Saturday, August 30, 2008

American Revolutionary War Ancestors

What a privilege to be a direct descendant of several men who served during the War for American Independence! Here's my list of the direct Revolutionary ancestors I've identified to date:
  • Evan Thomas Watson (1759-1834) served from Albemarle County, Virginia, moved to Madison County, Kentucky, and died in what is now Bowie County, Texas (he's the ancestor of my Grandpa Cully Watson).
  • Samuel Coleman (c1750-1824) served from Albemarle County, Virginia and died in Todd County, Kentucky. According to his pension papers and service record from the National Archives, Samuel Coleman wintered at Valley Forge under the command of George Washington during the terrible winter of 1777. (He's the ancestor of my Grandpa Cully Watson.)
  • Martin Davenport served from North Carolina and died in Tennessee (he's the ancestor of my Grandma Clara Hopper Mills).
  • Arden Evans served from Bedford County, Virginia and died in Roane County, Tennessee (he's the ancestor of my Grandma Clara Hopper Mills).
  • Capt. John Narramore served from Kershaw District, South Carolina and died in Bledsoe County, Tennessee (he's the ancestor of my Grandma Mamie Pitcock Watson).

So many more of my remote uncles, cousins, and other relatives served in the 1776 struggle that I would be all day listing their names and information, although I have meticulously collected it in my files. We're so lucky that the documentation on these soldiers still survives in our National Archives and the archives of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington (as well as other repositories).

These men fought for ideas that were ahead of their time - many of the ideas were nebulous, with an uncertain outcome, as the U. S. Constitution had not even been written at the time of the war. This war was truly a turning point in the history of mankind, resulting in the representative democracy we know today. The government they created would, of course, be imperfect and require additional strife and struggle in later years. It remains imperfect today, but is still the world's best hope for liberty.

I hope you all share my pride in our ancestors and their sacrifices, as well as their commitment to the ideas for which they fought: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" (excerpt from the Declaration of Independence).

© 2008, copyright Stephen Mills

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