Diagram and Picture Forms
Vernon M. Herron
Family history can be told in many ways, among which are the following forms: diagram, picture and narrative. The diagram form shows line relationships of individuals with vital statistics; the picture form records images; while the narrative form reveals facts, dates, statistics, activities, personalities and is told in a story form.
Hanging on my top floor wall are three dimensions of family history; a hand carved red oak clock, representing “time”; a glass-framed mural, depicting ten generations, showing line relationships to others in the Herron family; and nine picture frames of individuals and group activities, germane to the Herron family’s history. These three dimensions are symmetrically arranged to say:
TIME—UNVEILS THE PAST—TO CONNECT THE FUTURE
Time represents the research period. It extends from 1795, the approximate birth year of Jane Herron, known as the 1st generation, to the birth year of Asia Truesdale in 1999, known as the 10th generation. This time period covered approximately 204 years. It also revealed:
o Richard and Minerva Herron as the first known structured Herron family of African descent in the Piedmont area of the Tar Heel state in 1870.
o A description of the Pre-Civil War period for our ancestors as well as mirrored their post emancipation years.
o A discovery of 415 known descendants of Richard Herron.
o A genealogical summary of ten generations
o A history of the Family Reunions and the family shield
o The longest first name: Waddell, Michael, James, Lawrence, Keenan Herron.
o The oldest living descendant; Brown Herron, born 1897
o The youngest descendant; Jan Asia Truesdale, born 1999.
Unveils the Past
This period of family history reveals ten unique discoveries:
1. It gives the origin of the family name.
Like most enslaved African Americans, the captives were denied the use of their original (African) name. They were assigned a given name while assuming the surname of the enslaved owner. The record shows that in his will probated 1846, John Herron willed to his wife and subsequently, to his children including his son Isaac, person of his land held in enslavement. My great grandfather, Richard Herron was a part of Isaac Herron’s, M.D. labor force. Thus, this African American family assumed the Euro-American family surname—Herron.
2. It is a tool for the study of “enslavement.”
3. It defines Richard Herron’s early descendants not as “slaves” but as “enslaved captives”.
4. It shows that this family history parallels America’s history: local, state and national.
5. It reveals that the Herron’s ancestors contributed to the birth, rise and growth of the Catawba Presbytery, USA.
6. It reviews a statistical summary of Richard Herron’s known descendants which includes 10 generations, 408 line descendants plus their 180 spouses, totaling 588.
7. It portrays a growth in the concept of family: From 5 to 408.
8. It records that family members run the gamut in services, occupations, and professions, including Mel Watt, US Congressman representing the NC 12th congressional district.
9. It restates that the city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, NC take their names after Queen Charlotte Sophia (1744-1818) of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (Germany). There is the notion that Queen Charlotte’s mother was an African. Thus, since the wife of King George III had African blood in her vein, collateral relation is possible.
10. It teaches that the family’s shield motto, “The heron (bird) flies over the high cloud,” is reflected in the family spirit to succeed.
To Connect the Future
Nine picture frames reveal family members in action connecting the past with the future.
Frame 1 shows Vernon Herron preaching at the church of the enslaved master, The Steele Creek Presbyterian Church in 1998.
Frame 2 shows Vernon Herron is greeted by friend Ralph Neely at The Steele Creek Presbyterian Church 1998.
Frame 3 shows the descendants of the enslaved and the enslaved master, Vernease Herron Miller and Ashby Harbin worshipping together at The Steele Creek Presbyterian Church in 1998.
Frame 4 shows three great grandchildren of Richard Herron as Samuel, Jessie and Vernon in worship 1997.
Frame 5 shows United States Congressman Melvin Watt, North Carolina 12th Congressional District and great, great grandson of Richard Herron.
Frame 6 shows the first family reunion at Charlotte, N. C. 1979.
Frame 7 shows the third family reunion at King of Prussia, PA 1988.
Frame 8 shows the sixth family reunion crews at Los Angeles, CA 1996.
Frame 9 shows the fifth family reunion at Bushkill, PA 1992.
That’s Family History, friends in three forms! Right On!