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Are You My Cousin?: Uncle Pell

Are You My Cousin?

Discovering My Ancestors -- One Cousin at a Time

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina

I tell the stories of my ancestors’ lives. Whether they lived 20 years ago or 200 years ago, they each have a story to tell. Some ancestors tell their stories willingly. Others must have their stories carefully teased from the records. Sometimes the stories are sad. Sometimes the stories are happy. Sometimes the stories are just funny. Regardless, my ancestors’ stories shaped their lives and the lives of those that followed. Come and share in the tales!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Uncle Pell

I have recently begun looking at my Humphries family line.  I am only in the beginning stages of researching this line, but remembered a bit of fun oral history.  It was a common story among the older generations, and one I first heard about at a family get together as a teenager. As our family has grown and become more spread out, I expect many in my generation and those younger do not know this story.  It's a fun story and worth passing down.

This is a story about Pelham Humphries (Humphreys), nicknamed "Uncle Pell".  I tell it as I remember it when I first heard it as a teenager. I have no evidence that any of this oral history is true.  It simply is just that - a family story.

Pelham Humphries was related to Nancy Alice Humprhies, wife of John Martin Holyfield. [I'm not quite sure how.] Pelham was quite a character and a supposed horse thief.  He ended up in Texas.  Here is where the story gets interesting.  Pelham supposedly owned the land that Exxon's first oil gusher Spindletop came in on.  In theory, the family should have been heirs to this land and thus, the Exxon fortune.  The problem?  No one can prove that Pelham owned the land. And well, he may have been a shady character.

According family members, every once in a while someone looks into this story and always comes up empty.   I recently came across research an aunt did years ago.  My great grandmother White (Stella Holyfield White) was fairly straight laced and known to say she wouldn't want anything to do with the money since Pelham was a horse thief!

White, Holyfield and Humphries cousins-what version of the story have you heard?

When I googled Pelham Humphries, I was surprised by the number of hits that popped up.I actually found a number of websites and chat threads referring to this story.  Go here to read more.

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