The old Indian scout, a direct line to Robert E. Lee and the Finnish King of Finger pulls; how family lore and romantic notions survive across the generations
My great, grandfather Ebenezer Lee served as a farrier in the Union Army during the Civil War in the Western Theater of Missouri, Kentucky, Mississippi and Alabama.
His likeness was captured in an unmarked tintype handed down from one Lee family generation to another. One of the men in the tintype has dark shoulder length hair and brown eyes.
As our family lore went, the dark eyed man was our ancestor’s Indian Scout. For over a hundred years no one in the Lee family questioned that story even though the alleged “Scout” looked very much like my father, Melvin E. Lee.
Later the story changed to indicate that Ebenezer was the scout and that our family had Native American heritage. Today with the advent of DNA testing, we know that is not true. Yet a recent check on at least one ancestry site indicates some of my long lost cousins still believe in the notion Ebenezer Lee was an Indian Scout and that we carry the blood of Native Americans.
Another family story passed down through at least two generations of Lees indicates we have a direct lineage to the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. That unwavering belief led to the naming of boys in the Lee family. My brothers all have the middle initial E, as did my father and his brothers. My late uncle’s name was Robert E. Lee.
Today several DNA tests have yet confirm that piece of family lore...and so it goes.
As for the Finnish King of Finger Pulling? I married into that story and it is not mine to tell.