James IV, King of
Scotland, the last monarch mentioned above, as well as
Robert the Bruce, are ancestors of the author (though
perhaps better described as “connections”). A direct
line of descendants is listed below:
Robert de Brus I
(1274-1329) (Robert the Bruce) King of Scots.
Robert was born on 11 July 1274 into
an aristocratic Scottish family. Through his
father he was distantly related to the Scottish royal
family. His mother had Gaelic antecedents. The
ancestor of Robert the Bruce was a Norman knight, also
called Robert, who accompanied William the Conqueror on
his invasion of England in 1066. This Robert de Bruis,
who took his name from his family estates at Bruis near
Cherbourg, received extensive lands in Yorkshire. His
son, again called Robert, was made Lord of Annandale by
David I of Scotland in1124. This Robert's grandson,
another Robert, married King David's great-granddaughter
Isabel in 1220. Their son, Robert de Brus (1210-1295)
was at one time heir to the throne and competitor for
the crown of Scotland against John Balliol in 1292. His
son, Robert (1243-1304) was the father of the Robert the
Bruce above, who succeeded him as lord of Annandale in
Bruce (1296-1316). Marjory Bruce was the only child
of the 1st marriage of Robert de Brus (Robert the
Bruce), King of Scots to Lady Isabel de Mar. She was not
yet eighteen at the time of the battle of Bannockburn,
June 24, 1314. One of the heroes of that great victory
over the English was her second cousin once removed,
Walter Stewart, 6th Lord High Steward, some four years
her senior. She and Walter
were married in 1315 in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland.
They had one child, Robert Stuart II, who became the
King of Scotland. He was saved by a cesearean delivery
after his mother fell from a horse and died on March 2,
1316, at age 19
Robert Stewart II
(1316-1390) King of Scotland. Robert II
became King of Scots in 1371 as the first monarch of the
House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart,
sixth hereditary High Steward of Scotland, and Marjory
Bruce, daughter of Robert I and his first wife Isabel de
The name came from his
ancestor Walter Stewart who was appointed High Steward
of Scotland by David I (r.1124-1153). He had escaped
following the defeat of David II (r.1329-1371) at
Halidon Hill in 1333 and took over as Guardian of
Scotland while David was in exile in France.
He was a mature man of 54
when he succeeded to the throne on the death of David,
but he was weak king and did not rule well over the
nobles who were critical of him, leading to a loss of
prestige for the crown.
Robert had fourteen
legitimate children, and at least seven illegitimate. He
was succeeded by his son John who took the name Robert
Stewart III (1347-1406). Son of Robert II, he was
timid, retiring and badly injured following a kick from
a horse. He took the name Robert because John, his given
name, was considered a bad omen after the hated John
Balliol. Robert III was King of Scots
from 1390 until his death. His given name was John
Stewart, and he was known primarily as the Earl of
Carrick before ascending the throne at age 53. He was
the eldest son of Robert II and Elizabeth
His reign was beset by many
problems, including rivalry between the Highlanders, his
brothers and the Lords of the Isles. His brother Robert,
Duke of Albany, may have been responsible for the death
of Robert III’s son David.
In 1402 the forces Henry IV
of England invaded the Lowlands and, following two
successive defeats of the Scots, briefly occupied
Edinburgh. Robert sent James, his ten-year-old second
son to France in 1406 for safety, but he was captured at
sea during the journey and taken prisoner by the
English. The news of his son’s capture was said to have
hastened the death of Robert, who died shortly
James Stewart I
(1394-1437), King of Scotland. James I
was the youngest of three sons of King Robert III and
Annabella Drumond. By the time he was eight years of age
both of his elder brothers were dead. In February 1406,
James, in the company of nobles loyal to King Robert
III, clashed with those of the Earl of Douglas, forcing
the prince to take temporary refuge on the Bass Rock in
the Forth estuary. He remained there until mid-March,
when he boarded a vessel bound for France, but English
pirates captured the ship on March 22 and delivered
James to Henry IV of England. A few days later, on April
4, Robert III died, and the twelve-year-old uncrowned
King of Scots began his 18-year detention. James was
ransomed in early in 1424, and in April 1424 James,
accompanied by his wife Joan Beaufort, daughter of the
Earl of Somerset, returned to Scotland.
It was not altogether a popular re-entry
to Scottish affairs, since James had fought on behalf of
Henry V and at times against Scottish forces in France.
