My outlaw heritage

I’ve been researching my family history, spurned by the recent passing of my grandfather on my father’s side. We inherited boxes of photographs going back to the 19th century, including a photo of my great-great-great-grandfather, Alfred Davis. My mom decided to do some research and came across this little bit of information:

That’s right. My great-great-great-grandfather “died drunk in jail” and was survived by his wife, Henrietta Outlaw! Good Lord, now I understand my fixation on old country music, Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings. Outlaw is in my blood!

It was also interesting to learn that Alfred’s father, Robert Davis, served in Company A of the 5th regiment of the S.C. Volunteers (Confederate States of America). Also, as best as we can tell, his grandfather seems to have been a fairly successful farmer and, unfortunately, owner of several slaves. So, I have a true Southern heritage, sins and all.



  1. I’ve discovered a few “outlaws” while researching my own family history, Kevin. Some of them were sent to Australia “at Her Majesty’s pleasure”! It strikes me that discoveries like these are actually a good illustration of original sin (esp. if we think Biblically in terms of families rather than as individualistic Westerners)

    • Yes, I had an eerie feeling…a sense of shame even…when I learned that I had relatives who owned slaves. Likewise, nearly everyone in my family supported segregation prior to the civil rights movement. I know fully well how culture and piety can be merged into an idol, not much different from Germany leading up to the World Wars.

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