The Anna Logan Diaries

The Anna Logan Diaries

The first time I felt her pride in her family’s lineage came with the receipt of a handwritten letter from my mother-in-law, Jacqueline Logan Kenney Quarles. I called her Jackie. She wrote to me in the sixth month of my pregnancy in the year 1999, as my husband Bob and I were contemplating what we would name our first child, a child we already knew would be a boy. Jackie’s letter was a clear advocation for the name Logan. She included a long list of cousins and second cousins who already bore the name Logan either as their first, their middle or even their second middle name on their birth certificates and she ended her heartfelt lobbying with a mention that my husband, her youngest son, was also named Robert Logan. It was simply inconceivable to her for us to entertain any other names. The Sarahs and the Anns were numerous throughout as well, with both being the family’s girl versions of a sacred name. I understood her desperation. It was deeply important to her, anyone could see that, but I couldn’t be swayed. In my stubbornness, I felt homage to the ancestors had already been appropriately paid – like, to death –  and Bob and I opted instead to pair the already-decided Benjamin with a more modern Fisher and our minds were simply already made up. Jackie was defiant with us at first, but eventually acquiesced and came to love Ben endlessly anyway, even without any remnant of a family name.

I clocked almost a decade with G’ma Jackie after that, getting to know her more and more over the years. Their home was a museum of artifacts to her distinguished family, everything from newspaper clippings to the shoe buckle of Governor Spotswood, an item that impressed even me once I allowed her to explain to me that he was up the line of her people, people who turned out to be colonial Virginia aristocracy who shared blood with none other than Rebecca (Pocahontas) Rolfe.

In spite of the fact that my child had already been named, I started paying more attention to her stories after that. She could drop surnames like Dandridge, Washington, Jefferson and Lee with complete authority and upon my request, she produced a diary that proved every unbelievable thing she told me to be absolutely true.

To go back and do it again, I admit it: I might have been smart to choose different names for Ben (although I found a Benjamine in the lineage!) because this family’s history is incredible. To do it again, I might have chosen, oh, I don’t know, maybe Basil Logan. What if Ben’s name were Basil? Hmmm…

The matriarch Jackie Quarles with Ben, 2004, and her son Bob Quarles with our son Ben, 2004

Anyway, Recollections of My Life by Anna Clayton Logan was Jackie’s family treasure, a priceless typed diary of her astute Great Grandmother. It is an honor for me to have a copy of my own, and I think (and hope) the newer generations of Jackie’s extensive network of eight grandchildren, eight (and still counting) great grandchildren, and dozens of nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews who read of their distinguished family members will be as proud to be in this family as I know Jackie was.

Ben will thank me when he’s older.

The stories are separated into a chronological sequence as follows and will be released on the 26th of every month, in honor of Jackie’s July 27 birthday, starting November 26th, 2017 and continuing all throughout 2018. Sign up to receive the latest excerpts!

November 26, 2017 * Tully Lake Park, New York, An Introduction

November 26, 2017 * The Dandridge Family

December 26, 2017 * The Girl from Dungeness

January 26, 2018 * Boarding School

February 26, 2018 * The Death of Aunt Milly

March 26, 2018 * The Red Letter Christmas Party

April 26, 2018 * The Nomination of Abraham Lincoln

May 26, 2018 * George Goes to War

June 26, 2018 * The Death of Little Joe

July 26, 2018 * Home

August 26, 2018 * Seven Episcopalians

September 26, 2018 * Baby Mollie

October 26, 2018 * Baby Phillip

November 26, 2018 * The Golden Wedding

December 26, 2018 * 1893, An Accumuluation of Horrors

The Diary of Sarah Logan Kenney

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