52 Ancestors Week 30 - Colorful (or) Colourful

+9 votes

AJC - It seems that in every family tree, there's at least one person who is a bit larger than life, someone who bold and different... "colorful." Colorful could also be taken to describe someone artistic. How about an ancestor with a colorful name?

in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
There are 2 spellings for these weeks prompt - Without the U is American and with the U is British. SInce I am of British origin, I claim the right to use BOTH Spellings!!  LOL
Right then, mate. Let's get on with the answers and go right to the pub. My treat. =) Hmm.

I dunno if I can pull off the British accent in text. Ah well.
So funny that you mentioned that! I have switched over to adding the "extra" vowels. Really the only English speaking country that doesn't use them is the US!
My comment is: "No Comment"! LOL

15 Answers

+11 votes

The only colorful story I know of is the murder of my grandmother's sister, but I have mentioned that at least twice now.  Therefore, I will concentrate on colorful names in my lineage.

I had a second great aunt named Vermillion Mindy Daughtry Fowler.  Vermillion is known as a deep red or scarlet color.(https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Daughtry-118)

My third great grandfather was Green L Thompson (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Thompson-20606). A few distant ancestors used Green as a first or middle name also.

The only other colorful names I could find was an Olive, a Rose, and a half dozen named Ruby.

Actually, I just ran across the wife of a first cousin (if that counts) who apparently led a colorful life.  She was an heiress to the Brandenburg fortune. She and my cousin, Jasper, were licensed aviators.  She was one of the first woman aviators in the Panama City area of Florida in the 1930's.  She and her husband Jasper Atkinson donated land to Panama City for an airport. (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Brandenburg-266)

by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (275k points)
edited by Carolyn Martin

Interesting names. I was working on some unsourced profiles and found a woman named Coral who married a man named Rose, thus became Coral Rose. That wasn't as bad as the woman Rose whose married name was Rose Rose.
I like the Coral Rose - very pretty.  Rose Rose is a bit much though.

Although not colorful, I had a coworker named Misty Morning Hayes.  I always thought that was cool.
+10 votes

Definitely the most colorful person I have ever met is my ex-husband.

He is a skydiving photographer, and his pictures are incredible.

He trains the Navy Seals, and takes the most beautiful pictures I have seen in my life.

His most beautiful work though, was with the Golden Knights, when they sprinkled our sons ashes over Skydive, Arizona.  The Golden Knights sprinkled the ashes as my ex took the picture. Not exactly what I wanted to see in my lifetime, but if it had to be done, what an amazing team to complete the task.



by Cheryl Hess G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)
+7 votes

My paternal grandfather had 3 sisters, all of whom were painters. They were raised in Colorado, in the early 1900's. Alice Gardner was born in 1904. She went to art school in France, returning in 1929. She was a school teacher for a living, and died young from appendicitis, at the age of 31.

Esther (Gardner) Rainville was born in 1911. She was a well-known painter in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She was married to a school teacher. She was involved in starting the Ann Arbor Street Art Fair in 1960 and was on the planning committee for the fair for many years.

Pearl Gardner was born in 1914. She also painted. She was married 3 times, and had one son.


Alice, Pearl and Esther Gardner

All three of these women were born and raised in a small town on the east side of the Rocky mountains, in Saguache county, Colorado. Their father was a sheep rancher. He also served as school superintendent and in the state legislature. He was president of the local wool-growers Association. Probably not a very artsy guy. Their mother was born and raised on a dairy ranch in Colorado, though she spent the latter part of her childhood near town, after her father became a dentist. Her mother was raised a Quaker, and taught school. I'm guessing that's where the artistic talent and interest came from.

by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 8 (80.1k points)
edited by Alison Gardner
+6 votes
Colorful ancestors? Hmmm....

My paternal grandfather, Marco, painted several paintings which adorn both the house I grew up in and in the break room at my father's dental practice. The one at my dad's office is one of Vincenzo (his dad) and his second wife, Fortuna. They're sitting at a table eating olives.

For the longest time it kind of mesmerized me since I'd see it every time I went into the office and it was quite often.

My aunt Linda is quite adept at making costumes. She made me a comic accurate Spider-Man costume for a 7th grade costume party. She also made me a Superman cape.

I'm also sort of artistic. Off center clay bowls count, right? RIGHT?!

As far as ancestors with colorful names? How does Maria Giovanna Capobianco sound? Pretty epic Italian name. Then there's Desagnes Bombardier. That's a cool name. Or did you mean names with colors in them? I don't think I have any unless you count a "Green" family from waaaay back in the 1600s.
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (743k points)
+8 votes
John Burk, my gggg grandfather, was a colorful character!

