The Wilson Family Curse

(Trigger warning ⚠️ death, murders and miscarriages are spoken about in this post)

We sat, as we often did, around the kitchen table after dinner. Our plates pushed towards the center with the remains of dinner smeared across flat floral porcelain faces. My father would prop his feet up on the spokes and legs of the table and semi recline in his seat, his fingers woven together resting on top of his stomach. He was a large man, 6’4″ with jet black hair peppered with white, golden olive skin (a mix of heritages), large almond shaped brown eyes, a large angular nose and a big wide mouth with what could only be kindly called horse teeth within. He was blunt, sometimes callous, with hard set features and a sharp tongue. He didn’t suffer fools, and children were not excused from this particular human shortcoming. When he told us stories, however, his entire countenance would change.

Tonight was such a night.

There we anxiously sat, a picture of curiosity:

My little sister a perfect replica of my father’s side of the family: tall, golden skin, thick black hair, almond brown eyes and wide straight teeth, was rocking around in her chair like most 8 year olds would. She knew a story was coming and it was going to be good.

My brother, an exact copy of my mother’s side of our family, 6’4″ like my father but blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and thick lashed. He had small white teeth that behaved better than anyone else’s in the family. He was 17 and basically ready to go play video games, but if the story was good enough, he’d stick around.

I was a mishmash of features from the recesses of both of my parent’s family trees, I was tall 5’11”, fair skin with a yellowish cast, not enough to be exotic like my sister. I had long thick black brown hair with strange shoots of red, like my hair was trying to lighten up to blonde but was too weak to accomplish that color. I had rounded eyes with small almost exotic points and muddy green eyes. I too had a large nose like my father except it tipped up like my mother’s. Unfortunately, I inherited horse teeth like my father. I was about 12 or so and trying my best to show my sister how she SHOULD be sitting.

When we all went to school, we did not look related to one another at all, and this caused a bit of milkman talk among our peers and their parents. Tonight though, tonight we would ask the question.

“Daddy,” I asked, “Why do we look the way we do?”

“There’s been some talk, has there? They think your mother’s been hiding a milkman in the closet?” He chortled to himself.

“Yes, well why do we look the way we do?” I asked, fidgeting in the hard wooden dining chair.

“Well that would be due to your heritage. You are German and French on your mother’s side,” he said pointing to my brother, “and Sicilian, British, and Indian on my side,” he said pointing to my sister.

I felt a bit left out. I represented absolutely no one, apparently. Being a 12 year old who doesn’t really know who they are yet, hearing your brother looks like your mother and your sister looks like your father… well you start to feel like the milkman may be your father after all.

Before I could ruminate on this too long, my father turned to me and I knew that he was about to tell us one of the greatest family stories I would ever hear.

“But you daughter, you look like my father’s people, the People of the Middle Waters, the Osage. You my dear, are a reminder. A reminder so that we may not forget our heritage.

“You see, before our people were moved from Missouri along the Trail of Tears, just before the English came, our family was the ruling family. We ruled with power and strength as well as with great patience. We truly were a great family.

“However, there was another family, just as great, but sometimes more ruthless than necessary and they favored shortcuts. Anything they could do to get it done faster, the better it was for them.

“Now our family was blessed with a great many daughters. They were a source of strength and steadfastness, they could calm many a man’s temper, smoke the finest meats and kept the best vegetables in all the village. To marry one of our women was an honor.

“The other family had sons. A great many powerful, hard, sons who were great hunters. This family sought to marry their sons into our family uniting them into a great family that would rule over the entire tribe.  This was quicker and easier than winning that honor.

“None of our daughters would have them to wed though. Not a one. One by one each daughter took a husband from another family’s sons, which slowly planted a seed of anger and hatred into their hearts. With each marriage that seed grew and it’s roots wrapped around the minds and hearts of every person in this family.

“During this time, a great battle with the neighboring tribes broke out. This turned into a war that lasted a very long time.  Many men in our tribe died defending our lands.  Both our families were not spared this fate.  We both lost many sons, brothers, and fathers in this war. Our tribe came out of this war victorious, but saddened by the loss.

