Years ago, Charles Darwin wanted to find out exactly where he came from. The idea of a family reunion just sort of ... evolved.
Yes, he is related to the father of evolution. And this weekend, hundreds of his distant relatives will descend on South Carolina — a hotbed of creationism — for their annual meeting.
He remarks that while his life has been tranquil, that cannot be said for his namesake:
Today, the house he shares with his wife, Francis, is filled with family trees, copies of Darwin wills, maps to Darwin family cemeteries. A stray program for the annual Dayton, Tenn., play commemorating the Scopes Monkey Trial — the 1925 Tennessee trial where a teacher was put on trial for teaching Darwinism — lies on his coffee table.
He has Darwin's books "On the Origin of Species" and "The Voyage of the Beagle," and just passed a copy of "Origins" on to his grandson; his son, Tim, honeymooned in the Galapagos Islands, perhaps the most important stop on any tour of Darwin's theories.
But Darwin admits the ribbing he gets from his friends about his name is nothing compared with the hellfire and brimstone hurled at his distant relation.
"Poor old Charles, he's the one who really took a beating," Darwin said.
Yes he has.