He was born in southern Ireland about 1746 and was pressed into service with the British Navy. He "escaped" sometime before 1774 when he appeared in Massachusetts, marrying a woman seven years his elder in 1775. They had three children.

Then he goes off to fight with the patriots, fighting at locations including Bunker Hill and Bemis Point (Saratoga) where he was captured and taken as a prisoner by the British to Quebec. After some time he and 14 others escaped, and he rejoined his unit in Rhode Island.

After the war, he settled in Vermont, and returned to visit his native Ireland around 1800, bringing back what became known as the Burk potato to plant on his farm. Shortly thereafter the first potato distilleries were built near his town, and in 1807 the town selectmen voted to take care of him and his property as he was addicted to hard drinking.

He must have been a pleasant drunk, because he married a second time, at about age 62, to a 21 year old woman. They had two children.

by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (582k points)
+3 votes
I will do this one also. Mine is my great aunt Opal Flora Hutchison Leonard and her profile is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hutchison-1745. Because Opal is pretty colorful.

She was visiting my Great aunts Ruby and Ella at their home. There was a stoop with no railing at the door and she stepped backwards and fell of the stoop and broke her hip. She had surgery, but was incoherent when she came to. She never really recovered. She had hip surgery several years previously to replace a hip joint, and recovered so well she was able to play golf again, which she loved.

She and her husband my great uncle lived on College Heights across from my great uncle Roy's parents and from my mothers parents for many years and their boys grew up there, before they moved to a fine home in Ridgefields in Johnson City, Tennessee a golfing community in Kingsport, Tennessee.
by Living Barnett G2G6 Pilot (495k points)
edited by Living Barnett
+7 votes

It was Pioneer Day on July 24th, 2018. Family Search website sent out emails to let people know their connection to the early European settlers of Salt Lake City, Utah. I knew of a few, but the email says I am loosely connected to 20 of the original Mormons? Still verifying the links. The Mormons are quite colourful, indeed. The ancestor I researched this week, Jane Parkinson Atkinson Fowler (no page for her here yet),  left her husband and son in England, spent 66 days with her two daughters to get to Utah, married a younger man (no divorce), and then her new husband took a second wife! As a genealogy lover, We should all be grateful to the Mormons for creating ancestry.com, Family Search, etc. Without them searching for ancestors would be very difficult. Here's my post for Week #30 -http://www.libbyonthelabel.ca/2018/07/52-ancestors-week-30-colourful.html#.W1y0iZ_P4B8.link

by Libby Park G2G6 Mach 1 (18.1k points)
+6 votes

My tree is full of colorful folks :D 

My Dad was a painter, two cousins are artists, and my Aunt Ann (born Olive Andrew Brien) was an amazingly talented woman.

But for this challenge, I'll go with Green - Tabitha (Green) Hill is a brick wall and her profile needs some attention, but mostly going with her because (according to her profile), they named a child "Green Hill" <smile>.

by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (617k points)

I looked at the profiles, and I am confused.

Green Hill ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Hill-1962 )  is shown as the son of  and    not  and    , even though he is listed on Tabitha's page  .

that's a relief actually! I was originally going to say that they had resisted the urge to name a child "Green Hill" & then saw him listed on her page. It looks like I have my work cut out for me!

Cheers, Liz
It looks as if Wikitree is teeming with duplicates here

Two Tabitha (Green) Hills - Green-1414 and Greene-6005 and Green-25857

Two Green Hills - Hill-28200 and Hill-1962 and maybe Hill-27096

Two Robert Hills - Hill-49 and Hill-28182

Two versions of his father - Hill-50 and Hill-28178

Two or 3 versions of his mother Smith-10287 and Smith-156251 and Splitimber-8

and so on.

I do not envy you sorting it out
+5 votes

Not an ancestor as such, but related through infidelity! Edmund Wildman a portrait painter who was supposed to have painted the portrait of the more famous artist Turner (however the internet source I found many years ago has since disappeared - update: I re-found it! http://www.oxfordartonline.com/benezit/view/10.1093/benz/9780199773787.001.0001/acref-9780199773787-e-00197159). Edmund was the son of a more well known painter.

Edmund was married and had his mistress (my ancestor's sister Ann Rufus) living with him and his wife and their children. It is unknown whether it was a long affair, or just a brief encounter, or whether his wife Elizabeth knew - but Ann was certainly pregnant when she was staying with the family at the time of the 1851 census on the 31st March 1851 - as their illegitimate son Francis was baptised less than 5 months later on the 27th August 1851. 

So Edmund Wildman was a colourful character as well as an artist!

