In truth, I had never watched the Real Housewives of Dallas before. But in the interest of writing on a #RHOD Bravolebrity for the season premiere, I decided to do my initial research by watching the show. It wasn’t long before I was hooked and binge-watching both seasons. On top of that, I had the hardest decision yet trying to determine which housewife to profile, with each story more compelling than the next. But in the end, these hands were ready to get started and learn about the roots of someone who appeared to need the strongest connection to her family history, so I chose LeeAnne Locken.
What We Know
LeeAnne Wade was born on June 7, 1967, in Pasadena, Texas. Because she was a “carny kid,” she was predominantly raised by her grandparents in Houston. Her mother, Margaret, has appeared on the show. Of course, she is also engaged to Rich Emberlin.
Otherwise, there wasn’t much readily available from a simple Google search. But fortunately, I was able to uncover lots of information, which painted a very unique picture of LeeAnne’s heritage.
LeeAnne’s ancestry spanned several different regions.
LeeAnne’s ancestry composition appears to be the most diverse I’ve found to date. She definitively has English, Scottish, Irish, German, African and/or Native American heritage, and likely Welsh ancestry. Although her birth last name is Wade, this is not her biological paternal line. Her great-grandfather, William Henry, adopted his stepfather’s last name of Wade, as he was the one who raised him. William Henry was the biological son of Daniel Henry Rickman.
Based on census data, the Rickmans, whom I was definitively able to trace to LeeAnne’s 4th great-grandfather also named Daniel Rickman, were usually described with African heritage. The 1840 census has Daniel and family under “free colored persons,” 1850 as black, 1860 as “Indian,” and 1870 as “mulatto.” The family began to be described as “white” with her 2nd-great grandfather, Daniel Henry, in the 1900 census. This information provides several possibilities, and I offer a couple. I found anecdotal evidence that there was Native American ancestry among the Rickmans. Although this can be a common legend in families, interracial relationships were not uncommon between Native American and African Americans, so it is entirely possible. Another possibility is that the Rickmans lied about their Native American heritage. The Rickmans were in Illinois for the 1840 and 1850 census, but in Iowa for the 1860 census. I read that laws prevented free African Americans from settling in Iowa, so it’s possible the Rickmans pretended to have Native American heritage in order to settle there undisturbed. Whatever the exact truth, it certainly made for an interesting search.
Her family were among the early Church of Christ.
LeeAnne’s family were at the forefront of American history. First, her ancestors were among the Mormon pioneers traveling westward in the mid-19th century. Both LeeAnne’s 4th great-grandparents, Frederick and Sarah (Davis) Mowery/Mowry were part of the early Mormon church. Frederick died in 1842, and Sarah remarried twice, the second time with Joseph Smith’s older brother, Hyrum, officiating. It appears that the Rickmans were also early pioneers, with her 4th great-uncle, John W. Rickman (son of her 4th great-grandfather Daniel), baptized into the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints in 1869.
Her ancestors not only founded a town, but hobnobbed with another housewife’s ancestor.
Stonington, Connecticut, was founded and settled by LeeAnne’s ancestors, including Thomas Stanton and William Chesebrough, her 10th and 12th great-grandfathers, respectively. Stanton was also one of the first settlers of Hartford, which means he definitely knew RHONY’s very own Sonja Morgan’s direct ancestor, Thomas Richards, who also shares the distinction of being an original proprietor of Hartford.
She’s related to the descendants of John Winthrop.
Does that name sound familiar from U.S. history? John Winthrop was governor of the Puritan Massachusetts Bay Colony, the second major settlement in New England (after Plymouth). LeeAnne’s Connecticut-based ancestors were well acquainted with the Winthrops, with William Chesebrough sailing with Winthrop to their new life in 1630. John Winthrop’s son, John Winthrop Jr., founded the Connecticut Colony, and had Thomas Stanton as his interpreter among the Native Americans.
Furthermore, LeeAnne's 12th-great aunt was Elizabeth Reade, who was also wife of John Winthrop Jr. Elizabeth’s parents were Edmund and Elizabeth (Cooke) Reade, LeeAnne’s 12th great-grandparents.
Her ancestor sailed on the Mayflower.
If LeeAnne’s pedigree is not fascinating enough already, she is likely also directly descended from someone who sailed on the Mayflower. Edward Doty was the 40th signer of the Mayflower Compact. He also was among the group who discovered Plymouth Harbor, participated in the “First Encounter” with the Native Americans, and just happens to be LeeAnne's 10th great-grandfather.
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