essays and articles by david g allen

It's Time for a New Year!


After several years of intensive research, I have finally completed my genealogy study. It has been an amazing experience in learning who my ancestors were. Some were notable, most were just regular folks, and a few obviously were scoundrels. I thought I’d pass along biographical sketches of a few of the more interesting ancestors in my family tree.


The Admiral is my only known ancestor of French origin. He was declared a hero during the Battle of New Orleans by Andrew Jackson. During the battle, Captain LaRoquefort sailed into New Orleans with a hold full of bananas. His ship was a month late arriving at port and the bananas had ripened to a rich brown color. But all was not lost as he directed his crew to spread the bananas on the streets of the French Quarter, thus causing the British soldiers to slip and fall during their advance. Jackson awarded a field promotion to Admiral for my great-great-grandfather LaRoquefort. 

Based on further research, I also learned that France built the Maginot Line along the arc of a banana to honor the exploits of Admiral LaRoquefort. 


He was an itinerant cobbler from Exmoor in Devonshire. He arrived at Boston in 1693 claiming to be the sole heir of Lord Bartelby Pecksniff D’Urberville, Twelfth Earl of Exmoor. It turned out that he was the illegitimate son of Lord Bartleby and Miss Tess Mountoffen. She worked in the Lord’s castle as a pastry maker and was renowned for her meat pie concoctions. 

“R. Q.”, as he was known in Massachusetts Bay Colony court records, convinced many Boston merchants that he was the scion of royalty and ran up quite a tab before being sentenced to Debtor’s Prison in London. Before leaving Boston, he had managed to impregnate my great-great-great-grandmother, Dorcas Micawber.


First of my ancestors to settle in what is now West Virginia, he served in the Revolution and was given land in lieu of wages for military service. As was the custom in that age, he was required to clear the land and plant corn to prove his homestead claim. He then turned his interests to distilling his crop which allowed him to increase his landholdings. He married Peg(gotty) M’Choakumchild and they had thirteen children that lived to adulthood. 


A fourth cousin, I include him because of his literary skills. He went west in the 1870’s and wrote famous short stories such as: The Mule of the Baskervilles, A Tale of Three Cities, The Casket of Lemonjello, and The Pit and the Metronome. For two decades, Edgar Allen was a newspaper reporter and wrote obituaries for the Tombstone Gazette. 

Here’s hoping that your 2005 helped you find your roots. 

Dave Allen




Copyright 1990-2005  David G. Allen