Monday, October 21, 2013

The Son of Austin Peay Mystery Continues

Posted By on Mon, Oct 21, 2013 at 8:59 AM

State-wide Treasure Gordon Belt went to Clarksville to delve more deeply into the question of whether Austin Peay was the teenage father of a maid's child. (You may recall this first hit the news after an episode of Geneology Roadshow.)

Belt examined the letter that either seems to reveal that Albert Roberts was Austin Peay's son or at least proves that there's long been a rumor that Roberts is Peay's son. Belt remains cautious:

Although this letter represents a key piece of evidence in the genealogical investigation, the document only confirms that the rumor of Governor Peay's relationship with Roberts was circulating at the time the letter was written. It is certainly not "THE" document proving that Austin Peay was Albert Roberts father.

It is my sincere hope that more official documents and information will be revealed to help solve this family mystery with absolute certainty.

I think this caution is well-warranted. Don't get me wrong — I think that, if Roberts' family believes he's related to Governor Peay, he's probably related to Governor Peay. I would hate to see Tennessee get caught up in ridiculousness similar to the Jefferson ridiculousness where, even though people in Jefferson's lifetime and certainly in the lifetimes of his sons with Sally Hemings openly acknowledged that these were Jefferson's children, we're still subjected to theories that these are the children of anyone but Thomas Jefferson — perhaps his cousin's, perhaps his nephews', perhaps the stork brought them unblemished by any father at all.

But, on the other hand, Governor Peay was Austin Peay the third. And a man might do as many favors for his brother as he does for his son.

So, acknowledging that there's a connection while also being honest about the uncertainty of that connection seems the best way to proceed at the moment.

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