About 30 years ago I remember my dad taking us to visit my grandpa Patterson's sister, Nellie Patterson Mason in north GA. My grandpa had already died a few years before that in 1975. Aunt Nellie was in her 70's already, but her mind was still sharp.
Being that I was always interested in family stories, and that my name is Wesley, Aunt Nellie was reminded of a pair of brothers she remembered visiting on occasion as a child. They were her 2nd cousins, although at the time she didn't remember exactly how they were related. But what stood out to her, and to me too, was the fact these brothers were called "East" and "West".
I'm sure that conversation was also in the context of her daddy, Elijah Patterson. "Lije" as he was called, had a twin named "Lishe". Lije and Lishe also had four more brothers named Lumpkin, Lewis, Alonzo and Bunyan. Plus, one of their six sisters was called "Jeff".
Over the years many a chuckle escaped my breath when these names were remembered. Being a city boy I was not accustomed to hearing names like this. But as the years went by I became more interested in finding out who these brothers were. East and West. I assumed they were Pattersons, but I couldn't remember. I assumed they were my cousins too, but I wasn't sure. So the fond memory slowly became a mystery that had to be unraveled.
About 8 or 10 years ago, while updating one of my Patterson branches with further details, I tripped across a record that indicated one of my cousins named John E. Patterson, was actually John East Patterson. So I began to dig further. I found another record that indicated his younger brother James, was actually James W. Patterson.
I dug more.
Then I found it. James W. was actually James Wesley Patterson, and he was called "West" Patterson. His older brother John East Patterson was actually called "East". I found them!
East and West Patterson were born in 1861 and 1870 respectively, in Fannin Co GA. They and their other siblings were children of George Washington Patterson and Margaret Ownbey. George was the son of John Patterson Jr and Sallie Hicks.
Aunt Nellie and I descend from John Jr's brother George Patterson, and his son William Harden "Bill" Patterson, and his son Lije Patterson, previously mentioned. So Lije and Lishe were 2nd cousins of East and West. That would make Aunt Nellie 2nd cousins once removed, which in turn would make me 2nd cousins thrice removed.
Mystery solved. But still a chuckle.