Additionally, his £40,000 ransom meant increased taxes
to cover the repayments and the detention of Scottish
nobles as collateral. Unlike his father and grandfather
he did not take mistresses, but had many children by his
consort, Queen Joan. The king had a strong desire to
impose law and order on his subjects, but applied it
selectively at times. James was murdered at Perth on the
night of February 20, 1437 in a failed coup by his
uncle, and former ally, Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl.
Queen Joan, although wounded, escaped to the safety of
Edinburgh Castle, , where she was reunited with her son
Stewart II (1430-1460). James II was just six years
old when he succeeded to the throne following the murder
of his father, James I. He was nicknamed “Fiery Face”
after a large birthmark on his face. He was crowned at
Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, ending the tradition since
Kenneth MacAlpin of crowning at Scone.
Nothing is known of his early life, but
by his first birthday his twin brother, Alexander, who
was supposedly born first, and thus heir to the throne,
had died, leaving James the heir apparent and Duke of
On February 20, 1437, James I was
assassinated, and the six-year-old Duke of Rothesay
immediately succeeded him as James II.
During his minority three
rival families, William Crichton of Edinburgh, Alexander
Livingstone of Stirling and William Douglas, fought for
control over him. When James took control as king he had
Livingstone arrested, and it is said that he personally
killed William, Earl of Douglas, when he invited him to
Stirling Castle in February 1452 for negotiations.
In 1449, nineteen-year-old James married
fifteen-year-old Maria Van Guelders of Holland, daughter
of the Duke of Gelderland. She had numerous royal
ancestors such as John II of France and John of Bohemia.
She bore him seven children, six of whom survived into
James II died in 1460 while his forces
were besieging Roxburgh in northern England with large
iron cannons imported from Flanders. He was killed by
flying shrapnel when one of the cannons exploded.
James Stewart III
(1451-1488). James III was the son of James II and Marie
Van Guelders. He succeeded his father James II on August
3, 1460 at age seven, and was King of Scots until his
death. During his childhood the government was led by
three successive factions; first the King's mother,
Marie Ban Guelders (1460–1463), then James Kennedy,
Bishop of St. Andrews and Gilbert, Lord Kennedy
(1463–1466), and finally Robert, Lord Boyd (1466–1469).
James was an unpopular and ineffective
monarch, owing to an unwillingness to administer justice
fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the King of
England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all
of his extended family. James married Princess Margaret
Oldenburg of Denmark in July 1469 at Holyrood Abbey in
Edinburgh. Her dowry,
the Orkney and Shetland Islands, were ceded from Danish
rule to Scotland. The marriage
produced three sons. It is said that
James also had several “close
James was weak and unpopular.
He faced several challenges, including the Boyds of
Kilmarnock who were eventually exiled to Holland, as
well as from two of his brothers; Alexander of Albany,
and John, Earl of Mar, whom he had arrested in 1479 on
charges of treason. Mar died in suspicious circumstances
while in prison, but Albany escaped from Edinburgh
Castle to England.
With support from Edward IV
of England, Alexander twice invaded Scotland. Both
expeditions turned into a farce, and he was exiled to
The Scottish nobles became
increasingly disaffected by James’ weakness and
bisexuality, and when he conferred an earldom on his
boyfriend John Ramsay they called for James’
fifteen-year-old son James to be proclaimed king. Those
who remained faithful to James III were routed at
Sauchieburn near Bannockburn, and James fled to Milltown
where he was fatally stabbed by a man dressed as a
James Stewart IV
(1475-1513). James IV
was fifteen when his father was assassinated.
James IV took the throne and was King of
Scots from June 11, 1488 until his his death.
James was the son of James III and
Margaret of Denmark. In 1474, his father had arranged
his betrothal to Princess Cecily of England, but the
union did not result in any children. James then married
Margaret Tudor in 1503, daughter of Henry VII of
England. This marriage produced four live births: James,
Duke of Rothesy, 1507-1508); Athur Duke of Rothesy,
(1509-1510); James V, (1512-1542), King of Scots;
Alexander, Duke of Ross (1514-1515), born after James'
James was a Renaissance King
who spoke several languages, including Gaelic, English
and French, and was keen on arts and learning. Aberdeen
University was founded, the printing press came to
Scotland, and education was made compulsory for barons
and wealthy landowners. He spent lavishly on the court
and built new halls in Edinburgh and Stirling castles,
and Edinburgh became the main city and the center of
government and justice.
