[APG Public List] Tracing Living Descendants, Two Stories
persisto1 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 20 10:02:51 MDT 2009
When this thread first appeared, I mentioned that my only two
experiences in trying to find living descendants did not have happy
endings. Here the two stories:
1. This one started out innocently enough. It was some time in the
late 1980s when I was a state legislator. I was bored one night at my
apartment and decided to see if there were in Kilbys in the local
phone book. There was one. I called the number and had a nice long
talk with a delightful woman. Her husband had died a few years before,
but she said she knew absolutely nothing about him or his family,
other than he came Wilkes County, NC. She explained she had always
some suspicions about him, as he adamantly refused to ever discuss his
childhood or family prior to his arrival in Missouri. She added that
on day, the Social Security office had come out to see him personally.
He quickly walked away the SS employee so that whatever was discussed
could not be heard by any family member.
This doesn't sound like a story that would finding still alive, but it
did. I got busy trying to find records on this man in North Carolina.
I wrote to schools and local Kilby researchers I knew. We had a name
and a birth date, and this should not have been to difficult a chore.
But read on.
To make a long story short, I found the person by that name and with
that birthday, still very much alive. When I reached this man, he just
said, I need to talk to your client in person by telephone. We
arranged a day and time. The lady came to my office at the capitol.
After we reached him, I left the office and waited downstairs (these
offices are arranged in mezzanines.
ONE HOUR LATER, she came out of the office in tears. Absolute tears.
She was visibly shaken to say the least. Now that the husband was
dead, the "real" Kilby decided it was time to fess up. What had
happened years before was quite a shock. The "faux" Kilby had gotten
himself into some very serious trouble in NC. So much so, it was
decided he should leave Dodge permanently. The two concoted an escape
plan that was very clever. And it worked. The "real" Kilby stold his
family bible and a picture of his mother. The two took off to
Tennessee. At a hotel there, the real Kilby gave the "faux" Kilby the
bible, the photo, his SS card and other ID (This was all sometime in
the 1950s). Armed with these items, the faux Kilby went to Missouri
and simply started live over with a new identity. The police were hot
on the trail, but when they got to the hotel in Tennessee they only
found the real Kilby and there was nothing they could charge him with.
(The real Kilby never told anyone the truth about this until this day.)
The charge against him had been homocide. To what degree I don't
remember. Then even more skeletons were let out of the closet. We
learned the real name of the faux Kilby, who was the illegitimate son
of a professional boxer from New Jersey and a circus performer, a
local woman. That was all quite a shock too.
The nice lady asked me that I never tell anyone about this, as she did
not want her children to ever have to know the truth. This was not
always easy to do but I kept me word. Her son was active in local
politics and I would see him from time to time.
Years later, living back in St. Louis, the phone rang one evening. It
was the lady's daughter. She told me her mother had died and that she
had found my name in her papers. There was only Craig Kilby in all of
Missouri at this time, so it was not difficult to find me. I knew
instantly what was coming next. The daughter only that I had done some
work on her father. I told that that was true, but that I had promised
to never reveal the details of that effort. Well, after a little
while, I did not see how it would matter anymore if I told her. Were I
in her shoes I'd want to know. So I told her the whole story.
She did not break down in tears, and simply said they'd always known
there was some unsolved mystery regarding the father and she was very
happy to finally learn of it. I think it more to her that her mother
had kept this a secret that she took to her grave to protect her
children than anything else.
So, in a way this not all bad. An old man in North Carolina got to
cleanse his conscience, and the truth did finally come out and put
closure to it. But I can never forget the absolute devastation this
inflicted on a woman who sitting at home one night minding her own
business and I called her out of the blue on a whim. I vowed never to
do this again.
This note has became too long. I'll have to save up the other story
for another post. This one does not have any happy endings.
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