Ancestors Tell Stories

Robert Hales, ancestor of Author Loretta Boyer McClellan (  Photo from the author's personal photo collection.

Robert Hales, ancestor of Author Loretta Boyer McClellan ( Photo from the author’s personal photo collection.

Ever wonder where authors get their characters’ names? From my novel series, Misthaven of Maine, protagonist Eliza Seelye Hales’ surname is taken from some of my real-life ancestors, including a particularly memorable one, Robert Hales. Meet my ancestor, Robert Hales (born 2 May 1813 in West Somerton, Norfolk County, England, and died 22 Nov 1863). Robert was the “Norfolk Giant” at eight feet tall, still known to this day in the area as such a celebrity. He was recruited by P.T. Barnum (later of Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus fame) to be a “curiosity,” even coming to the U.S. to visit and be “on display” in Barnum’s American Museum in New York for a time.  Robert decided he wanted as normal a life as could be, even after being too big to stay in the Royal Navy, being presented at court to Queen Victoria twice, along with other royalty.  He later married and ran an inn in his native land. His sister Hester was seven foot-two, and both parents were six feet tall. I love that he honored his normal-ness and also did his best to help others, including saving the life of a boy who fell overboard by rescuing him on their way to the U.S., with Robert doing so on PT Barnum’s dime. (Information from several family and published records. Photo: Robert Hales on the right, next to an “average-sized man.” Photo from the author’s personal photo collection).

headshot_3x3_web_copyright2013_loretta_boyer_mcclellanAmerican Author, Artist, and Poet, Loretta Boyer McClellan sees the art of writing as an exciting medium and source of abundant joy in the creative process.  Her multilayered career as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist, and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression.  Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates and teaches from the heart.  Writing, meditating, and painting—particularly in watercolor—are her connection to the Infinite.


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