What will you contribute to family legacy?

Published 2:19 am Saturday, September 24, 2016

Family history is my favorite hobby.

It’s like a treasure hunt searching for my ancestors and finding out where they came from and when they lived.

It’s also interesting helping others look for their roots.

Several years ago, I found out about an historical connection between two families originally from Coffee and Covington County.

If your ancestors’ surname was Cassidy or Snellgrove, families who homesteaded here, then you are related to President Bill Clinton.

Someone helped me find an old cemetery in Covington County where Bill Clinton’s great-great grandparents – George Washington Cassidy (1830 – 1886) and Josephine Snellgrove Cassidy (1827 – 1920) – are buried.

Using a piece of white paper and a pencil, I did a rubbing of George W. Cassidy’s tombstone to read his weathered epitaph. The following words appeared on the paper, “He followed virtue as his truest guide, Lived as a Christian as a Christian died.”

One decision by George and Josephine’s son, James M. Cassidy, changed the course of history. James decided to leave Covington County with his wife, Sarah, around 1900 and move to Nevada County, Ark. Their son, Eldridge Cassidy, married Edith Grisham. The couple had one child named Virginia – Bill Clinton’s mother.

If James Cassidy had stayed in Covington County, his son would likely have married an Alabama girl.

Neither Bill Clinton, nor his mother, would have ever been born.

Each of our choices – such as where to live, whom to marry, how many children we have – change the course of our family history.

For instance, Benjamin Franklin was the 15th child of soap maker Josiah Franklin and his wife, Abiah. What if they had stopped at 14?

Here’s a Biblical example. A woman of ill-repute named Rahab hid Jewish spies in her home in Jericho. She asked them to spare her family’s lives before the Israelites fought the battle of Jericho when the walls of the city fell down. According to tradition, she converted to Judaism and married a man named Salmon. Their great-grandson David fought a giant and became king of Israel. Her one act of kindness changed generations to come. Jesus Christ came from her lineage.

Recently, I’ve been reading a new book by New York Times best-selling author, Mark Batterson, titled Chase the Lion.

He writes, “Every decision or indecision has a ripple effect way beyond our ability to predict. Every cause has an effect, and the effect has a cumulative effect. It also has a hundred unintended consequences that set off a thousand chain reactions.”

Each of us has a circle of influence, be it our family, friends, co-workers and fellow church members. You and I can choose to leave a godly legacy for generations to come by being godly examples.

Psalm 78:1-4 says God’s word that our fathers have told us, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done” (NKJ)


Jan White is an award-winning religion columnist. She can be reached at jwhite@andycable.com