Her great-however many-grandfather was an indentured servant from Ireland who broke his contract and ran away from the indenture when he was 15. According to the family legend, he ran because his master was not following the contract: He was being given oysters for more than 4 meals per week which had been specifically proscribed in the contract. He apparently took some tools when he left, fled South Carolina for the hills of Tennesee, and carved out a small farm. He married a young woman and they had several kids. She sickened (smallpox?) and died. Her sister came to take care of the kids. He married her and they had several kids. She sickened (they think smallpox again) and died. The next sister came to take care of the kids. Yep, he married her and they had another batch of kids. Shortly after she arrived to take care of the kids the cabin burned down - destroying all of the bedding, clothing, etc. It would have also "disinfected" the smallpox. The old man was apparently naturally immune (or, maybe had gotten cowpox) but several of the kids died from the sickness also. By the time he was through - 17 children (who lived) with the three wives, all sisters.