Today is Lauren Meece’s 29th birthday. Happy Birthday Lauren.
Lauren represented the
at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (the gayest Olympics ever – so far) in judo. At the age of 17 she was the youngest judoka at the Sydney Games and the youngest ever USA judo team member. After the 2008 Olympics Lauren caused a ripple when she criticised the lgbt community for putting more emphasis on someone’s sexuality in sport than someone’s sporting endeavour. US
Is there anything in Lauren’s ancestry which gives clues to her career? As far as sport is concerned, yes there is – but not judo. Lauren’s great-uncle Wilbur Meece was a golf pro and
Central Kentucky champion, the state where the family had lived for over 200 years. There must certainly be a healthy gene in the family because Wilbur’s father was still very active at the age of 100 years old. His great-grand-daughter Lauren was born on the 1st anniversary of his death.
The first Meece (originally spelt Meiss) to live in
was Thomas Meece. Originally from Pennsylvania Thomas moved with his family to Kentucky , in about 1800. Thomas’s father Johann, however, came from farther afield. Pulaski County, Kentucky
Johann Meiss emigrated to
from Württemberg in America with his wife and 2 brothers in about 1750. They settled in Germany . At that time there was unrest between the English and French colonists. This developed into the French and Indian War, which put the German settlers in the idle of a conflict between the English on one side and the French with their Iroquois allies on the other. Pennsylvania
In 1757, while Johann Meiss and one of his brothers were working out in the fields they were attacked by a band of Iroquois. One brother (I’m not sure which) was shot dead on the spot and the other ran towards the farm house pursued by an Iroquois. A fence stood between the brother and safety. But as he was leaping up and over it the Iroquois caught up and smashed his tomahawk into his skull. This particular attack remained in people’s memory for several generations.
, Lauren’s grandfather Virgil Meece married Jennie Jones. Jennie’s great-grandmother came from another family of European continental settlers, the Chaudoins from Silly-de-Long in Pulaski County, Kentucky . The first Chaudoin settler, François, was a barber-surgeon who was called up to join the France militia in the same conflict in which the Meiss brothers were murdered. However, as a French settler serving in an English colonial army during the French and Indian War, François was, in effect, helping the English to fight his fellow Frenchman. Not surprisingly, François deserted and a wanted poster set up around Virginia put a price of 40 shillings on his head. Virginia
After the war ended differences were forgotten, and François’ 2nd wife was Susannah Weaver (Lauren’s ancestor). Her family had been among the earliest settlers in
, arriving in 1622 from Virginia Shropshire.