He successfully settled major
feuds between his nobles and between the Highland clans,
and ended the hold of the MacDonald clan chiefs who had
semi-independently ruled the Western Isles. He supported
the Yorkist English crown pretender Perkin Warbeck,
which provoked a military response from Henry VII of
England. However this was patched up in a truce “of
perpetual peace” in 1502, and his marriage to Margaret
Tudor, daughter of Henry VII, the following year
ultimately brought the thrones of Scotland and England
By 1513 Henry VIII was on the
throne of England and fighting in France.
As part of a
long-running conflict in Italy, England and France ended
up at war. Under the obligations of the “Auld Alliance”
(signed by John Balliol in 1295), James was honor-bound
to aid the French. This was, of course, at odds with the
Treaty he had signed with Henry VII in 1502.
declared war on England and led his army south. On the
September 9, 1513 James led his army into battle at
Flodden, Northumberland. The campaign was a disaster.
The Scots were slaughtered. James was killed, as were
many of the Scottish nobility.
James IV is generally regarded as the
most successful of the Stewart monarchs of Scotland, but
his reign ended with the disastrous defeat at the Battle
of Flodden Field, where he became the last monarch from
Scotland, as well as from all of Great Britain, to be
killed in battle.
Margaret Stewart (1497-1516).
James Stewart IV had four children with Margaret Tudor,
but he also had eight illegitimate children, with four
different mistresses. One of those mistresses was
Margaret Drummond, daughter of John Drummond, First Lord
of Drummond. This liaison produced Margaret Stewart.
Margaret first married Lord John Gordon, and second, Sir
John Drummond. The first marriage produced three sons,
the first being Earl George Gordon.
George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly
(1513-1566). George Gordon inherited his
earldom and estates in 1524 at age ten. As commander of
the King's Army he defeated the English at the Battle of
Hadden Rig in 1542. He was captured at the Battle of
Pinkie Cleugh in 1547, but escaped and in 1550
accompanied Mary of Guise to France. He joined the Lords
of the Congregation in 1560 and was prepared to accept
Mary, Queen of Scots until she transferred the Earldom
of Moray, which had been given to the Earl of Huntly in
1549, to her half-brother Lord James Stewart, at which
point he withdrew to his estates in northeast Scotland.
Mary toured the northeast in August
1562, but was refused entry to Inverness Castle on
Gordon's orders. The Queen's forces captured the Castle
before moving to Aberdeen where she issued a summons for
Gordon. He refused to answer and was outlawed. He
marched on Aberdeen but was defeated by James Stewart, 1st
Earl of Moray, at the Battle of Corrichie in October
1562. He died of apoplexy (stroke) after his capture.
George married Elizabeth Keith in 1530.
They had eleven children; eight sons and three
daughters. Sir John Gordon, one of their sons, who was
captured with George in 1562, and was executed by Queen
Mary’s edict in Aberdeen the same year. Huntly estate
was posthumously ordered forfeited by parliament in May
Lady Jean Gordon, Countess of Bothwell
(1546-1629). Lady Jean Gordon was born
at Huntly Castle in Aberdeenshire, the second eldest
daughter of George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly,
at the time the wealthiest and most powerful landowner
in the Scottish Higlands, and Elizabeth Keith. On
February 24, 1566, Jean, who was a Catholic, married
James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, in a
Protestant-rites ceremony apparently celebrated with
considerable pomp, becoming Countess of Bothwell. Queen
Mary, who strongly approved of the match – supplied
cloth of silver and white taffeta for Jean's wedding
gown, although she had wanted the marriage to have taken
place in the Chapel Royal during a mass. (apparently
neither Lady Jean or Queen Mary held any animosity
towards the other, even though Mary had ordered the
execution of Jean’s brother). Bothwell, however, refused
to attend mass. Her uncle, Alexander Gordon, Bishop of
Galloway, preached at the ceremony at the court at
Holyrood House in Edinburgh. On May 3, 1567, Jean was
granted a divorce judgement against Bothwell in the
Protestant commissary court on the grounds of his
alleged adultery with her maid and seamstress, Bessie
Crawford. Jean was awarded ownership of Bothwell’s
Crichton Castle as part of the divorce settlement. Jean
had no children with Bothwell.
Jean Gordon then married, on December
13, 1573, Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of
Sutherland, thus now becoming the Countess of
Sutherland. Jean and Alexander had seven children; four
sons and three daughters.
Robert Gordon (1580-1656).
