Horse Thieves and Gambler Descendants

Main Piece:


The following was recorded from the Participant. They are marked as LG. I am marked as DG.


LG: One story is my dad used to swear we were descended from horse thieves and, um, gamblers. He had all kinds of tales and he would just swear that all-that the relatives had gotten kicked out of Appalachia? No, Georgia area, the Georgia area, and then the Appalachia area. That must have been Mississippi river because they were supposed to be river gamblers and horse thieves. He also swore that his dad was Jewish, which is how he got the name, but everyone else says no he wasn’t. So I’m not sure.”




The conversation was recorded while sitting on a patio in Glendora, CA. The sun is setting and a group of us are sitting around all sharing folklore. The context for the narrative is that it’s told to the children in the family, usually during bedtime.




The interviewee is a 54-year-old mother of two, who is married. She grew up in Los Angeles, before moving around, and finally ending up back in Los Angeles. Her and her parents had a very tight-knit relationship, and she comes from a religious background.




I enjoyed hearing this piece of narrative folklore because most of the other folklore I’ve captured has been part of a larger scheme or culture, whereas this one was very individual to the family that created it. Additionally, it was one of those pieces were it could be true, but the interviewee didn’t believe it to be so, which is what made it folklore, instead of just history. It was interesting to see how the attitude surrounding the piece can make or break the folkloristics of the item.