Some things are remarkable like just today I remembered that my great grand mother’s youngest sister told me a story about their grandfather. The man we are talking about was born in 1831 and died in 1886. That makes him my great great grandfather. It’s nice to reflect every now and then cause good things come to mind and get the creative writing juices flowing.
My family is huge and you’ll never ever compile all the names in one set of encyclopedias. Many have tried and gotten off track for one reason or another. Much to my surprise and delight, I found two women who made the whole mess of things crystal clear. One of these women was a cousin on my mother’s side and the other was related to an aunt by marriage on my father’s side.
For the sake of you ever making sense out of this story, let’s focus on the cousin who turns out to be my great aunt once the conversation was finished. Well…..actually….she’s both. She said my momma and daddy were 3rd cousins. My great grandmothers were sisters. There was a bunch of kids in that family and Aunt/cousin Grace was the grandbaby of parents born in 1831.Here she is alive in the 1980′s.
If you’ve figured it out by now—-then we are talking of a Civil War generation giving direct account to a me and here it is at the time—the 1980′s. That’s so rare that I bet it’s only happened a handful of times. Aunt/cousin Grace was alive when a Civil War hero was living and she’s giving a one on one account to me in the 1980′s. It has taken me the better part of 20 years to figure out how just remarkable that such a thing happened.
Aunt Grace told me that this Civil War veteran was a 2nd Lt. with the NC Militia. He joined up in 1861. He did it to defend the Southern land on which his great great grandfather had fought to keep during the War of Independence. Aunt Grace was not referring to a specific piece of land but rather a right to stay where our family had settled since the 1750′s.
I always remembered that story but would eventually find out that I descended from at least 5 Revolutionary War veterans and at least one was fighting on the other side. Half my family came down with those settling the Moravian community of Bethania and Bethabara and the other were Protestants came and settled in Davidson County, NC. My family names are Miller, Krause, Sowers, Leonard, Staud, Delap, Livengood, Long, Bugher, Heinline, and a few others recognized in these parts.
The names mentioned above connect me to just about everyone in the county. Those are the names of my grandparents from that original line that came in the 1750′s. They came to escape religious persecution. The came from England, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, and they came on ships laden with goods to start them off on the new land.
Valentine Leonhardt/Leonard started a church called Pilgrim Reformed Church where many old German stones remain and carry those names on weathered markers. Philip Sowers was a friend of Valentine’s and they both knew Squire Boone—the father of Daniel Boone. I wished I could of lived every generation to hear all the stories. Oh I wish they were written down. Much is written about my family and fun to discover new things. You’ll never see the end of it–not in my lifetime and today’s internet is making more and more possible.
Then there is Melchior Krause which is the direct line of Mary Magdalene Krause who married Jacob Miller. Mary and Jacob moved to Indiana–and started a remarkable branch of our family who gave our nation many Methodist preachers and a whole line of doctors and lawyers. How many Dr. Miller’s do you know? See what I mean. Not to mention that Melchior remained a man of great influence in our neck of the woods.
And I haven’t even begun to tell you about the Perrymans. They were 4 brothers who came and started a lumber yard. I could go on and on but the most remarkble story of all my research is—-Aunt/Cousin Grace who helped me connect my mom to my dad—and then recalled a story from the Civil War.
I told you all this to say—–Harry Patch died earlier this month. He was the last living British veteran from WW1. His message was to solve our conflicts without war. He chose to tell of the horrors that war caused a man and a world. At one time, men were dying at the rate of 3,000 a day on Flander’s Field. I think that went on for 3 months. Harry Patch suffered tremendous emotional stress in his dreams and his daily thoughts to bring us the message of peace. He never wanted any man to ever have to suffer the fear and torture of war again. He remembered at great cost so you would not forget.
And so it was with the Civil War and Aunt Grace said that my great great grandfather heard that message from his great great grandfather of the Revolutionary War. And I recollected today that she told me that——could we not find a way to remember that war is not the answer? Can we not at least honor what these men have to tell us and find a way least we keep having to repeat the same message?