Sir Robert was born at Dunrobin Castle,
the third child and the second son of
Jean and Alexander Gordon,
12th Duke of Sutherland. Robert Gordon was educated at
the University of St. Andrews, and then in Edinburgh. He
studied law in France and then moved to London where, in
1606, he was appointed a privy councillor by King James
VI. He was granted a generous pension in 1609 and was
In 1617, King James visited
Scotland for the first time since leaving in 1603. Among
the entertainments was an archery competition in the
garden of Holyrood Palace, at which Gordon won a silver
arrow. In 1621, through a sense of family duty, he
generously settled the debts of the Sutherland estates
at considerable financial cost to himself.
In 1623, Gordon pursued the
rebel George Sinclair, 5th Earl of Caithness, and took
possession of Castle Sinclair, the Earl's residence. Two
years later, he was granted land and created a
hereditary baronet of Nova Scotia in gratitude for
services to the new King Charles I. Gordon was one of
Charles’ favorites, and employed him as his confidential
messenger to his future wife Henrietta Maria of France.
In 1629, Gordon was appointed Sheriff Principal of
Invernesshire, and the following year he was appointed
Vice-Chamberlain of Scotland. During the Covenanting
Wars, Gordon acted as a mediator between the opposing
Gordon had acquired various
estates in Moray, and united these into the Barony of
Gordonstoun in 1642. He extended the tower-house there
into a fine home for himself, which is now the
Gordonstoun School, an acadamy primarily for the
children of royalty and bluebloods.
Gordon (1621-1663). Lady Katherine was a decendant
of the Stewarts of Holland, as were Princess Elizabeth
of Hollond and James I and James II of Great Britain.
Lady Katherine inherited her father’s home, which is
today’s Gordonstoun School, a boarding school for
royalty and the privilidged. Prince Charles, son of
Queen Elizabeth II, received part of his early education
Katherine married David
Barclay (1610-1689) December 25, 1647, in Gordonstoun,
Scotland. Katherine and David had
five children; three sons and two daughters.
mid-seventeenth century, on his return from the Thirty
Years War, Sir David Barclay acquired the estate of Urie,
near Stonehaven in Kincardineshire (Aberdeen),
from William Keith, 7th Earl of
attained the rank of Colonel as a professional soldier
while serving in the armies of Gustavus Adolphus, King
of Sweden. He officially retired in 1647, though it was
not a peaceful retirement, for in the following year
(1648) Colonel Barclay took up arms for Charles I.
He was charged with hostility to the
government following the Restoration, but was released
after pressure from his friends. During his time in
detention he was converted to the Religious Society of
Friends (Quakers) by Laird Swinton, who was also
served as a Scottish representative to London under the
rule of Cromwell.
A bit of
trivia: Col. David Barclay’s fifth great-grandfather,
also David Barclay (1453-1483), was married to Janet
Irvine, daughter of Alexander Irvine (1440-1493), fifth
Laird of Drum; thus the descendants of James N. Irvine,
immigrant, have two “connections” to Robert the Bruce.
(1648-1690). Robert Barclay was
the eldest child of David and Catherine Gordon.
Robert’s father, David Barclay, had become a Quaker, and
in 1667 Robert followed his example. Soon afterwards he
became a theologian of the Quaker viewpoint, writing in
defense of the Society.
It was about this time that the Quaker
movement came under attack in Scotland and England, and
Robert’s writings became more inflamitory. He published
Truth Cleared of Calumnies in 1670, and
Catechism and Confession of Faith in 1673.
Barclay published his classic exposition of Quakerism in
Latin in 1676, and then translated it into English.
The Apology for the True Christian Divinity has
since been reprinted over sixty times, and translated
into several other languages as well. During
his later life he was known as the “Quaker Apologist.”
Robert was also governor of the East
Jersey colony in North America through most of the
1680s, although he himself never resided in the colony
(during the period 1674-1702 there were two colonies of
Jersey, an East and a West, later merged to become the
province of New Jersey).
influence was not through his theology alone. He was
active in national affairs and negotiated on behalf of
King James II. He died at the age of forty-two.
In 1670 married Christian Mollison,
another Quaker from Aberdeen. They had seven children,
three sons and four daughters, and all were
ardent Quakers. Their descendants were prominent among
the famous Quaker families of subsequent centuries: the
Barclays, Gurneys and Frys.
Robert Barclay (1672-1747).
