Tuesday, June 12, 2007


What do you know about the word -- Redbone/ Red Bone? Usually I try to keep it short, but this might turn into a big chunk!

Often, in Genealogy, snippets of information are posted that are never coupled together. For one, little is known about what the next guy (or gal) has or does not have -- in the way of information. If we have posted it once, we assume that everyone got it the first time, and therefore, it does not need to be repeated.

One thing that is not done, as much as it should be, is the addition of date of birth and date of death (b. - d.) -- especially for separating generations and different family lines. The Goings, Nash, Perkins, Ashworth and related families are good examples where the same given name can be found over and over, even in the same or close generations. Kinship reports are important to graphically view where your lines went and how you were actually related.

One recent surprise for me is that after all my activity in closing streets in front of the Alamo in 1993 (Daughters of the Republic of Texas & The Inter Tribal Council Of American Indians), I discover that I had a first cousin (yeah, first cousin -- not 2 nd, 3rd, 4 th etc.), Isaac Ryan (1805-1836)http://www.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/IsaacRyan.htm , who died in the Battle. A further surprise was that Isaac Ryan's brother-in-law was Thomas Rigmaiden (1788-1866) http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/la/calcasieu/caldiatc.htm , and his nephew, if he had survived the battle, would have been Albert Rigmaiden (1842-1910) of Calasieu Parish, La.

http://jgoins.com/rigmaiden_calcasieu_parish.htmBy the way, any of you who are related to Benjamin Hargrave, Jr. (b. abt 1741 d. 26 Mar 1827) and Rebecca Elizabeth Gwaltney Hargrave (b.abt. 1745 - d. abt 1830) would be related to Isaac Ryan and the wife of Thomas Rigmaiden, Eliza Ryan Rigmaiden (b. abt. 1806 -- d. 31 Aug 1871).

Kinship reports can often reveal confusing relationships when different family lines merge. I have many of these, such as; Charles Rueben Goins (1904-1955) who is a 2 nd cousin once removed, a 2 nd cousin twice removed and still yet, a 3 rd cousin once removed.

But getting back to what we know (or think we know) about the word Redbone. It would appear that the first time it was used in print was 1881 in various newspaper reports about a civil disorder at Westport, La. or the Sugar town area.

Now the word obviously was not coined in 1881 or there would have been an explanation about what Redbone meant added to the articles. But, the commentary was written as if "everyone knew" what the word meant. How old might the word Redbone be before 1881, as it was not a new or newspaper invented word by a long shot?

We do know, beyond a doubt, that the forefathers of the 1881 mentioned Redbones had for the most part, originated in the Carolina's in the late 1700's and drifted down through Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi, and Florida before arriving in South Western Louisiana. But that in itself does not answer the question about the word Redbone.

But, had the word Redbone never have been used in mass print before for fear of a backlash? A word so sensitive that repercussions could have been expected for it's public use?

I think that even if the term Redbone had been an old word or description, maybe 100 plus years old, it may have, as recently as 1881, become a derogatory term after the Westport fight. The difference being, to denote "them or us", so to speak. Remember, it only takes "one O'Crap" to wipe out a thousand "Atta boys,"and tolerance can turn to hatred in an instance when boys in the "hoods" line up against each other.

But, at the moment, the word does not seem to be used in print before 1881, in Southwest Louisiana, yet in 1881 it is used as if it had been around for sometime.

Can it be found in print before 1881 "in Louisiana?" Do you know the answer?

Gary J. Gabehart, Mishiho (Mish-eh-ho)

No comments: