In 1990 my husband had a two-year engineering project that required us to move to the San Francisco area. I sold my wholesale horticulture business because it wasn’t something I could maintain from out of state.
Searching for what I wanted to do while in California, I decided to look into my ancestors past as a project to work on. I researched and found my family’s history, not only the important dates of their lives, but also their stories.
What I realized is that all my ancestors traveled from other places to settle in Kansas when the territory opened up in 1854, or shortly after the Civil War when land was available to homestead. They were from European countries, leaving family, community and the life they knew behind to start a new and hopefully better life In America.
The history that my family just happened into, because of the state and nation’s situation, inspired me to write the Trail of Thread series. To give them a personal feel, I wrote the stories in the form of letters sent back home to loved ones.
For example my ancestors Deborah and John Pieratt (with six children along), featured in the first book of the Trail of Thread series left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed west for the promise of a new life. My mother, uncle and I actually drove their trip—by car in a few days—to see what they would have seen in person.
Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features a great aunt Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. I found out by research that she helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas!
Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, my ancestor portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. She found love with Deborah Pieratt’s son and gave birth to the great grandfather I knew.
Not only did this information give me a look into my ancestors’ life and times, it inspired me to write books to give readers a “slice of life” of my ancestors, and all people that lived through this time period.
I hope you’ll read the Trail of Thread series to get an insight into your family’s history too.
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