Tuesday, September 15, 2009



This picture is of an ancestor of mine, John McTurk Gibson. He is a moderately well known pioneer who traveled to California from Iowa during the gold rush in the 1850's on both the California and Oregon trails. His Journal of Western Travel is a frequently cited reference on the conditions of that journey.

I just learned about John a few days ago. My mother, while looking up some information on our family came upon the name and thought that since there aren't an abundance of McTurk Gibsons he may well be a relative. She asked her Aunt about it and sure enough he is a great-great-great something grandfather. He is also considered, at least according to my great aunt to be something of a rascal and ne'er do well in family lore. This of course attracted me instantly and I began researching him. I found his Journal on line and have put the link above. He is a clever and interesting writer and I think I would have liked him. I also found his portrait and it is just eerie. Although I lack the monstrous white beard I otherwise resemble him very much. My wife and mother noted it before I did, but after they pointed it out it was almost as if it were a charcoal drawing of me.

I am going to continue reading his journals and attempt to find and collect other mentions and references to this ancestor of mine. For now though I just had to post a little bit about it on this blog, I will probably revisit this topic in time.


BeamStalk said...

You have to grow the beard now. I would so grow a crazy old man beard if I could.

My great grandparents came to America and lost all contact with the families back in the UK and Ireland so I don't have any real family history.

Ryk said...

I know I could grow the beard, every time I try to grow a long beard it goes straight out like that. It is why I don't grow long beards. Back when I was about 15 I grew a beard because I could and wanted to buy beer. I couldn't grow a mustache worth a darn though so I had that whole Abe Lincoln thing going on. It seemed to work though I usually didn't get carded maybe they just took pity on me for the lack of mustache.

Tracy Wagman said...

That is soooo cool!
You should post a picture of yourself along side John McTurk Gibson so we can compare.

Ryk said...

Sorry Tracy I have an agreement with my wife, no pictures of us on the interwebz. This mostly is regarding the kids but she intends it for us as well. I am far less concerned about it than she is but I aknowledge that there are nasty pervs out there and also some violent crazies. That is also why I never use full names. There is enough data in my posts that if someone were really interested they could reliably identify me but not casually.

My wife knows that I tend to aggravate people on the internet including many Christians and Muslims. Although it is true that the huge majority of Christians and Muslims are perfectly normal and decent people, the ones who aren't can be pretty dangerous. For example I have had dustups with some individuals on Rays blog that strike me as the sort of bunny boilers who would shoot up a preschool if the voices in their heads told them to. I have also had some discussions about Mohammed that would definitely incite some of the fringier Islamics.

As I said I am not really worried that anyone even the craziest would actually come after my family but my wife is and I honor her wishes.

Some atheist bloggers remain anonymous because they are worried about persecution if they are "out". There are those who have been fired or denied employment for being atheist. I am not worried about that, in real life I am as open about being atheist as I am online. I actually get approached by people who are leaving religion because they know I am an out atheist. I also get approached by evangelists and witnesses as well but I enjoy the discussion.

My current job is excellent in that regard, the employees are in fact mostly out atheists and many are like me very outspoken. I have had road trips where the entire group I am traveling with are atheist or agnostic. We also have some pagans, Deists, Buddhists and other non Christians. Of course there are also Christians,Mormons and Witnesses but unlike most places I have worked they are the minority.

It is refreshing in a sense. It must be nice for Christians at most companies to get to go to work where their bosses and co workers share their beliefs. This is the first time I have got to experience that and it is pleasant.

Tracy Wagman said...

I totally understand. Respecting one's wishes is so important and I'm sure your wife really appreciates that.
I am a picture fahreak!
I should probably remove my last name from my blog.
I don't think atheists should be persecuted for being atheists. I'm sorry about that, it's not right.
Of course it is my prayer that you come to Jesus.