RESEARCHING AND WRITING THE HISTORICAL FAMILY SAGA FOR MY FATHER’S SIDE OF THE GENEALOGY — Marilyn Meredith
Today I’m happy to welcome author Marilyn Meredith as she shares insights into her researching for her latest novel.
Much of what I did to write Two Was West was the same as writing a story from my mother’s side of the genealogy: the research, making the account read like fiction, weaving in historical facts, family legends and research—and of course, adding a sprinkling of imagination. The big difference was when I wrote this one, there were still some old-timers around who had done their own research and had heard all the family legends and willingly shared.
This account is about two families, the Osborns and the Crabtrees, who traveled west for different reasons and taking much different routes.
My biggest motivation when I knew I wanted to write about these ancestors of mine, was to find out what motivated these families to travel so far from home. Both braved many dangers, and traveled in different ways to get to California.
The Crabtree family lived in Brownsville, Texas on two different occasions and when I contacted the Brownsville Historical Society about what I planned to do, they loaned me a marvelous book all about the history of the town which certainly helped me figure out what happened with my family during those time periods.
My sister and I, along with our spouses and our mom and dad traveled to Grass Valley, where the Osborns lived for some time. We also made several trips to Springville where both families ended up. We visited the graveyard where many of the people from both families are buried. My father was born in the area and now this is where I make my home.
Writing Two Ways West changed my life. I had no plans to move from where our family had lived for more than twenty-years until I began doing the research and writing this story. Moving to where these ancestors of mine lived seemed like the perfect destination for us.
About the book:
The Osborns traveled by wagon train along the Mormon trail to California. The Crabtrees journeyed by burro and horse through Mexico to finally reach the same destination. This is the story of these two families, of their hopes and dreams, triumphs and tragedies. Narrated in vivid detail, Two Ways West is a chronicle of human beings who rise to the challenge of life and conquer their fears and shortcomings to achieve greatness.
Available on Amazon for Kindle and in trade paperback.
First page of Two Ways West:
“Dear God.” Rebecca prayed while kneeling beside her bed in the attic of the cabin that was her home. “Please keep John safe and bring him home soon. And make him fall-in love with me like I love him. I promise I’ll take care of him and do whatever he wants, and go wherever he wants to go. Oh, please, God, please, please. Amen.”
It was the same prayer twelve-year-old Rebecca Wilkerson had repeated every single night since John Crabtree had been called to join the army to fight against the British down in New Orleans.
Before John left, Rebecca’s prayer had only been for her nineteen-year-old neighbor to take notice of her as someone more than a pal to tramp through the woods with and to bait his hooks and clean his fish—chores she found distasteful. But she would have done anything to be by John’s side.
Poking her head out of the open window, she stared at the sky filled with the same stars she knew sparkled above John. She wondered if he might be looking up at them too, and the thought pleased her. Rebecca closed her eyes and immediately, John’s angular, clean-shaven face came to view.
The vision of his nearly black hair rumpled, with a lock spilling over his tanned forehead, the twinkle, which always appeared in his brown eyes when he teased her, the straight nose, and his lips lifted in a mischievous smile made her yearn for him even more. A tear slid down her cheek.
On bare feet, she padded across the rough boards of the floor. Her voluminous nightdress covered her body, a body undergoing changes, changes which had begun even before John left. The straight angles of childhood now altered to a surprising softness. Her long golden hair seemed silkier, more lustrous, her skin smoother. She knew she’d stepped over the threshold into womanhood.
Rebecca’s last thought before falling asleep was, Will John notice the difference?
Marilyn Meredith is a fourth generation native Californian. The story of her remarkable ancestors is part of family legends. She is the author of many other published novels including the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries, and writing as F. M. Meredith, the Rocky Bluff P.D. crime series. She lives with her husband on property which was once part of the Crabtree family’s land grant.