“The elder of the other family morned more than perhaps any other families did. He morned the loss of all of his sons.  Each death had chipped at his heart until there was hardly any love left in it. The final blow to his heart and mind was when all was done, he discovered almost all of our family’s sons lived.

“This blossomed the elder’s hatred into an evil curse which he cast upon our family using a darkness we hopefully will never see again. Our daughters would be cursed to bear all men but one, in each lifetime. As the men grew up they would be consumed with an anger in their breast like none seen in the family before. This anger would tear our family apart from the inside, leaving only sorrowful widows in the end. Both the daughters and sons lucky enough to procreate would pass this curse on until a daughter married a son from his family or extended family. If we left the tribal lands we could not escape our curse, for it would follow us in a new form. Thus putting all of his grief, anger, and hatred into this curse, he died.

“Our family flourished after the war, daughter after daughter was fruitful and had many children. Many male children. If a woman had a girl, mysteriously the second or third would die within the womb or be born only to die minutes later. Such was the grief of our family.

“The men grew and as the elder had cursed grew angry, prideful, and hard towards one another. This anger would grow to the point where a blood frenzy would brake out. Only outside intervention or dumb luck would save our men from killing one another. We buried many young men before their 14th year.

“Our family being as violent as it was no longer ruled, and others took up the position as our family was pushed further outwards. One of our closer ancestors was given to a English solider as a part of a trade deal, because no one within the tribe would have her due to the cursed nature of our family. After many difficult births he left her and her only surviving child, a boy, to the tribe. They forever were marked with the last name Wilson and it was murmured that the Wilsons were a cursed family indeed.

“My great grandmother was married into our family. She had a son who managed to have a son before he too succumbed to family violence. That boy was given back to my grandmother to raise. He was left some money, upon is father’s death. Just because they were cursed did not mean that they did not do well for themselves finically.  As time passed, it became apparent there was a plot against this young boy’s life. His elder cousins and uncles knew that the money was left to him and upon his death would not go to his grandmother, but one of the other men of the family. Such were the times.

“Knowing this, in the night my great grandmother took my grandfather off the reservation and began the process of citizenship into the United States. He grew up without any family strife, but lost his inheritance. When it became time to marry he did. He married a woman by the last name of Foust and had my father and his brother.

“All seemed to be well. Though the brothers seemed alright together, but distant, and thankfully there were no killings or plots. For whatever reason though, Bill never married, and he never had children.

“My father went and joined the Navy and married himself a beautiful Sicilian American bride. Then she had a son, then a daughter, and then another daughter.

“Our great grandmother was overjoyed. Finally, the family curse was gone! With two sons living in more harmony than any had in generations, and there were daughters! There were daughters were being born and healthy! This surely meant all would be well within the family!  Leaving was the right choice!

“Except, it wasn’t. It became apparent while the Wilson’s did indeed have daughters they could not produce any more sons. Pregnancy after pregnancy ended in miscarriages. Your great grandmother remembered our curse and she remembered that leaving had be theorized to cause just as much sorrow as staying would have been. She had thought perhaps the sorrow would be the loss of knowing our people and not living on our lands. However this was not so, this was the proof that the elder’s hatred had not been satisfied. She shared this with my grandfather Elson before she passed.  The curse had not broken but stretched and changed to fit into this new world. This is now our curse.

“I also know this curse to be true. Your brother, as you know had a twin in the womb. The twin did not survive, all they could find was his umbilical cord. There was a boy before you, my eldest daughter, who also did not make it. You have but one male cousin, and there are. no. more.Wilsons. Unless your brother were to marry, and have children this will be the end of us in name. Perhaps then the curse will be done.”

We sat in silence, digesting this tale of murder, sadness, and unnecessary death. Sadly, I looked up at my father, as he sipped his Diet Coke in thought.

“You must not bring this up with your mother,” he finally said, “it will upset her. It is best she not know, or think on this. It is true there is nothing she could have done, but all the same, do not give her new reasons to dwell on this.”

We all agreed and pushed away from the table, heavy in thought of what our ancestors went through. Dishes were washed and pots were dried. Bowls of vanilla ice cream were dished out and we took our seats again.  My father spoke again.

“You may remind us to never forget our ancestors, and what they went through, but you also remind us to be glad for our future. After two children lost, having you was a wonderful gift. You are a child of the in between, of spirit. You remind us that even though there are tragedies and curses in this world, there is also hope for more.”

