Generations #1

Dear Ella and Lee

Except for the Triune God of the Bible, and one’s integrity in relation to Him, I’ve concluded that there is nothing more important than family. The macro culture that you will grow up in will tell you otherwise at every turn. The culture will tell you that your lineage, heritage and patrimony are insignificant. The culture will push you to despise your past and whisper constantly that you are wiser then your forebears. Don’t you believe them. While it is true that Family can become absolutized and so become an idol, it is also true that when family finds it’s proper place, under the Triune God of the Bible’s authority, there is nothing else that exceeds it in import. The importance of the heritage of a godly family is seen in something that John Calvin observes in his commentary on I Timothy,

“Accordingly, he (Paul) sets before him his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, by whom he had been educated from his infancy in such a manner that he might have sucked godliness along with his milk. By this godly education, therefore, Timothy is admonished not to degenerate from himself and from his ancestors.”

Grandchildren, when one is blessed to have been raised in Christian homes one can not abandon his Kin without abandoning their God.

Because God trumps all, in terms of our allegiance, there may be times when you will have to turn your back on family. This should almost be unheard of when raised in the context of a Christian people but love of God must rise above even the tenderest of family affections if it comes to having to choose between the two.

Having given this slight introduction, I would like to tell you something about your family. One of my chief regrets (and I have my share of regrets) is that I didn’t discover more about my generations while they were still alive. So, I am writing to you to leave you at least a glimpse into some of your forebears. I won’t suggest to you that you are the scions of some great line. You’re not. Still, this family, is the family that God has been pleased to have ordained to make us part of, and so, for good or for ill I welcome you to your people. It is my prayer that you will rise above all the previous generations in terms of understanding God’s character and so having a corresponding zeal for the God of the Bible who has made us who we are, via faith and blood and who has set us in our families.

I would like to tell you a very little bit about your Great-Great-Great Grandparents. I have only the barest of memories of your Great x 3 Grandmother and no memories at all of her husband. Eva Lorraine was born in 1878. Her maiden name was Reid, but any knowledge of the Reid family is completely lost to me. I can tell you that both Reid and McAtee are fairly popular Scottish surnames and so it is not surprising to see someone from Clan Reid marry into McAtee Clan.

She, like most of your people, came from Agrarian stock. Lee and Ella your people were Farmers in these origins. Of course my memories of my Great Grandmother are sketchy as she died in 1963 when I was only 4. She lived right across a dirt road from my Grandparents and I remember going to visit her when we went to visit my Grandma McAtee (her daughter-in-law).

I have been told that when, as a toddler, I had ear aches that Grandma Great would blow smoke in my ear from her pipe in order to alleviate the pain. I was also told that Grandma Great was a bit superstitious as she would prohibit anyone from disturbing a rocking chair that was in motion from the wind, believing that it was rocking to the sway of some supernatural presence of someone gone but now visiting. We should not make too much of this kind of matter because these kinds of superstitions were not that uncommon among some rural folk. I saw a similar kind of superstition again some 35 years later in the first Church I served in South Carolina.

The only other story I have to offer from this generation is what was found when Grandma Great’s belongings were cleaned out. It seems that her husband, Murl, your Great x3 Grandfather, (who had died in 1929) was affiliated with the Klu Klux Klan. We surmise this because a Klan outfit was found in one of the closets when the house was cleaned out in 1963. It is believable, because historically we know that the Klan had a presence in that area of the State at about that time. I’ll let you do your own research on what the KKK was. Keep in mind though that the Klan had several incarnations and you’ll want to keep your eye on which incarnation of the Klan existed in the North in the 1920’s. The Klan of Nathan Bedford Forest was not the Klan of later incarnations.

Grandma Great was 85 when she passed away. She lived to see her husband and two of her children and one daughter-in-law precede her in death. Even in the early 20th century death was much closer to men then it is today and she, doubtless, knew well the pain that death creates. It is interesting to think that she died just about a month before President Kennedy was assassinated even though their worlds were far far apart. She grew up in a world where the biggest innovation was the Railroad Train and she lived to see the advent of the automobile, telephone, light bulb, electricity, record player, and the atomic bomb. As such, most of her life would have been lived without running water in the house, without a telephone, without a bathroom in the house, and she cooked most of her life with a wood stove. When she was born Railroads were the big thing. When she died men were probing space.

My Father (your Great-Grandfather) loved her dearly. To this day his Bible has a pressed rose in it he kept from her funeral.

I don’t know a thing about your Great x3 Grandparents confession of faith in Christ alone or a lack thereof. The Christian faith is typically more consistent with the Farmer then with other occupations as the people who live off the land, generally speaking, have the opportunity to have a greater sense of awareness of Providence as they are so dependent upon the seasons and the weather. Certainly your Great x3 Grandmother had a Christian burial and that says a little bit.

This is all I know or remember about this generation on the McAtee side of the family. It is very little but it is something that you would not have had if I had not given you this little snippet.

By the way … here is a link that tells about where they are buried in Colon, Michigan and gives some bare facts.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “Generations #1”

  1. Well, hell. This is simply magnificent. May our Father grant wisdom to those younger members of your clan who will doubtless benefit from what you’ve written here. Thank you for it, and for your labors for His honor.

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