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (165k points)
edited by Michelle Wilkes
+5 votes

I had to add this one in as I've just been working on her profile, and I'm not sure if it's a mistake but Susan Nunn is recorded as an "oilman colour" in the 1891 census - her step-son Walter is an oilman's assistant...I am assuming that Susan was mixing paints (she was in-between husbands so probably having to earn a living!)

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (165k points)
+3 votes
My great aunt Wendy Wood was a professional artist, but I already used her for "Independence".

Her father Charles Stephen Meacham (  https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Meacham-722 profile much in need of improvement ) was a professional brewery chemist and brewery manager, but also a serious amateur artist.

His wife, Florence (Wood) Meacham ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wood-16087 also in need of work) was also a serious amateur artist.

Her father, Samuel Peploe Wood ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Wood-16086 ) was a sculptor, with his own Wikipedia page ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Peploe_Wood ).

 He fought with Garibaldi in Italy.  

He had a sculpture of Prometheus Weeping that he was invited to display at a Royal Exhibition at Crystal Palace.  But it was slightly damaged in transport, and he was frantically working on repairing it before the opening  when a group of  well dressed men, and one well dressed woman, approached to see what he was doing.  He brusquely said something to the effect of "Can't you see I am busy? Go away and come back later."

It turned out the one woman in the group was Queen Victoria, and he was never invited to a Royal Exhibition again.

Samuel died at age 46, leaving a wife and an 18 year old daughter without any means of support.  Probably because of this, she forbade her daughter from marrying an artist.  It was because of this prohibition that Charles  Meacham made his painting a hobby and trained as a brewery chemist.  

Samuel's brother, Thomas Peploe Wood was a professional painter, who died at age 28. (no Wikitree profile yet, but his Wikipedia page is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Peploe_Wood )
by Janet Gunn G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
+3 votes

I’m leaving my colorful individual as a work in progress because I keep finding more and would like to get this posted before the end of the year!  Franklin J. Scougale was my great-great-great grandfather Ephraim Wright’s stepson.  Ephraim was quite a colorful individual himself but eclipsed by Frank. 

Frank was sixteen years old in 1866 when his 39-year-old mother Sophronia married 80-year-old Ephraim six months after the death of his first wife.  Frank was already a military veteran having enlisted in Co. K of the 9th Michigan Infantry 3 February 1864 at Corunna, Shiawassee, Michigan at the actual age of 14 but claiming to be 18.  His brother George enlisted in the same unit the same day and same place at the age of 16 also claiming to be 18.  Maybe they said they were twins?  Both survived the war and returned home to Michigan. 

Ephraim was quite the wheeler-dealer in real estate.  The former Mrs. Scougale had a farm in what is now Durand, Michigan.  A railroad line had been proposed to go slightly south of the area; the proposed route is shown in the 1875 Shiawassee County Atlas and is a nice straight line.  According to a Lucius Gould who was a local historian and the nephew of the attorney who was making the deals for the railroad’s right-of-way, Ephraim, Franklin and several other people whose property would benefit from a slight tweaking of the right-of-way came to call on his uncle.  Possibly some money changed hands.  The railroad line as built in 1876 has an odd angle that just happens to make it go right through the Scougale farm.  Ephraim died at the age of 93 in 1879 before he saw his plan to completion.

Frank had married in 1870 and by 1880 had five children and was a hotel-keeper in the new village of Durand.  Unfortunately, his wife died in November of 1880 and at some point, he headed to the west as he is living in Valley City, Dakota Territory by 1889.  His two daughters were left in his mother Sophronia’s care and when she died in 1886, her will stated that the money she owes on a note held by Frank is more than offset by the expenses of taking care of his daughters and her estate does not need to pay it off.

But prior to his leaving Michigan, Frank was involved in a legal case Storrs vs. Scougale that came before the Michigan Supreme Court.  The details of Frank’s part have been hard to pin down as the focus was on the action of the defense that violated physician’s privacy rules see: https://case-law.vlex.com/vid/12-n-w-502-617979199 and https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/1925268/schechet-v-kesten/

Frank continued west and ventured into gold mining in Washington state:

“About 1896 F.J. Scougale worked 14 claims near the mouth of Ruby Creek. Using a small hydraulic plant he recovered $950 worth of gold nuggets. These claims, totaling 420 acres, were later purchased by the Ruby Hydraulic Gold Mining Company with the intent to work the placer ground. ... All the mining site was flooded by the backwaters of the Skagit River in 1947.” From National Park Service site https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/noca/hrs/sec3.htm  which gives these references as the source of the information:

Hodges, Lawrence K., editor. Mining in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1897. Shorey Book Store Reproduction, Seattle, 1967: p. 58.

