Who Do You Think You Are? Cabot Traces Family History - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

Who Do You Think You Are? Cabot Traces Family History

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Cabot and Grandmother Elsie Cabot and Grandmother Elsie
Cabot's Grandmother Elsie Cabot's Grandmother Elsie
Annie Oakley Annie Oakley

With the help of Ancestry.com, NBC4 has looked back into the family history of Jym Ganahl, Colleen Marshall and Mike Jackson.

Next up on the journey is NBC4's Cabot Rea who said he knew pieces of his past, but that Ancestry.com tied a lot of the links together.

Cabot's father was just one generation away from Birmingham, England, so he asked Ancestry.com to focus on his mother's side.
Among the discoveries, Cabot was told that his maternal great-great-grandfather was John Matthews from Gallia County, who was a union volunteer in the Civil War. While a lung ailment kept him off the front lines, Matthews operated a horse-drawn ambulance throughout the war.

But that's not what impressed researcher Michelle Ercan Brack the most.

"Do you see how many children he had? Whoa," Brack said.

Matthews and his wife Lydia had 16 children, putting them to work on the family farm.

Cabot's other maternal great-great-grandfather was David Keller, who lived with his wife, Pearl, in Darke County in the Bradford area in the late 1800s.

Frequently, the family would be visited by David's mother's first cousin, riding in on her white horse, then putting him to shame when they went hunting.

Cabot's first cousin four times removed is Phoebe Ann Moses, also known as Annie Oakley.

"We did take a look at that and it appears you were right," Brack told Cabot.

But as compelling as those lives were, Brack said it was Annie's first cousin twice removed whose story went deep to her heart.

"The character that stands out to me was Elsie," she said.

Elsie, Cabot's grandmother, was born in 1903 in Darke County. She was one of six children to tobacco farmer David and Pearl Keller.

Brack said her research indicated that the family moved around a lot – very likely as tenant farmers.

"This is not what she wanted for herself," Brack said of Elsie.

In fact, Elsie went to nursing school in Dayton in the mid-1920s, and then made a break to Columbus around 1929 to start her life.

She obtained a job as a nurse at the old Ohio Penitentiary. An inmate gave her a ring in 1930 craft from prison toothbrushes. Elsie eventually gave it to her little sister Alice.

That same year, Elsie met a postal worker by the name of Marshall Matthews, grandson of the aforementioned John Matthews.

Ancestry.com found the marriage license, showing in June 1931 that Elsie married Marshall Matthews, and on March 19, 1932, Cabot's mother Elizabeth was born.

But it was the depths of the Great Depression about a year later when the Elsie experienced an almost inconceivable double tragedy.

Watch the rest of her story in the video clip above.

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