My family heritage is primarily of Irish, English, Dutch, German, South African, and Native American descent. Beginning with my surname, Salkeld, which means “the willow by the spring“, Salkelds originated through the Vikings and Saxons when they invaded and settled in England in villages now known as Little Salkeld and Great Salkeld. The Salkeld surname dates all the way back to the year 900 A.D. in Cumberland, England. The earliest known Salkeld is Nicholas de Salkeld, who lived during the reign (1100-1135) of King Henry I. Six Salkelds were knighted in England; one of whom was Sir Richard Salkeld of Corby. There are 28 known generations of Salkelds from Cumberland, England to people living in the United States.
My great great great grandfather, George Salkeld, emigrated from England to Cape Town, South Africa sometime in the late 1800s. Samuel Salkeld, George’s son, my great-great grandfather, worked in a men’s clothing store in Cape Town, South Africa. Samuel’s son, Alexander, was my great grandfather. He worked with heavy machinery (bulldozers, etc.) and was a sports-hunter in the bushveld. He also raced ostriches. My grandfather, Ian Lawrence Salkeld, was born in Cape Town. In his early twenties, he moved to America in order to get an education and work for General Motors. Ian met Mary Muller and became a naturalized American citizen when he married her. My father, Ian’s son, David Salkeld, was the first Salkeld of our family to be born in America.
There is not a lot of information on my dad’s mother’s side. Lloyd Muller, my great grandpa, was an engineer for General Motors. His father, Samuel Muller, was blind and could not work. So, his wife, Mary Catherine Hardboldt, ran a dry goods store and was a telegrapher in Colorado, as well.
My mother’s family is Harrahs and Ashworths. Her father, Jerry Harrah, came from an English-Irish descent, which can be traced back to County Cork, Ireland through my great-great-great-great grandfather, William Donohoe. Donohoe is the maiden name of my great grandmother. He came to America in 1852 with his five year old son, George Edward Donohoe, my great grandmother’s grandfather. William settled in Craig County, Virginia. During the Civil War, William, his brother Thomas, son George, and 16 others, traveled to Kanawha County (Charleston), West Virginia to avoid their sons, including George, being drafted into the Confederate Army. My great grandfather’s Harrah’s family was from Beech Run, West Virginia. His mother, Runa Walker, was half Cherokee Indian. At some point, my great grandpa Lemon moved to Charleston, West Virginia. That is where he met Virginia Mae Lowe, my great-grandmother. He worked as the CEO of a wholesale grocery company. He had only an eighth grade education. As a young man, Lemon met a fellow with a crazy idea about selling fried chicken and was asked to help. Lemon thought it was foolish and would never work, so he did not take up the offer. This man became known as Colonel Sanders, developed the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) franchise.
My grandpa, Jerry Harrah, was born in and grew up in Charleston, West Virginia. He attended a Baptist church where he met Marlene Ashworth. They married in 1955. Jerry became a Presbyterian minister and is now semi-retired, preaching at a church in Barboursville, West Virginia, near Huntington, West Virginia.
The most researched side of my family is the Ashworths. It can be traced from me back eleven generations to my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather, John Ashworth. John Ashworth was the first Ashworth of my family to come to America. He settled in New Kent County, Virginia. His son, Jonathan Ashworth, was the first documented American ancestor of my Ashworth family. After Jonathan, Isaac his son has been termed the originator of our line of Ashworths. Isaac was a Private in the Colonial Militia. This was formed to aid off attacks from Indians in the French and Indian War. Isaac’s son Harrison fought in the American Revolution. In the spring of 1781, he was drafted into the Virginia Militia to defend the lower part of Charlotte County against British Colonel Tarleton. After General Cornwallis surrendered Harrison was discharged from the militia in December 1781. He was 26 years old when George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. John Washington Ashworth, Harrison’s grandson, was in prison for deserting the Confederate Army. He married Leah Cochran who was known to be Native American, which was scandalous at that time to marry a Native American. This is another known Native American in my family. Samuel Tazwell was the son of John Washington and Leah. He was the first generation born in West Virginia in March 1885 and was 26 days old when President Lincoln was assassinated. Samuel married Margaret Jett Sheppard, who was also Cherokee Native American. They had 12 children, one being Kenneth Joel Ashworth my great grandpa father of Marlene Ashworth. Kenneth had many trades. He worked as a contractor, floor finisher, National Guard medic, ordained Baptist minister, and, later in life, a truck driver for Lemon Harrah’s wholesale grocery business.
My mom, Nancy Harrah, was born and grew up in Charleston and Scott Depot, West Virginia. She went to college at George Mason University, where she met my dad, David Salkeld. David was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and grew up in Flint, Michigan. When his parents divorced, he moved to Springfield, Virginia where he finished high school and went to college at George Mason. He and my mom married in 1990 and lived in Burk. I find it interesting how many of my ancestors began their lives in Virginia and that is where my parents began their family. I was born in Fairfax, Virginia and when I was 11 months old, we moved to West Virginia and lived there for the next 10 years.