Chriswell, Harold. Mount Baker Almanac. United States Forest Service, Mt. Baker National Forest, 1950. Typescript: p.144


I also have some old notes indicating Frank was involved in a court case in Wisconsin related to the mine in Washington but have not been able to find the information on the internet again.

On the 1900 Census Frank lists his occupation as real estate dealer and he is living at Everett, Snohomish, Washington and has a wife named Mary.  At least I think it is the same Frank.  He has daughters born in North Dakota about the time he was living there.  About 1903, Frank married a much younger woman named Cora and they had a son in 1905.  IF this is the same Frank, hopefully he and Mary divorced as she appears to have lived until the 1930’s.

In 1913, Frank is involved in Sandberg v. Scougale another state supreme court level case in Washington state that involved timber land purchased in 1906 near Gig Harbor. http://courts.mrsc.org/washreports/075WashReport/075WashReport0313.htm

And, a second related case Thomas v. Scougale involving a problem with his lawyer in 1916. http://courts.mrsc.org/washreports/090WashReport/090WashReport0162.htm

Frank died 15 May 1923 at Gig Harbor, Pierce, Washington.

His brother Monroe was elected Sheriff of Shiawassee County in 1896 and appears to have also been involved in a lawsuit Scougale v. Sweet (1900) which I have found numerous references to, but not the actual case.

by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 4 (43.7k points)
+4 votes

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Walter-4473 Jean Nicholas Walter my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  We both descend from Jean Georges dit Chambre Walter my 4th Great Grandfather.   Jean Nicholas was a glass maker born in France who came to the US and owned a glass company that he eventually sold to the Dannenhoffer brothers.  I have 17 of his notebooks with the formulas for making different colors and kinds of glass.

We have donated electronic versions of these notebooks to the Corning Museum of Glass and St Louis Crystallerie.  .I got them from Janet Nichols my 4th cousin who I call my genealogy fairy godmother because she has bestowed so much family memorabilia on me.  She is his direct descendant. 

The vibrancy of the colored glass makes him my most colorful ancestor.

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (807k points)
+2 votes
My mom is my candidate - and she is still living at 98+.  Mom was trained as a dancer - ballet and tap - and after graduating from high school at age 16 (she was very smart), she went to Chicago to work as a dancer in nightclubs.  She moved into vaudeville, and travelled around the country with her own dance troupe.  I asked her once if she ever ran into any Chicago gangsters (it was the 30s after all), and she told me she didn't think so.  Her mom, my grandmother, was with us, and said that she thought they had.  Grandmother was visiting Mom and went to see her perform.  While she was sitting at her table, a waiter came over and said, "Ma'am, that gentleman over there would like to know if he can take you and your daughter to dinner."  She looked over, and saw a man surrounded by what can only be termed an "entourage."  She sent a polite message of "No, thank you."  The man left shortly after surrounded by his bodyguards.  Mother's comment, "You never told me!"  Grandmother, "You didn't need to know."  Mother participated in dance for years after (and got me to study it as well).  She is well known in her hometown for her theater work, and only hung up her dance shoes in her late 80s.  A few years ago they asked her especially to play the role of the bird woman onstage in Mary Poppins.  They wheeled her on and offstage, and had a special performance where she met with the public after to answer questions about her life.
by Anneliese Kennedy G2G6 Mach 1 (17.5k points)
+2 votes

Have numerous colorful relative and ancestors, but by far and away, the most colorful relative I know of was one of  my great great grandfather's older brothers Alfred Lafayette Marshall

Alfred was born near Market Weighton, Yorkshire, England and was apprenticed out to an apothecary when he 10 years old.  Not happy with his lot in life, Alfred ran away twice.  First time he unsuccessfully tried getting on a ship when he was 13.  Then the second time he hired on a ship under an assumed name when he was about 16, and came to America.  If it hadn't been for Alfred my Marshalls would probably still be living in England.

He went through several occupations, including working in a bakery, working timber, tried to claim a Homestead in Nebraska and lost all his belongings to the local Indians. Convinced his parents to cross the Atlantic with the rest of his siblings in 1872 and to travel directly to Nebraska to start new lives.  If it hadn't been for Alfred my Marshalls would probably still be living in England.

He got married, had 7 children and finally became a pharmacist. One of his son's got killed in France during World War I.  Later on he worked as a sign painter and "buggy striper".  He mixed his own paints.   Among other things he had beautiful penmanship, was a great story teller and letter writer and wrote some poetry. Some of his letters that he wrote when he traveled were published in the local newspapers.

by Sondra Marshall G2G6 Mach 3 (38.9k points)

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