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  • Writer's pictureDonna Hechler Porter

The Chaneys and the Whiteheads, Part 1, An Introduction

In 49 short years, David Madison Chaney did a "lotta living."

Marbut & Thielbar, David M. Chaney, 1809-1859, Allied Families and Descendants

So, I have been debating with myself for some time about sharing an old book about the Chaneys (and Whiteheads by proxy) here on my blog. The book (and its supplement) are chock full of good information on those two families, but it is not mine. It WAS published in 1971 and has been out-of-print for a long, long time.

Anyhoo - I decided, this week, that I would do just that - although I will be technically citing excerpts from the book. I will also be adding my own notes from time to time.

And just what is my interest in the Chaneys and Whiteheads?

After all, it seems, even to me, that I primarily post about the Crews and McQueens on this blog, with a smattering of the Hechlers thrown in (like the sugar dusting on a pound cake). That is probably because, once I finish my fifth novel, The Brooch, which is loosely based on the McQueens, I will be finishing the rewrite of my first edition in my Metes & Bounds Series, Dugal McQueen and Some Descendants. That one has been a long time coming to fruition. (It has been way too long between novels, too).

The point is – I have the McQueens on my mind. I have Facebooks pages on the McQueens and Crews and Hechlers, so sometimes ideas come to my mind for blog postings as I post a few times a week on those pages.

And so, I made it a goal this year to branch outward with my blog and write about other families. I might even find a small amount of time to devote to genealogy – which has always been a passion of mine and which gets too little of my time these days.

But I digress – so back to my interest in the Chaneys and Whiteheads. The Whiteheads branch off my McQueens. And the Chaneys branch off the Whiteheads.

My great-grandfather, Scott McQueen, married Anna Lee Whitehead in a literal “shot-gun wedding” in the road front of her home while her father and brothers looked on from the porch. (Her fathers and brothers had shot-guns in their hands to stop the nuptials, but once they were done, Robert E. Lee Whitehead told his three strapping sons to put your guns down, boys – what’s done is done.)

“Lee,” as Scott called her, was the daughter of Robert E. Lee Whitehead (born during the Civil War while his father was away fighting for the Confederacy) and Joanna Frances Martin. “Uncle Bob” – everyone seemed to have nicknames in those days – was the son of Emily Margaret Chaney (Lewis) and John Swepson Whitehead. And Emily was one of the few children of David Madison Chaney to live to adulthood.

Anna Lee Whitehead McQueen (left) and cousin

in front of John S. Whitehead home in Polk County, Texas,

the day the historical marker was placed about 1965.

David M. Chaney, 1809-1859, Allied Families and Descendants, was compiled and arranged by Laura Powers Marbut and Sarah Powers Thielbar. It was privately printed by Heritage Papers in Danielsville, George, in 1971. It was one of the books my grandfather, Woodrow McQueen, gave me in the late 80s.

The book is more a compilation of information and genealogical lines than a straight historical story of a family (like what I tend to write). Generally, no sources are given for the information, and quite a bit originates in family oral history. Nonetheless, it provides a direct insight into the family history that is extremely valuable beyond the genealogical record. It has hand drawn maps and photographs, and the supplement provides additional information on the families.

So, join me next month as we venture into the world of David Madison Chaney, Baptist preacher, farmer, husband and father, 1809-1859. May he rest in peace . . .


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