him, and she bore him five children over a span of 10 years. Daddy was two when she died.

Records show that all of my great-grandparents came to the United States from Europe in the late 1800s. Although the Gunn clan had lost their property in Scotland and had been crowded out of Ireland, they brought money with them and purchased land in Virginia. That they lost during the Civil War, and some of them moved to Arkansas, then Texas.

I know it is more important to look forward than back, but knowing about my family has given me a better sense of who I am and why I am here. It even challenges me to write my own memoirs so my grandchildren will have that same sense of continuity. None of us crawled out from under a rock. We have a history, and we need to know it. If it was important for Jesus, it is important for us.

“Thus there were 14 generations in all from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the exile to Babylon, and 14 from the exile to the Christ.” Matt 1: 17, NIV EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at

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