The SAR Magazine

Spring 2018

The SAR MAGAZINE is the official quarterly publication of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution published quarterly.

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Page 19 of 47

12 SAR MAGAZINE By Cecil "Junior" Murdock O n a rainy day, July 13, 1987, I received an emergency call from Methodist Hospital in Louisville. My mother, Janetta Mae Quick Murdock, was experiencing heart failure. The attending doctor told me my mother was dying and would not last much longer. I tried to calm her, but she insisted on talking. She said the man I had always thought was my father, Cecil C. Murdock Sr., was not. Looking at her strangely, I said, "What?" She proceeded to tell me that my father was Forrest Burns! She then lost consciousness. My wife, Marcy A. Walker Murdock, told me that my mother had told her this story at some point in the past. She thought my mother's secret should be told to me only by my mother. So much was going on at the hospital, and I was not coping well. Then my mother died. The hospital staff helped me, my siblings and other family furnish personal information to the staff for my mother's records. In the following weeks, Marcy and I continued to discuss my newly discovered parentage. After several weeks, I found out how to contact Forrest Thomas Burns. We met at the Jerry's Restaurant on Hikes Lane in Louisville. Our conversation lasted 45 minutes. I produced a picture of my mother and Forrest, to which he remarked, "Yep, that was us years ago!" This picture came from my mother's sister, Doris Jean Quick. Aunt Doris had dated Raphael Burns, Forrest's brother. My mother was 18, working at Walgreens. Forrest said they dated for some time, but he never knew she was pregnant. Forrest told me he had two other children, a boy and a girl. I explained that I was not looking for any support from him, and that I was self-sufficient. I told him I owned my home and had a job with the telephone company. Forrest said, "Well you might be my son or you might not!" So, basically I told him the ball was in his court, and that he would have to decide how he wanted to handle the information, particularly how he chose to tell his wife and family. T wenty-nine years went by. My daughters always wanted to know why Forrest, a man who might have been my father, never contacted me. In September 2006, I discovered I had colon cancer. Surgery and chemo followed, and then about six months of recovery. During that time, Forrest Burns died. Because of my condition, I missed his death notice in the newspaper. Nearly 10 years later, May 15, 2016, Raphael died. I decided to attend his funeral service. I wanted to let the Burns family know that I was the son of Forrest T. Burns. The first person I met was Mabel Burns Schifferdecker, Raphael and Forrest's sister. She was shocked to be meeting me. Mabel and I were able to talk for fewer than 10 minutes. Mabel said she remembered that Forrest had dated Janetta Quick, my mother. These words gave me comfort in her perception of me. Feeling more confident, I was able to continue explaining my existence to Aunt Mabel. The conversation ended too soon. I was knotted up inside about even going there and, of course, about making my situation known to everyone. My wife and I went to the break area to have refreshments and waited for any relative to come back and talk to us. I met a man named Michael Burns, a son of Raphael. I explained how I fit into the Burns bloodline. Michael didn't know what to say. He just said, "OK," as he absorbed what I was saying. I gave him my name, address and phone number. After our conversation, Michael walked over to another lady and spoke to her. I saw her turn and look at us, then turn back. We discovered that she was Helen Burns York, another sister. Michael told other relatives of our presence in the room, but he was in such a state from his father's death that he forgot to give them my contact information. The following day was the burial service for Raphael Burns. Marcy and I didn't plan to attend. Later, we found out that the newly found son of Forrest Burns was the topic of many discussions throughout the funeral service. Ironically, the visitors' register is how they eventually found me again, as we had recorded our names and address. Another brother, Eddy, found my phone number and called me. We discussed wanting to learn how we might be brothers. We did not develop any plan at that time, since Marcy and I were leaving for Rough River Lake, and we had friends and family joining us there for summer vacation. After 16 weeks, summer and harvest time were over. When we returned home, we found numerous messages on the answering machine. Cheri Burns Wallingford, Forrest's daughter and my half-sister, had left one of them. When I returned her call, she said that she had been in touch with her brother, Eddy, who lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. They concluded that a DNA test should be done. Cheri called me back to see what my thoughts were on finding out for certain if we were related. I told Cheri and Eddy that I had been attending a special interest group to learn about using DNA tests for genealogy and thought we needed to start with a Y-DNA test. I said I would call Family Tree DNA (FTDNA) to verify who should be tested. FTDNA asked how positive I was that Cheri and Eddy were from the same father and mother. I said that they were DNA Found MY BROTHER 20 SAR MAGAZINE

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