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Re-Enactment Spurs Mount Prospect Woman to Find Her Family's Revolutionary Roots.

The upcoming Revolutionary War re-enactment to be held May 14-15 near her Mount Prospect home has given Cindy Huff Bork, administrative assistant at the Mount Prospect Historical Society, sponsor of the reenactment, the impetus she needs to dig a little deeper into her family history.
She is hoping to solve a Revolutionary era mystery in her family’s genealogy. Family stories passed down by her paternal grandmother say they are descendants of Martha Dandridge Custis Washington, wife of George Washington. The thought of being related to America’s very first First Lady is intriguing to Bork. So she is sifting through family records, looking for clues which will lead, she hopes, to her Revolutionary ancestor.
Standing near the fireplace in a corner of her living room, is one of these clues, an 18th century spinning wheel. The spinning wheel is “missing pieces and not in top condition,” says Bork, and an antiques appraiser told her that it isn’t a valuable treasure. But “he also told me that it is Welsh in origin, and that might be important,” she says.
She wonders if it might be valuable as a clue to her family’s past because in biographies about Martha Washington, it is common to find mentions that her mother’s family came to America from Wales. “I know this spinning wheel has been handed down in my father’s family for generations,” says Bork. “That’s enough of a reason for me to love it, even if it isn’t worth a fortune.”
A family tradition also gives credence to the Martha Washington link. It is their tradition of naming first born sons “Curtis” as a variation of the Custis last name. “My paternal grandmother named my father in honor of this link. Then I named my son, Curtis, too,” Bork said. My father and his sister told me that the name is a variation of Custis and that it links back to Martha Washington and descendants of her son, John “Jacky” Parke Custis.”
Bork is excited at the prospect because she has always been drawn to that period of our country’s history. She and her husband, Rockne, live with their family in a southern colonial-style home, complete with a working fireplace in the kitchen which is large enough to use to cook a colonial style meal.
“Sometimes I wish I could drop everything else and just work on my family history,” says Bork. Her latest research has led her to an ancestor named Angeline Custis in the year 1817. “I’m getting closer,” she says. “I hope one day I can make the connection and I’ll be able to share it with my family.”
“Colony and Crown: A Revolutionary Experience” will be held May 14-15 in Mount Prospect’s Lions Park, 411 S. Maple St. The Revolutionary War encampment and re-enactment will feature more than 100 re-enactors from around the Midwest and will include mock battles, bayonet and tomahawk competitions, artillery demonstrations, authentic 18th century military and civilian camps, merchants, music appropriate to the time period, food and much more. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for those 3-12. For more information, check out www.mtphist.org.

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