Think your family is not worth tracing? Read on.
A story which appeared in the Atlanta Journal dated January 25, 1886 was entitled “The Haunted Man.” Michael Grady was a hod-carrier in Ireland. To those who do not know, a hod-carrier is a member of a bricklaying team who typically carries ten to twelve bricks for the bricklayer. But he was so poor that his only possessions were a few pieces of furniture, the honest hod (a three-sided box) with which he plied his trade, and a speckled sow which he had been given on St. Patrick’s day by a prosperous farmer. It was all that he and his wife, Bridget, could do to keep the bailiff away from the door. However, things changed when an aunt died and left him several hundred dollars. Michael, his wife and small son (Michael) proceeded to emigrate to America. A year passed, and after Michael had participated too generously in a political campaign, he lay prostrate with a disease. Thinking that he was about to die, called his wife and son to his bedside. To the wife, he gave $200 in money and to Michael he bequeathed the old family sow. After his death, the wife found suitable employment, but the son, then nineteen years of age, rented a sty in the rear of a certain stable where he was employed. His kindness to the sow was duly rewarded when she gave birth to thirteen little piglets. Several months later Michael netted a handsome sum for this brood, and with the cash he had in hand, removed the sow to the suburbs where she soon established a capacious and odorous wallow wherein and gave birth to a litter of eleven piglets. In no time at all, the sty was the residence of forty pigs, and Michael’s circumstances were greatly improved. He leased other stys and wallows until the whole neighborhood seemed to be devoted to the pig industry. Then Michael built a smoke-house and it was not long before his hams and bacon came to be known as the choicest in the market! At this time Michael became enamored with a pretty girl who waited on tables at the corner restaurant. He proposed marriage and she accepted. The following spring he erected a monstrous slaughter-house on the ground previously occupied by the pig stys and from that time on became a prominent figure in the community. “”Now, it was quite natural that, finding him so abundantly provided with gold, society should recognize Michael as its darling. All at once it was discovered that Michael possessed rare qualities of head and heart and that his wife was a lady of exceeding beauty and grace. The newspapers flattered the precious pair and society paid homage in the thousand delicious ways known only to society.” One of his aristocrat friends said that Grady was not a worthy name, and suggested that he change it. Michael was persuaded to pay $500 to a reputable genealogist to trace his lineage. Turns out that Michael Grady was a lineal descendant of a grand old Norman knight, Michel Grayde who came with William the Conqueror into Great Britain! For his valor, the conqueror awarded the knight half of Ireland! Thus, Michael Grady became Michael Grayde, and flaunted the Grayde coat-of-arms, a shield accosted vert, bars gemel purpure, stags counter courtant, a falcon issuant and recursant, a unicorn at gaze, chevron gules and a banner flotant dexter. His boys were sent to Europe for a proper education, and his daughters were reigning belles.