Provided by: Ramona Kane
Note: The letter's author, Katie Reynolds Taylor, was a great granddaughter of Polly Blakey Pedigo.
Letter from Katie Reynolds Taylor to her cousin Leona Arnett Murray, 1904
August 19th 1904
Mrs Leona Arnett Murray,
My dear Cousin Leona:
I will show you a photo of the old Coat of Arms. If possible I will look up a letter from a Jewish Rabbi amd let you read what he says concerning your Grandsire Elkins family history. It will amaze you - he goes back to Adam!
Grandsire Ned's family goes back to three hundred years before Christ. It is also interesting to me and so very thrilling - that I never tire of it.
Forgive me for saying that I was amused at your writing Dr Taylor that you think it was God's plan to keep family records.
Your know Dr. Taylor could have quoted back at you what St Paul says about vain genealogists and Christ's word bidding the Jews not to speak of their earthly farther but to say their Heavenly Father!
And so your husband thinks that it is a waste of time does he? Well, Dr. Taylor doesn't for he did all he could to help me in my quest. I have as little use for mere pedigree as anyone - and I loath the idea of sailing on the merits of dead and gone ancesters. I like people first for their principles and honor and then for their brains and after that pedigree does very well.
But when you realize that Grandsire Elkin came down in authentically traced line from Joseph who was sold into Egypt - and that he and all his descendants, are heirs under the Lord's will to Abraham, it turns the Bible into your own family history and puts you in tourch with God as nothing else could.
As we come of Huguenot stock, we are French in that line, of course. Fortunately for us, Talleyrand's family kept the history in France, and there is yet a province of France named for the family. The province of Perigord, the French form of the name that was called Perigoy or Peregoy when Grandsire Ned's sons came to Kentucky.
Talleyrand and we had the same ancestor about 1640 when flourished the father of Henry Peregoy who settled in Maryland not far from Annapolis, (I think about 1670). He was the father of Uncle Robin and Grandsire Ned.
Just stop for a moment and think of this; Grandsire Ned knew his own father born about 1640 and Uncle Elijah Pedigo knew Grandsire Ned. From 1640 to 1898 was covered by the lives of but three of our family and I, the fourth person, knew Uncle Lige. So but four persons reach over from 1640 to 1904. (and I expect to see 63 yet). That's a long time and bespeaks a long-lived family.
You know that Grandsire Ned fought in the war of the Revolution, side by side, with his son and grandsons. Grandsire Levi fought with him.
I was mightily tempted to swipe Grandsire Ned's Bible from Cousin Blake, and Grandsire Ned's spectacles from Cousin Amelia. The only thing that I have that belonged to him is a portion of the whethstone he carried at Braddock's defeat at Ft Duquesne, now Pittsburg. I had it cut and have a slab of it.
Grandsire Ned was born in 1706, and was quite old when the Revolution brok out in 1776. Seventy years after he was born. Braddock's defeat occured about 1755 and he was not a boy then, was old enough to have grown children.
I never have felt that I had traced the pedigree as far as it could be traced - for I think it could easily be traced back to one of the sons of Noah. The Gentiles were great people for keeping records of the old families, hence their name Gentile comes from Gentiles which comes from the Latin Gens - family. The Petrie Cordie were entirely too prominent not to have been "some punkins" long before they got their fighting name from the Greeks, at the time when Greece was leading the world in Art and Sculptare and Civilization. When people are part of history they are very easily traced, amd I always intended to do it.
The family "Motto" seems to fit the family of today, for they certainly are people who cling to God, who practice "none than God". So I suppose you and I come honestly by our religious bent. As this family history is closely interwoven with that of France and the Crusades it is easy to trace. Henry Peregoy, Grandsire Ned's father was a Huguenot and fled to America to escape Catholic persecution. You remember the "massacre of St Bartholomew's Eve", when the "Revocation of the Edict of Nantes" caused the murder of so many thousand Huguenots; otherwise, Ed and I would not be here today.
Grandsire Ned married a Miss Elkin - no Elins -, the daughter of Grandsire Elkin who was the son of a Jewish Rabbi, or the grandson. My head is roaring and my memory slips here. But I think Grandsire Elkin was the son of a Rabbi Elkin who was the son of the famous Rabbi Elkin who led the Jews on the Great Dispersion and built the Portuguese Synagogue in London, England, when the Jews were expelled from Spain. Our Rabbi Elkin was the son of this great Rabbi. Our Rabbi was Rabbi Benjamin Elkin and his brother Rabbi Hassephardis Elkin went to Poland from Spain, while ours went to Jamica, in the West Indies.
The great Rabbi, the father of these two sons, is descended in direct line from Elkanan, the father of Samuel in the Bible, who was the half-tribe of Epheaim, the son of Joseph, "who was sold in Egypt by his brethren".
The Rabbi Elkin who wrote me the letter is descended from the other son of the great Rabbi Elkin, is descended from the one who went to Poland. [Read Rabbi Elkin's letter.]
It was very gratifiying to me to learn that he, of another old branch of the family, knew the truth of the record of my branch of the family. You remember the same thing occured with a descendant of Grandsire Ned's brother, Uncle Robin, the one who had the photograph made for me.
The bible says that Reuben, being the oldest son of Israel (Jacob) had the birthright, - but because of sin, he lost it and therefore, it went to Joseph, the ruler came out of Juda with the birthright - Joseph's. That's why Joseph is coupled with Judah in the promises as to the Restoration of "the throne of David". 1 chron. 5, 1-2.
I do not know whether you did some praying about it, but something I had not thought of for a long time came back to me and that is about your descent from David, King of Israel, too. And strange to say that your line runs with the same line my Reynolds line goes to, which is another case of descendants of the common ancestor - but on widely seperated lines - come together again with family history. This makes me descended from David on two sides of my house - a thing I have known for many years and yet it never empressed me till I got this far in this letter.
Through Grandsire Elkin, you are descended from the Bruce family of Scotland. Tradition in our family says we are descended from Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, but history says Robert Bruce left no descendants. I'll stand by the family word, but as I can't prove it I just let it go, beleiving that some day our thruthful old ancestor's word will be proven. Grandsire Elkin was descended from the Bruce family of Scotland, of which King Robert Bruce was a member. Read this carefully; don't get a sketchy idea of it, and go around saying you are descended from Robert Bruce of Scotland until you can prove it. But you are descended from the Bruce blood, his own family from which he himself got his own Bruce blood.
An odd thing is that the Bruce family title is Earl of Elgin, and you see how close Elgin is to Elkin. Whether there is anything in this, I am not now prepared to say, but I could tell you a very interesting story, which, however must wait.
The Bruce family goes back to Norse blood, to Scandinavia, where the name in its early form was spelt Bruse, instead of Bruce. The Bruses descend from Wodin, King of Scandinavia. My Reynold's blood runs into the old Bruse blood of the Norse Kings. -Wodin, King of Scandinavia is descended in direct line from David, King of Israel. By the way, Wodin was the "whole show" in his day, and was considered to be almost divine and was, by the common people, called a god and takes his place in Norse mythology and gives his name to a day of the week, Wodin'sday - our Wednesday!
Take care of the photograph. By the way, don't try to trace it in English Heraldy, for it is French, you know.
Keep on growing in race and let me hear from you soon. As you wrote at the "first opportunity", I did the same, even if mine did come much sooner after the receipt of the letter than yours did.
Katie Reynolds Taylor
P.S. They sent me wrong copy of paper but then you believe in healing anyway, so I just send the paper.
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2nd Edition - 15 July 1999