I often use family names in my books.
Drusilla Jane (aka DJ) is named after my great-great grandmother, Drusilla Jane Harris, and HER grandmother, Drucilla Walker. Drucilla Walker and her husband Moses Harris, as near as I’ve been able to trace, moved to Marion County, Alabama, in the early 1800s from the York, S.C., area. Their son Robert, my ggg-grandfather, named his eldest daughter Drusilla after his mother, but changed the spelling.
I’d like to say this was a conscious choice, but after doing a lot of genealogical research on this area, it’s more likely that they just couldn’t spell. LOL.
I don’t have any pictures of either Drucilla or Drusilla, unfortunately, but Drusilla is buried near my grandparents in Marion County.
The name Jaco is taken from my gggg-grandfather John Jaco. He lived in eastern Tennessee in the late 1700s with my gggg-grandmother Mary Jane. At some point, he disappeared from the census files, leaving Mary Jane and their seven or eight children, one of the youngest of whom was an 8-year-old boy, John.
Mary Jane was an interesting character. There is some family lore that says John deserted her and the children, and others say he died, but for whatever reason he disappeared and she moved all those children to southern Illinois…with the man who owned the adjoining farm in Tennessee. Only problem was, the neighbor was married to someone else. Later, in Illinois, she lost that guy somewhere and “married” yet another guy.
As for my ggg-gf John, he was 10 when they moved to Illinois and the first thing his mom did was sell him into indentured slavery—I don’t know how much money exchanged hands. From age 10 to 17, he worked long hours for a local landowner in exchange for room and board. At 17, his “owner” released him from the bond, gave him a horse, and sent him on his way…to join the Union Army.
I don’t have a photo of John, but here is his cousin Jeremiah, all decked out in his Civil War blues, from about 1862-4.
John Jaco served in the same infantry unit as a guy from Alabama named Jonathan Sandlin. (Yeah, that name looks familiar, eh?) Many of the people in the Northwest corner of Alabama supported the north during the Civil War; one county, Winston, even declared itself a “free state” and seceded from the Confederacy. So most of my ancestors lived in the south and fought for the north.
Anyway, Jonathan Sandlin and John Jaco became buddies and, after the war, John Jaco went to Alabama and stayed a while with Jonathan’s family. There, he met a woman named Mary Jane Williams, they married, had two daughters, and then he promptly died before the youngest daughter was born. That was my great-grandmother, Ida Jaco. She was raised by Jonathan Sandlin along with his own children, including his son Rand, short for Randolph. (Yeah, that name looks familiar too!). When they were of age, Rand and Ida got married—my great-grandparents.
Here are Rand and Ida. He has the biggest ears on the planet and she was a stringbean. This photo is from around 1900.
And there you have the origins of DJ Jaco, with a little Susannah Sandlin and Quince Randolph thrown in for good measure!