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Myths, family live on in Harrison County

Myths, family live on in Harrison County Myths, family live on in Harrison County

Don’t you just love the French? I do. Only more so after hearing the wonderful stories as told to me at the library by three first and second cousins in the Pinaire family. Pinaire is a big name in Harrison County. And a good percentage of the nationwide Pinaire descendents can be traced right back to Clover Valley near Frenchtown.
According to Janice Molnar, Wanda Pinaire Carpenter and Linda Fisher, the real saga began in France in a small town called Lammas. Marie Ori Pinaire, a married woman with 13 children, lost her husband when he was assassinated. It was a danger to be a politician even then. He was the mayor.
Marie, for whom I have a healthy respect, left France with an assortment of her children and set off for the ‘new world.’ They sailed up the Mississippi from New Orleans and finally ended up buying land in Indiana where they located in Frenchtown with other French settlers. Marie had the financial means to relocate, and her intention in leaving was all about keeping those sons out of wartime conscription. The three cousins agreed that Marie could be controlling. Her idea was owning enough land to parcel out to all her children who could then build within sight of her original home on the hill. ‘Marie used those opera glasses to keep a good eye on her sons and daughters,’ Janice recalls.
One of her sons, Theodore, was a ’49’er’ who did not strike it rich in California but did stumble onto a substantial gold nugget. This nugget was worth at least enough for him to finance his way home across the Isthmus of Panama and hitch a ride on a pumpkin boat. The boat sank and he saved himself by hugging onto a good-sized pumpkin. He then went home to Indiana.
As always, there are different versions of these family sagas, but I realized from listening to these three Pinaires that reciting the family myths is the glue that holds families together. After all, the very first unequivocal statement about the Pinaires that these three cousins agreed on was: ‘No Pinaire would ever have a dull kitchen knife.’ Isn’t that just like the French?
Also, on May 12 at the Harrison County Court House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. there is going to be a volunteer drive for all interested parties to sign on for any of the birthday projects that they find appealing. There will be committee members there to answer questions and give an overview of the 2008 activities planned for the town and county. We need your energy, ideas and help in all the fun.
Leah Porter is at the Harrison County Public Library on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. Come down and visit.

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