It was in the early 1990s I began this creation as an artistic project in this new medium. Needing a subject I settled on a project about family. It has since waxed and waned with periods of neglect over the years. I am once more setting out with a major revision with the addition of more of my personal observations and memories as well as information about the more recent events.
The arrival of David Andrew, the first of his generation, inspired me to begin this particular project. I hoped to employ the then new Internet as an illustrated narrative to share something of his family’s history; thinking, first to simply preserve it, then in the hope that it that may enrich the context within which he a Alex and Anna will live their lives.
My sources included a large collection of family letters to transcribe and photographs to identify. As I worked with the material I came to know the story is purer and more comprehensible when it is possible to permit the actors to speak for themselves.
The one project became two; the first being the transcription and publication of the letters as written with some commentary. They were published in 2007 as Prairie Tree Letters.* The book with full transcriptions may be obtained in paperback or e-book from the link to the publisher or various other booksellers. it is also in the library of the New England Historical and Genealogical Society in Boston.
The second project has been creating and maintaining a web presence with the hope of making it easier for the busy and the young to learn and understand something of the threads that bind and define us. The focus is with our male line from Edward and Sarah Watkins of 17th century Boston. The collateral female lines are included with detail and tone as much as coherence permits.
As the work goes forward I realize I am also adding to the dates and documents more of my own voice than I originally intended. I am choosing to not interfere with the process. It is my hope some will find it, if not distracting, worth reading.
*Watkins, W. Lorraine & David C. Watkins; Prairie Tree Letters, Iuniverse, 2007.