Robert was born in Ury, Feteresso, Kincrdineshire,
Scotland, the eldest child of Robert and Christian
Barclay, and died in Rowan County, North Carolina. He
married Elizabeth O’Brian – who was born in London – in
1696 in Kincardinshire, Scotland. They had eight
children, three sons and five daughters, all believed to
have been born in Scotland.
Robert Barclay (1699-1760).
Robert was the eldest son Robert and Elizabeth above. He
married Una Cameron in 1725 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Robert and Una are known to have had at least six
children. Little is known about this Robert, except that
it is believed that he, his wife, and some of his
children, emigrated to the Colonies about 1747. He was
born in Kincardishire, Scotland, but died in Rowan
County, North Carolina.
Henry Thomas Barkley
(1725-1808). Henry Barkley was the eldest child of
Robert and Una Barkley. He was born in Scotland, but
died in Rowan County, North Carolina. He married Mary
Knox, daughter of John Knox and Jean Sinclair Gracey, in
1751 in Rowan County. Henry and Mary had seven children:
six sons and one daughter.
Mary Elizabeth Barkley
(1755-1836). Mary was the only daughter of Henry and
Mary Barkley. She was born, and died, in Rowan County,
North Carolina. She married Thomas Lockridge Cowan in
1773. They had fourteen children: ten daughters and four
sons. Henry Barkley, Jr., one of Mary’s brothers, was an
ancestor of Alben W. Barkley, Vice President of the
United States (1949-1953). The home of Thomas and
Mary Cowan still stands on Sherrill's Ford Road about
fifteen miles southwest of Salisbury in Rowan County,
North Carolina. Thomas called it "Wood Grove."
early years of the Revolutionary War most battles were
fought along the coast of the Carolinas and in the
North. In 1780, however, Cornwallis moved his British
forces into the South. Many men of the Piedmont area
joined the fight for independence, and among them was
Thomas Cowan of Second Creek. He served as a Captain and
commanded, at different times, cavalry as well as
infantry in the North Carolina Militia. Thomas Cowan
participated in the battles of King's Mountain, Cowpens,
Ramseur's Mill, Lincoln town, Eutaw Springs, and others.
He was wounded September 8, 1781 in the battle of Eutaw
Catherine Nancy Cowan
(1774-1839). Catherine was the eldest child of Thomas
and Mary Cowan. She was born in Rowan County, North
Carolina, and died in Henry County, Tennessee. She
married Joseph Erwin, Sr. (1769-1846) in 1792 in Rowan
County. Catherine and Joseph had fourteen children: ten
sons and four daughters. Eleven were born in Rowan
County, and the last three in Giles County, Tennessee.
Catherine is buried in the Palestine Cemetery, near
Paris, in Henry County Tennessee. After Catherine’s
death Joseph moved to Lowndes County, Mississippi to
live with a son. It is not known where he was buried.
Joseph Erwin, Jr.
(1794-1879). This Joseph was the second child of Joseph
and Catherine Erwin. On December 10, 1812, when he was
eighteen, he enlisted for two years in the Tennessee
Militia, thus serving during the War of 1812. He married
Nancy Rebecca Davis January 22, 1818 in Giles County,
Tennessee. Joseph and Nancy Erwin had eleven children:
six daughters and five sons. It is thought that two, a
son and a daughter, died in infancy. It is believed that
Joseph moved his family from Giles County to Henry
County about 1828-1830. Then, in 1853, Joseph and Nancy,
with possibly two of their unmarried children, moved to
Carroll County, Arkansas. Joseph and Nancy died in
Carroll County, but their place of burial is not known.
Thomas Johnston Erwin
(1822-1892). Thomas was the third-born child of Joseph
Jr. and Nancy Erwin. He married Nancy Caroline Davis in
Henry County, Tennesse in 1845, but they moved to
Carroll County, Arkansas in 1848. Joseph and Nancy had
eight children. The first two were born in Henry County,
and the other six in Carroll County. Thomas and Nancy
both died in Carroll County, and both are buried there
in the Denver Cemetery.
Michael Ransellauer Erwin
(1867-1953). “Mike” Erwin was the last-born child of
Thomas and Nancy Erwin. On December 15, 1886 Mike Erwin
married Minnie Olive Freeman in Carroll County. It was,
in fact, a double wedding. Mike’s next oldest brother,
William Coleman “Cole” Erwin, married Indiana May
(India) Freeman during the same ceremony. Both young
ladies were the daughters of John and Sarah Ellen
Freeman. Mike and Minnie had eight children: seven sons
and one daughter.
