Grandad McLemore gets airtime 131 years after his death

Richard McLemore, 1798-1881

Richard McLemore (1798-1881) of Meridian, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, married Nancy Perry Hill. Richard is credited for founding the town of Meridian. Richard and Nancy were my gggg-grandparents.

Back in 2013, I was following the AMC series, Hell on Wheels – a gritty, moody western about a group of characters whose commonality lies in the building of the Union Pacific railroad in 1865 – hence the name of the show.

Thomas C. Durant

The main character is Cullen Bohannan, who left his home in Meridian at the end of the war and is on the lam for the revenge killing of Union soldiers who killed his wife and son (he was away fighting for the Confederacy). When the show first mentioned Bohannon being from Meridian, in the first episode of the first season, I thought, that’s pretty cool, my ancestor founded that town. Bohannon finds work as a supervisor on the railroad construction, working for Thomas C. Durant, who was a real historical figure and key to the building of the railroad.

During a scene in season 2, episode 8, Bohannon is dining with Durant and two other female characters. During the meal, Durant asks Bohannon if he knows Leonidas Tate of Meridian. Bohannon tells him that Leo was his wife’s father. (I thought, I’ll have to look up Tate on Ancestry to see if he was a real person too.) Some conversation about it being a small world, then Durant asks Bohannon if he knows the Richard McLemore’s! And Bohannon responds, “My grandfather laid the first spur to Lauderdale County,” implying that he most certainly does know him and the family.

That’s when my jaw dropped, to hear the name of an unfamous ancestor in a television show. I played it over 3 times.

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