By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer
Learning about her ancestors has been a joy for Welba Dorsey of Belton.
'The value in doing genealogical research is in the enjoyment and leaving a sense of heritage for your children,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'It has helped me know more about myself.'
Her work has also reinforced the lessons she learned in childhood.
'I was raised with the phrase, 'You should behave like a southern lady,'' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'With everything I learned about my ancestors, I have a better idea of what a southern lady is. She is polite, well-mannered, strong and capable, and she takes pride in her family and keepsakes.' Early Colonist Joana White, a relative through the line of Mrs. Dorsey's father, was killed in a 1796 Cherokee Indian raid at Long Cane, Va.
'In the program, I talk about how she was killed and the fate of her family,' Mrs. Dorsey said.
Her son put his pregnant wife and infant on a horse bound for a nearby fort, so he could stay and protect his daughters, ages 3 and 5. The man and the 3-year-old were killed.
'The wife gave birth mid-trip and made it to safety with two babies in her lap,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'The 5-year-old (Ann Calhoun) was held captive by the Indians for 12 years.'
She was found at the age of 17 after her family heard reports of a blue-eyed girl living with Indians.
'Reports say that Ann was a 'loving but odd' girl after her time with the Indians,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'She liked to eat lizards and go out in the woods from time to time after she was rescued.'
Elizabeth McCorkel, a relative through Mrs. Dorsey's mother's line, was the wife of the Rev. Archibald McCorkel, a circuit preacher and soldier in the Revolutionary War.
'Her husband was away from home a lot,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'He'd fight the war in three-month spurts, taking a couple of weeks off here and there to tend to his churches.'
So this program tells what it was like for an independent preacher's wife to witness the rise of America.
'I talk about life at that time,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'And the American identity.'
Born in 1820, Martha Henrietta Flinn is Mrs. Dorsey's great-great-grandmother. Her two sons, Alfred and Charley, fought in the Civil War.
'They were fighting for the rights of the Southern states,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'It's recorded that they were against slavery.'
Alfred died in 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia. Charley survived to become Mrs. Dorsey's great-grandfather.
So in the program of 'The Confederate Lady,' Mrs. Dorsey talks about the horrors of war and the grief of a mother.
She reads excerpts of letters the two sons wrote to their mother while at war.