In 1898 Mike and Minnie moved – with
ten-year-old Odes, Dale who was eight, and Thomas who
was born in 1892 – by covered wagon to Elk County,
Kansas where Vachel Freeman, Minnie’s half-brother,
lived. Details are sketchy, but it is thought another
Erwin family, most likely that of Cole and India, made
the trip as well. The joint-family group traveled west
from Green Forest, Arkansas into Oklahoma Territory,
crossed the Grand River about where Grand Lake is now
(also called Lake of the Cherokee) and on west and north
into Kansas. According to my father’s recollection, the
trip took nineteen days. If the other Erwin group was
indeed that of Cole and India they did not stay, for
they later homesteaded, and are buried, in Dewey County,
Odes Herman Erwin
(1888-1966). Odes Erwin was the first-born child
of Mike and Minnie Erwin. The old adage about the
attraction of opposites was certainly true when my
father, Odes, courted and won Hazel, my mother. Both
grew up in the farm community of Longton, Kansas. Odes
was talkative and outgoing, needed to be around people,
and was quick to judge and criticize. Hazel was quiet,
passive and unassuming, only rarely showing aggression,
and then only when she was really pushed or crowded.
They were both hard-working. They had been born into a
place and era where hard work was necessary for
survival, and they were survivors.
the same small community and on adjoining farms, Mom and
Dad grew up knowing each other. Mom, I think, must have
been very flattered and happy when the tall, good
looking neighbor boy showed an interest in her. She was
quite small; their wedding picture shows the top of her
head coming only to his shoulder.
to the February 15, 1907 issue of the Longton Gleaner,
my mother and father were married on Sunday, February
10, at the home of Mom’s Uncle Tom and Aunt Ellen XE
"Stillwell, Aunt Ellen" Stillwell, her foster parents.
The paper described my father as “…one of Longton
Township’s most industrious young farmers…” Apparently
he was considered a good catch.
seventeen and Odes was nineteen when they were married.
For the first two years or so of their married life Odes
farmed a rented place in Oak Valley, about a mile and a
half from Longton. He also drove a dray (a horse-drawn
delivery wagon) part-time, delivering freight from the
train depot to local merchants in order to help with
family expenses. By the time their second child was born
my father had moved from the farm, setting a pattern
that was to last most of his life. He was a restless
person, and until he reached middle age he never stayed
in one place more than about two years. As a young man
he applied for a homestead in Oklahoma, but moved the
family before the property was patented. He was afraid
of being “tied down,” and he would be in his fifties
before he owned any real estate.
the gypsy-like existence that was to be the family’s
life for many years. The reasons were many: a more
productive farm in the next township or the next county,
or the discovery of oil in Oklahoma XE "Oklahoma" , or
high-paying jobs for teamsters in the oil field “down
the road a piece,” or the hiring of men with strong
teams by the railroad, or….or… My father was an eternal
optimist, and always seemed to believe that there was
something better just out of reach. This, along with his
natural wanderlust – so common in the Erwin families –
caused the family to be always on the move.
But I won’t
criticize my dad for his restlessness, for it is a
recognized fact that one of the genes coursing through
the veins of many Erwins is commonly referred to as the
“itchy foot” gene, resulting in an affliction known as
the “itchy foot syndrome XE "Itchy foot syndrome" .” The
effect is most noticeable in the male of the species,
and it seems to make them believe that the grass is
always greener someplace else; in fact, anywhere other
than where they happen to be. Those with the affliction
tend to always wonder where this or that road goes. They
have an urge to follow every trail in the woods and
every little meandering road, just to see what is at the
end. Most don’t actually record their wanderings.
Traveling really isn’t a status thing, but merely a
persistent curiosity that is like an itch that needs to
be constantly scratched.
Hazel had eight children, and no two consecutive births
occurred in the same town. My father was notorious for
his itchy-feet, but perhaps a song by Merle Haggard,
titled Ramblin’ Fever, says it best:
My hat don't hang on
the same nail too long
My ears can't stand to hear the same old song
And I don't leave the highway long enough
To bog down in the mud,
Cause I've got ramblin' fever in my blood…
Donald Dean Erwin (1933-).
As noted above, Odes and Hazel had eight children, and
I’m the youngest. While I’ve managed to put down roots
from time-to-time, I’ve enjoyed the Erwin tendency to
want to look over the next hill, and a curiosity about
where this or that road might lead me. I’ve described
the roads I’ve travelled, and the people and places I’ve
seen, in Donald D. Erwin, My Life as I Remember it.