Finding Your Roots

S7 E1 | CLIP

Family Fortune

John Waters discovers his great-great-grandmother sued his great-grandmother for their fortune.

AIRED: January 19, 2021 | 0:01:23
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TRANSCRIPT

(gentle music)

- [Narrator] When Clifford died,

he left his wife and child to face a second ordeal.

They returned to his family in Maryland

expecting, one imagines, to find sympathy and support,

instead, Bertha became embroiled in a conflict

with her mother-in-law,

John's great, great grandmother, Mary Whitaker.

The two ended up in court with Bertha suing

for custody of her child,

and Mary alleging that Bertha had an ungovernable temper.

Bertha ultimately triumphed securing

the family fortune for her son,

but the emotional cost must have been high.

- So, first of all, this is like a Dickinson novel

and you never heard anything about it.

- No.

- Well, that's how the money was passed.

- That's how it was.

- Isn't that fascinating?

- It's luck, and yeah, it's twisted history.

- It is, your family tree drips with drama.

- Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

well maybe that's where I inherited to be,

you know, telling stories and thinking up drama.

You know, I'm always thinking up

and saying things that happened to people.

That's how I make my living.

(gentle music)

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