A Regular Family Business

Here is something that I have shared with close friends. It is so much fun that it should go out on the record. I have traced as much of my family tree back as I can find at this point. Writing and coursework have gotten in between me and finishing. Not to mention records locked away somewhere in Dublin. Every single line of my family has been in the United States since the early 17th century. All, that is, but one. That one happens to be the one that gives me my last name.

But that is not the fun part. My great-great-great grandfather was born in Ireland, and at some point made his way to America.

But that isn’t the fun part either.

His son–my Great-great grandfather lived and worked in Oklahoma. I mentioned how close his place was to the locale where the Acrocanthosaurus fossil was discovered and so you have seen the below image before.

Now, here is the fun part. Living the in Indian Territory on either side of the turn of the 20th century creates characters not even found in books. Three brothers came with all kinds of stories. It was told that when James was a kid he would throw silver dollars in the air for Frank James to shoot. Absolutely no way to prove that, and given the storyteller capabilities that flow through the tree it’s doubtful, but fun.
The Burnes Brothers (L-R George Washington Burnes 2/22/1876-7/10/1965; James Benjamin Burnes 12/2/1872-2/21/1955; and Robert Eli Burnes 2/8/1870-12/24/1924
You can image how excited I was to get to see that photo. I have requests in with friends who are better at photo editing than I am to try and get this out to its finest. Now the first thing that went through my mind when I saw this was That’s amazing and one of the coolest photos I have ever seen.
Below is the second thing that went through my mind.

 

 

Something that makes this even funnier is that I have always said there were certain characteristics in Daniel Day-Lewis’ Butcher Bill persona that sounded like my father. Further still, the University I studied geology when this movie came out was located quite near the locale of the Spindletop Gusher. (Lamar University-Beaumont, TX, where I subsequently graduated with a degree in History minoring in Geology, Anthropology and Earth Science and an eventual M.A. in History) Turns out the producers of There Will Be Blood rented some of the century old oil rig platform/setup for use in the movie. Of course it is only there at the blowout scene and is covered with oil, but it is still a claim to fame.
Now,  have brought the bloodline back to Oklahoma for my PhD. I live a couple hours from our old homestead. So full circle, I suppose.

 

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