VOL. 130 | NO. 103 | Thursday, May 28, 2015
Anson VII Has Arrived
VIC FLEMING | Special to The Daily News
My great-great-great-great grandfather Elijah Fleming had eight kids and no middle name.
According to an essay by a distant cousin of mine, five of the eight left their South Carolina homes “the night the stars fell.”
On Nov. 12, 1833, what later would be dubbed the “Leonid Meteor Shower” sent a quarter million “stars” falling in a nine-hour stretch – this phenomenon’s most intense production in history, it is said. These Flemings relocated to Madison County, Miss.
One of them was George Anson Fleming (1800-1882), my great-great-great-great uncle. In 1829, he married Mary Malinda Moore (1813-1838), with whom he had five children before her death, not long after their move to south Mississippi. In January 1840, George married Sarah Ann Dear (1820-ca. 1850), with whom he also had five offspring.
Uncle George is the first Fleming family member to have the name Anson. Why Anson? There were no ancestral relatives by that name. Across the pond, however, there was an aristocratic family by that name. It included Admiral of the Fleet George Anson (1697-1762), a war hero credited with sailing around the world and writing a book about it. See Project Gutenberg’s “Anson’s Voyage Round the World,” by Richard Walter (2005).
My gut tells me that Uncle George was named for Admiral Anson, who was a worldwide celebrity. And who, by the way, died childless. His sister Janette married Sambrooke Adams and bore a son, George Adams (1731-1789), who served in Parliament from 1770 to 1789. And, in 1773, changed his last name to Anson, his mom’s maiden name.
Among George Anson Fleming’s children are the names Susan, Elizabeth, and Catherine (the names of my wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law). George passed along his middle name to his youngest son, John (1848-1922).
One of George’s three half-brothers, Robert Boyd Walker Fleming (1795-1865), my great-great-grandfather, and his first wife, Armadilla Ross (1812-1850), named their third child Elijah Anson Fleming (1839-1918). Who, with his wife Margaret Virginia Riley (1841-1882), begat another Elijah Anson Fleming (1875-1958), who in 1910 would marry Lura McKay (1882-1953).
Why my dad (1913-1992) was officially known as Elijah Anson Fleming Jr. is a mystery. Seems that he was the third, “Trey,” Elijah Three Sticks, perhaps. When he and mom (Norfleet Cranford Fleming, 1917-2002) hung Anson on me, I became generation five to tote it. My daughter represents the sixth generation, and is the only female to have the honor.
Earlier this year, in south Mississippi, a seventh-generation Anson came into the world via my youngest niece. This Anson’s other two names, VanBuren and Walton, hold up well historically, too.
On Mother’s Day weekend, I welcomed Anson into the world, albeit a tad belatedly. I stopped along the way to see the Mischke twins of southeast Arkansas (great nieces Amelia and Sloan, now six years of age). Between one place and another, I met up with a couple of genealogically-minded sisters, who are also descended from Elijah Fleming.
More next week.
Vic Fleming, a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law, can be reached at email@example.com.