|About The Waite - Inman Tribe
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This Family website is a work in progress. Family research should never be regarded as
complete. There will always be questions requiring answers. Should you be reading this, and
feel you might have some vital piece of family information that ought to be recorded here, or
you find errors, (trust me – there are errors!), please contact me (Tharon Waite Clemens).
Disclaimer, added 3 January, 2014:
Tracing / chasing(!) family history is nothing, if not totally frustrating and completely
crazy-making. That being said, I love it! Don’t judge. Case in point: the continuing saga
of connecting our Inman and Waite family lines to our progenitors and ancestors in England.
Aside from the fact that family events in antiquity were often not even recorded, or have been
subsequently lost…literally generations of family genealogists have complicated the task by
adding unsubstantiated and undocumented possibilities to their family trees, which are then
copied, ad nauseam, by others working in their family trees. I am convinced this is not
usually meant to deceive or ‘prove’ connection to British royalty (yes, I have found these
alleged ‘connections’ in both the Inman and Waite family lines!), but most likely just an
attempt to find some connection for further research. The problem is that any such ‘research’,
based on this corrupted and speculative information, it is only as good (read: factual) as the
sources from which it was derived. And before anyone tags me as ‘holier than thou’, let me
hereby confess that I have been guilty of these same genealogical sins! But, in repentance,
here is the disclaimer: ANY connection with specific persons, long dead, in England, or any
other country, is purely speculative and unsubstantiated!
How did Abednego Inman and his brothers Shadrach and Meshach arrive in Colonial America? Were
they born in Colonial America…as were their ‘suspected parents’? Or, did they arrive on a ship
from England, because they were incompatible with some step-mother (as one historical source
suggests)? I have absolutely no clue, but I definitely look forward to asking my 3G-grandpa
Abednego, when I get to heaven!!! The sole reason I am leaving this information in our tree is
because new records are constantly being discovered. Further amends: I am working on adding
source documentations to all the records in this tree…no small task, with over 1,600 records
and the fact that much of the information on the current generations is from personal
knowledge. Please stay tuned… and thanks for your understanding.
I am currently researching the following branches of our family tree: Allphin, Ashmore,
Barclay, Bernauer, Blaylock, Brooks, Buckner, Bullock, Butler, Clemens, Crosby, DeLouise,
Doherty, Dougherty, Daugherty, Dominguez, Eaton, Espinosa, Farnett, Ford, Foster, Goforth,
Gregory, Hardesty, James, Knight, Lazenby, Levinsohn, Lynch, McWhorter, Mathis, Medd, Mudge,
Neal, Nicholas, Pledger, Preston, Robertson, Ross, Sanchez, Scholer, Scruggs, Shear, Sparler,
Spharler, Thomas, Turingan, VanUnen, Walker, Watson, Wellmeier, Wenzel, Wollmartz, and Wooters,
as well as ongoing research on Inman and Waite, of course.
'There are two lasting gifts we can give our children -
One is roots - the other, wings'.
How did this site come to be, you may be wondering... Well, apparently ‘The Genealogy Bug’
bites someone in our family about every generation or two. At least, it has been that way for
as long as I am able to recall. My Great-aunt, Fern Waite, was a member of a genealogy society
in Chattanooga, Tennessee, when I was a small child in the mid 1940’s. I enjoyed listening to
her discuss her adventures in tracing the Waite family history, when we would visit with her on
Sunday afternoons. I remember being fascinated that she had traced them all the way back to
three Waite brothers who had come to America from England. Strangely enough, the Inman side of
our family is descended from three brothers, who also immigrated the America from England.
I had known from a very early age that my ancestors had fought in the American Civil War – on
both sides! This has always been very schizophrenic time in our nation’s history for me, for
that reason... a feeling that somehow my internal allegiance was divided, as I studied American
history in school.
As an adult, I have been actively searching for our family’s ancestral roots for the past
thirty years or more. The Inman family, my mother’s side, was much easier to track down. Mom
and I worked diligently on it during the early 1990’s. She recalled some information about the
Waite side, but the trail ended abruptly with my paternal GG-grandfather, Henry A. Waite, who
just seemed to have disappeared. Little did I realize that literally, he had. He was my
‘brick wall’ until December of 2009, when my research finally lead me to two family trees
online, only posted in November of 2009, which mentioned him. In reviewing the documentation
attached to one of them, I finally understood.
Henry's parents, Joseph and Mary Ann Waite moved their family by covered wagon, from Norwich,
Chenango Co., NY, to Walker Twp., Kent Co., MI, in 1850. (While I was in Michigan recently for
my 50-yr class reunion, I located their property from the original plat map book, and probably
their house, which is still occupied!) At the time of the move, Henry was 5 years old.
At age 18, Henry married Matilda 'Mattie' Claire Shear on 12 December 1863. Eighteen days
later, he enlisted in Co. L, 1 Regt., Michigan Engineers & Mechanics at Grand Rapids, Kent Co.,
Michigan, on 30 December 1863. He was mustered in as Private on 8 January 1864, at Grand
Island, Michigan, by Capt. Norman Bailey. Mattie gave birth to their only child, Clarence
Henry, on 6 August 1864. Sadly, on 15 December 1864, at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in the battle
of Stones River, Henry was captured and then confined at the Andersonville Stockade in Georgia
until early April, 1865.
Henry's short life ended at the age of 20, abruptly and tragically aboard the Steamboat
Sultana, about ten miles north of Memphis, Tennessee, at about 2 AM on April 27, 1865, when
three of the boat’s four boilers exploded. The boat, designed to accommodate 375 passengers,
literally groaning under the weight of more than six times that number, sunk in flames in the
cold, dark waters of the Mississippi River, carrying at least 1,700 of the more than 2,400 on
board to their deaths. Most of those killed were returning Union soldiers, like Henry Waite,
who had already survived the horrors, diseases and deprivation of the infamous Andersonville
Stockade as prisoners of war. Henry's body was never recovered.
The Sultana is still ranked as the worst maritime disaster in our nation’s history, as far more
lives were lost than even on the Titanic. An excellent book on the Sultana disaster is
“Sultana” by Alan Huffman, published by Harper-Collins in 2009.’ There is also a link to the
OPB History Detectives Special Investigation of the SS Sultana Disaster just added on the right
under Useful Links.
During their less than 4 weeks together, if Mattie and Henry had not conceived Clarence Henry,
my Great-grandfather, our branch of the Waite family would have died in the explosion of the
Sultana…and none of us or our children and grandchildren would have ever been born. God is
amazing and has a plan for each one of us!