This is a treatise on family history and is primarily about three gentlemen and a woman. They represent ancestors, from three different generations, who nobly carried their family torch and established high standards to which succeeding generations would aspire. These ancestors respectively, are two male slaves, the son of a freed slave and a daughter of the son of a freed slave. Their lives spanned three vastly different eras of American history, and each of them remarkably exhibited immense courage, patience, intelligence, insight, resourcefulness, the ability to endure, the willingness to struggle and the faith to sacrifice against all odds. Embedded in their landscapes were enormous setbacks, perils and personal tragedy, however each of them elected to move forward in a bold and ambitious manner like the iconic Iron Horse. At a juncture in American history when our individual futures are severely challenged, these four are featured because their stories are very illuminating, because they were, under the circumstances, heroic ancestors who withstood many of the challenges of their eras, because they possessed great character, and not because of any amount of materiality they accumulated. Their stories serve to memorialize the victims of bondage and Jim Crow and to communicate the history, culture and principles of two proud American families. There are noted ancestors of other families across this great country that deserve a similar distinction and maybe this treatise will inspire such an undertaking.