With this story, published in 1940, a decade after "Red Leaves," the Ikkemotubbe|Issetibbeha family is reconfigured to include Sam Fathers, which adds to its standing in both the distant and more recent past of Yoknapatawpha. However, the story also creates real confusion about Sam's place in the family's generational sequence. Ikkemotubbe-Doom is still the central figure from the past, still the ruthless plotter who becomes the chief by killing his cousin Moketubbe, who had inherited the title in the customary way. Ikkemotubbe buys a slave in New Orleans whom he takes as a concubine; she is already pregnant when he brings her back to the plantation, where he compels her to marry "one of the slaves which he had just inherited" as the new chief (203). The child this enslaved woman bears is named "Had-Two-Fathers," which was the name Sam himself was given at birth in "A Justice" and still bears in "The Old People" under his anglicized name of Sam Fathers. But while the story strongly implies that Ikkemotubbe is Sam's father, it calls Ikkemotubbe his "grandfather," and says Sam has "been a Negro for two generations" (202) - in which case there is an earlier "Had-Two-Fathers" who is presumably the "own son" whom Ikkemotubbe sells to a white family along with his concubine and her enslaved husband, and who would then also Sam's one father (203). Our genealogical chart includes this "Had-Two-Fathers," Sr., but with no certainty that Faulkner really intended him to be there. The most likely explanation for these confusions is that Faulkner lost track of the relationships in the course of drafting and rewriting the story. He clears it up when he revises "The Old People" for publication in Go Down, Moses (1942): there Ikkemotubbe is Sam's father, the enslaved woman his mother, and the 'step-father' she marries the reason for Sam's name. In a sense the confusion is a symptom of Faulkner's lack of investment in these Indians and blacks and mixed-race characters as members of a family, though his imagination repeatedly returns to the figure of Ikkemotubbe-as-Doom and Sam is one of the most memorable characters in his canon. The Sartoris and Compson family trees show no such lapses of attention.

Display Name: 
"The Old People"
Sort Name: 
Ikkemotubbe Family in The Old People
Family Key: 

Affiliated Characters

Had-Two-Fathers 1 - "The Old People"
Ikkemotubbe - "The Old People"
Issetibbeha - "The Old People"
Moketubbe - "The Old People"
Sam Fathers - "The Old People"
Unnamed Mother of Ikkemotubbe - "The Old People"
Unnamed Son of Moketubbe - "The Old People"