My brother a sister sat eating their ice cream and I thought about the family curse. Would it dissipate the further our blood mixes with other races and peoples? Would we grow up to have children of our own or would we take a different path? How much of this curse business was true or just an interesting story?

I suppose that was for me to decide.


I was told a less detailed version of this story when I was a child. There are some facts in this story I just told and a great deal of poetic license. The original tale maybe took 15 minutes and a great deal of theorizing on our parts based on the few things we knew. I just fleshed it out a bit.

So what’s real?

Well we were cursed by another family, and yes it was said that the curse was to produce only one female per generation. We were told this was indeed to cause fighting and death in our family. I am not sure if we were the bad guys or the victims in this instance.

One of my ancestors did marry an Englishman by the name of Wilson but why she returned to the tribal lands is unknown. All I do know is it was said that the curse persisted.

I was told my ancestor was taken off the the tribal lands by his grandmother because there was a plot to kill him. Why… I really don’t know, but the time period is around the right place for inheritances to play a role or land rights.

The rest is unfortunately true, there are two baby boy Wilsons that never made it into the world as we know it. We do not talk of it with our family and we do not mention the curse to anyone. I’m not even sure anyone alive besides my dad knows about it.  He is the eldest and most likely to have interacted with this Great Grandmother.

Maybe my dad made this all up to appease us one night. Children can really be aggravating and he had 3. I really can’t say. (And yes, it was rumored that one of us was a child of an affair. It rotated based on the gossip’s preference.)

But I can say my brother has no children. My sister has no children yet. When I turned 15 a mysterious infection damaged my uterus. Doctors were baffled because I was not in the physical position to have that infection. It left my uterus scarred. I was told having children would be difficult. Next I would develop a brain tumor that would render me infertile except for one small time which gave me my baby boy. I have not had the ability since.

Perhaps it is just a story. Perhaps not. I suppose only time will tell.

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23 Comments

  1. Gary

    Fascinating story, or family history; blurred in time and obviousky, as you say in the conclusion, dressed up a little. But then aren’t all tales handed down over generations? It’s how myths persist over time, becoming more elaborate with each narrator adding there own personal flourish. As a writer I can almost see this as a synopisis for a much fuller tale exploring the past into the future. Going back to the curse origin and then the journeys and travels coming after as members of your family try to appease or escape it. Maybe a Romeo and Juliet feel as down the line a marriage draws the two families back together… in a time where the truth has been forgotten and dropped into legend. Could be quite a finale. So much potential here. Mind you, as you have recently discovered, I love the interplay of different times and worlds…using myths to explore psychology and past events. Kind of right up my street this!

    That said, I mean no disrespect for the content as you have laid it down. The infection and worry that must have caused at the time is not something I would ever make light of. But, my writing mind can see that as the tool of reality to go back in time.

    Have you run a full family tree by any chance? That might throw up some interesting facts and data. Especially if you could run one in the other family too…although that would take huge amounts of investigation.

    Hmm, I’m rambling which means I’m seeing a book here! I do hope you take this kindly and not anything untoward.

    Absolutely fascinating in my humble opinion 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      Well thank you for all of this wonderful feedback! I have run a family tree and I am afraid the trail runs cold with Elson Wilson. I can’t figure out where he came from or was born which seems to back up the claim he lived on a reservation. The idea is to someday, go where he supposedly lived and ask to look at the records there would be helpful. If there are records there. It’s hard to say considering the time period and the movement of the tribe itself.

      I plan to do a DNA kit in the next month… part of me is afraid I will find out I am not even a little bit Native, and part of me is afraid I am actually a little more milkman 😉. We will have to see!

      I am not at all offended, if I were to take your suggestion, and make it a larger work I would need to do it right. I would need to study the plains and middle water peoples and go more in depth on how they lived, worked, and fought etc. I can’t say Native traditions have been passed down in the family, it was all about being American. Again, times were different then. My grandfather would have been labeled as a person of color not even 100 years ago.

