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