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It occurs to me that I have not written much about my Painters lately. These are the folks who arrived in Saskatchewan ’round about 1903 from Missouri, possibly with a side trip to Oklahoma first (family rumours, no proof as yet). Before Missouri they came from Virginia, or more correctly, what is today West Virginia. That was about 1837. Prior to Virginia…well now, there’s a mystery. It seems likely, from perusing kinfolk’s research, that they may have come from Pennsylvania in the late 1700s, and prior to that, from the area we now know as Germany.
Somewhere in there, and it seems to be isolated to just their time in Virginia, some of the family used the surname Bender instead of Painter. I wish I could find out why, but so far, no idea. We do know that George registered his marriage to Sarah Smith under both George Bender and George Painter. That was in 1809. Once this George and Sarah took their entire family to Missouri, they all used Painter. So it is, to me, a curious thing.
Another curious thing is how all their children, save one, were literate. Well, rather the fact that their son Samuel H. could not sign his name (he used an “X” to sign documents) is the actual curious fact. Now I can’t prove or disprove that he knew how to read of course. It appears that the other siblings could all sign their name and presumably read as well. So perhaps he was left-handed and writing posed a challenge for him. I’m not sure being left-handed carried the same stigma in Virginia and Missouri as it did in other places, but it does seem to have been universally frowned upon. In any case, I do know that further generations had their fair share of left-handers and I, oddly enough, skate like a left-hander (spin and jump rotations done “backwards”). I tell folks I’m left-footed…lol. Well, anyways, there’s a theory about poor ole Samuel H. Painter. Don’t you just wish sometimes you could sit down at the dining room table with these ancestors and have a chat?