      But no disrespect taken, I didn’t feel that you were negative at all 🙂 thank you so much for the wonderful feedback!! I appreciate the time you took to think about this story! Many thanks! 🙇🏻‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennifer

        I ran a DNA test and it’s fascinating what I found. So much more mingled into my DNA than I grew up knowing. So, I guess if you do a DNA test and find there is Milkman and no Indian in you, wouldn’t that mean the curse doesn’t affect you? Just a thought.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. afternoonofsundries

        Lol indeed! Unless he has a family curse too… 😉 What company did you end up using? I can’t decide if Ancestry is the way to go or 23andMe (I think it’s called) or is there another place to go?

        Like

      3. Gary

        I tend to think if one is going to comment then one should do so properly! I found a lot in this that could track into stories of fiction and/or a more true story that is embellished; obviously I am more the horror slant and supernatural. There is a lot to work off here though. Not to mention that detective slant of trying to find the missing pieces. Maybe with that bucket list journey too. Period novels do need quite a bit of research too; not just in terms of places, structure and behaviour, but also in dialogue. Quite and undertaking in fact. Love to hear what the DNA test throws up too. All rather exciting mixed with perhaps some trepidation? Fabulous family history though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. afternoonofsundries

        Thank you again for your kind words! While horror is fascinating and scary all at once, I don’t think I’d do it well. Creepy I can do but horror… I do enjoy the supernatural and often read fantasy novels! I’ve tried a hand at a short story with a mystical component, but I’m not sure I was effective. It all take practice I suppose!

        Someday I will travel, so we will see!

        Me too… DNA test here I come!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Gary

        It does take practice yes and part of it is your narrative voice too; it may not be tuned to the genre and do better in another. Nothing wrong with trying them out and seeing which one works. Although it might also be using the right prompt to get into it too. Personally I find short stories tricky to do. I much prefer longer pieces heading at around 5000 words per chapter on average. My rhythm is based on that so flash fiction and short stories overrun. Apart from The God Strain 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Gary

        First job is get the words down; grammar and spelling are not important at that stage; the story is. Editing is for mucking about with the words and structure and proofing for the pedantic stuff like grammar and what goes with that. Write and then write more…then tell me to take my own advice lol

        Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      I might. So far I’ve hit a brick wall with Elson Wilson. He simply does not exist. No both records or death. Yet he’s there… it is the trouble with being born on a reservation, you weren’t required to log that stuff with our government. They are a separate entity. I dunno about now. My next step is DNA testing. If it’s true it will be there and maybe I can find relatives? Eventually I will travel to Missouri and discover things I hope!

      Like

    1. afternoonofsundries

      Thank you for your kind words and the time you took to read this tale! I’m not sure how much further I can take this story at this time, but I do know there is much research to do on the factual side of things! We will see what the future holds! Thanks for visiting with me today!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Judy E Martin

    What a fascinating story. You hear so often of curses being handed down but it musst be pretty scary being the recipient of one.
    I can understand why you would want to get DNA tested to see what it throws up. It is interesting to note that there does seem to be a strange history of miscarriages or problems in conceiving in your family. It does make you wonder, doesn’t it?!

    Like

    1. afternoonofsundries

      It is a mystery! I suppose it’s because I haven’t really experienced the curse. I do not feel it a burden simply because I’m not sure a truly believe a curse is more powerful than God’s plan. Maybe I am meant to have more kids and maybe not. It’s best not to blame things out of my control! It does make me wonder though what is real and what is not! Thank you for your sympathy and your comment! I appreciate your visit!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. actualconversationswithmyhusband

    What a wonderful/heartbreaking/chilling story. All at once, somehow. The story itself is tragic, of course, but you tell it very well and I choose to see the bright spots (you did get your boy, and he will grow up well, you and your siblings had a good life full of love and wonderful stories, and an actual family legend! My family legends are all… seedy).

    And definitely don’t let the story die out: the real lesson here isn’t that curses are real or that someone needs to marry into a certain family; it’s that hate and anger and rage are poisons that spread far and wide, but will always destroy the original well first.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. afternoonofsundries

      Thank you for this lovely comment! We all have wonderful lives now, it is true and our father was certainly a gruff but interesting part! My boy is my wonderful gift no matter what the future holds for us! I can understand unfortunate family history, I have some of that as well.

      I’ll do my best to pass the story down, thank you for reading and visiting me today!

      Liked by 1 person

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