When Goats Fly

One of the Young Single Adults in Shanghai recently talked about her experiences in doing family history research. In learning about her ancestors, she had learned stories about their lives that made her enjoy and appreciate her heritage much more. One of the stories she had learned involved a flying goat. Here’s what I recall from her story, based on my notes.

Her great grandfather, W.C. Bowman, was a miller working in a saw mill in the United States next to a river. The mill was fairly open, making it easy for the goats in the neighborhood to wander in, seeking a handout of food. The goats would occasionally make it up to the third floor of the mill where her grandfather worked. Company policy dictated how to handle the goats when they got up to the third floor, where I guess they would have been a problem. Instead of leading a goat all the way down the stairs to get them back outside, the mill workers would take the goats to the window and, uh, gently toss them into the river below. They apparently survived this process. Today, of course, we have different ways of dealing with such problems. At least the more advanced mills do.

One day a few women were on the shore of the river near the mill having a picnic. One of the women looked up and to her horror saw a man at a window of the mill take a poor little goat and toss the creature into the river. The inhumane brute! She marched over to the mill, went up to the third floor, found the guilty man, and gave him a piece of her mind. As she was chastising the man for his inhumane treatment of animals, the man listened patiently. Before he had a chance to explain that he was just following company policy and give any other explanations for what they were doing, he couldn’t help but notice what a charming and beautiful woman she was. He then said a few things that calmed her down, chatted a little more and asked if they could get together for lunch or something, and not long after that Emma became Emma Bowman, the great grandmother of one of our great Young Single Adults in Shanghai.

Stories from our ancestors help us know and love them better, and help us understand who we are. Sometimes our stories involve the most unlikely of events such as flying goats that lead to romance and marriage. How wonderful when they are recorded and shared. The incredibly rich resource, FamilySearch.org, now allows you to post and share your family history stories and photos for other relatives to access, ensuring that these precious items will be archived and preserved over time. Don’t wait until pigs or goats fly before heading over there and uploading your stories, photos, and more.

Author: Jeff Lindsay

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