The Three Slack Brothers – Who Were They?

A couple of months ago I met up with a cousin who had some very interesting items. Aside from family photographs that I had never seen, he also had a letter from my Great, Great Grandfather, Jessie Slack. It passes down the oral history of our family starting with Benage Slack.

According to the letter Benage was born in 1695. He and his wife had three sons who came over to America from England in the early part of the 1700’s and went to work in the shipyards of Philadelphia. One of the brothers went south while the other two remained in the north. The two brothers never knew what became of their southbound brother. From what I can make out the brothers names were William, Philip and Daniel.

In the letter Jessie relates a story about a day in 1917 when he and his wife Emma went to a new store. Emma picked out a new dress and paid for it with a check that Jessie had signed. When the owner say his name he called out to his wife whose maiden name was Slack. Jessie relates the conversation they shared about their common ancestors. It’s here that Jessie says the names of the three brothers were William, Philip and Daniel.

In my research I have come across the names of William and Philip in records I obtained from Canadian sources; some but not all regarding the United Empire Loyalists. So I am beginning to develop a theory that Daniel is the brother who went south, William and Philip the brothers who stayed in the north until after the Revolution when they migrated to Canada.

It’s just one of many leads I have to follow. With every new discovery I make I find myself with several more clues to questions I didn’t even know to ask. But I guess that is why I like the personal history of tracing my family tree – it’s not events but people I learn about, and people are always more interesting.

Update to a Surprising Find

Not too long ago I posted a story about how I had come across letters from the civil war in some of my mother’s old things and how I had no idea how my family connected to the author of the letters. In researching this little mystery I’ve discovered that what I have are not copies of the letters themselves, but copies of the letters made by the person who holds the actual letters.
Mike found the letters in a manner similar to me except that his mother was alive when he found the letters. Unfortunately he never got around to asking his mother why the family had the letters. The letters are, as you might expect, fragile and Mike is reluctant to do anything with them except keep them in an acid free environment and away from light so that the writing doesn’t fade any further than it has.
Since talking to Mike I’ve made some progress in tracking down the family of Joseph Thompson. Joseph joined the Illinois 38th Infantry with his brother John in 1861. Joseph was wounded severely early on in the war and spent most of it in a hospital. Most of the letters we have are from John, but John didn’t survive the war. I’ve made significant progress in tracking down Joseph’s descendants and finally found someone who is a living descendant. I sent them a note via last night and I hope to hear from them soon, and maybe then I can put to rest the mystery of how Mike and I connect to these letters.