Wednesday, July 8, 2020

July 4, 2020

This year’s 4th of July weekend was like no other I have experienced in the last five years. Normally, I would get dressed in my Continental Uniform and gather up my 1763 Charleville musket and be in a small-town parade with my compatriots of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Not this year. Not with the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic roaring across American cities and towns unchecked. This year we must be masked and social distanced in public and keep the groups to under 25 and be aware that we over 60 are in the age group with the highest deaths.

Yes, a different 4th of July. Happy 244th Birthday America.

What did I do instead of the parades and gatherings?

On the evening of the 4th, I put on my Continental Uniform coat and tricorn hat, grabbed a handful of small American flags and my wife and I went to our youngest daughter’s home and enjoyed their fireworks. When the neighbors came over to watch our fireworks my wife and I handed out flags to everyone. We were rebels for a few hours celebrating the birth of our country. No politics, no demonstrations, no discord, just fun and celebration with our fellow countrymen and women.

To top the weekend off, my wife and I watched the movie “Hamilton” on cable tv. Two hours and 40 minutes of a wonderfully done play. Loved the cast, the songs, the lighting, the scenery and yes, the story.
I won’t tell you about it … no spoiler alert here, but I must say my favorite “people” in the play were King George III, and Thomas Jefferson, they stole the play. Oh, and don’t forget your box of tissues.

All of these events bring me to the reason for this article.

“The Promise” 

This weekend’s events reminded me of the Revolutionary War presentations I have done at schools to the 5th and 8th grade students. I have learned two things from them … show no fear and tell the facts.

The 8th graders have been the most engaging in our conversations and the same questions are asked time and again.

What makes The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States so special?

The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States are the foundation documents of America. From these we build our country.

In 1776 this fragile little collection of 13 rebel colonies stood up and waving the Declaration of Independence, declared to England and the world that we will be free and that this new country’s goals and aspirations and promise is that “All men are created equal”. That we will fight and die for this piece of paper. Our ancestors did and have done this in every generation since 1776. It is a constant battle, and one we must continue to fight in this and future generations.

We fought and died in wars since 1776, in this country and around the world … and still we fight. We fought and died in the early 1900’s the 60’s and 70’s for Women’s freedoms … and still we fight. We fought and died after the Civil War in the early 1900’s, and the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s for Black and Brown and Native American freedoms … and still we fight.

It is our responsibility as citizens of this country to fight for the promise of the Declaration of Independence ... and still we fight.

The Constitution of the United States on the other hand is the blueprint to our citizens as to how we make that promise happen. Legally and Peacefully. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, peaceful assembly and to petition the Government. The role and responsibility of the three equal branches of government. The adding of Amendments to the Constitution to help fulfill the promise. It’s a living, breathing document, not static but ever changing to get us closer to the promise we made to the world and our citizens that … “All men are created equal”.

The next big question is always,
“Yes we fought the Revolutionary War for freedom for all, why were the Blacks not freed?”

The answer becomes complicated at best.

In 1770 out of a population of 2.3 million in the 13 colonies, over 450,000 were Blacks with 406,000 in the Southern colonies. During the Revolutionary War, the Patriot army was over 380,000 strong, (but never more than 35,000 soldiers served at any one time), and about 5,000-9,000 were Black. In the British army of over 107,000 there were 20,000 Blacks that fought but up to 100,000 went over to the British side. Both sides promised food and clothes and wages and freedom after the war. Blacks fought in almost every infantry company (in integrated troops) and on the decks of every ship from the first shot at the Boston Massacre to Yorktown. Yet, most were not freed after the war.

The promise was broken.

But there was change in the wind.

After the war by 1783 the New England states of NH, MA, RI, CT, VT abolished slavery. The Middle states of PA, NY, NJ, DE abolished slavery by early 1800.

There were two main reasons for these changes. In the northern states the attitude was “…the Blacks fought beside us for freedom for all, so they are free like us”. Second, economics. In these states it was more expensive to keep slaves then it was to have indentured servants or to hire laborers.

In the South, their attitude was different as was the economics. Blacks fought in the war in place of their masters and yet most Blacks did not fight since the masters could not trust them with a musket. They did the menial jobs. After the war, most were sent back as “returned property”. As to economics, manual slave labor was cheap and plentiful, over 60% of the population in South Carolina were Black slaves.

On Jan 1, 1808 President Thomas Jefferson signed a law banning the slave trade, but not banning owning slaves. He only freed seven of his hundreds of slaves during his lifetime and on his death. His slaves were passed on to his family as "property".

Our young country’s history was not always pretty, and our ancestors were not perfect. But they had a vision, a promise worth fighting for. We cannot change our past, but we can change the present and the future.

"We the people ..." hold up the Declaration of Independence to our government to remind them of their promise to its citizens and to remind them and us of our responsibilities as citizens.

“All men are created equal”.

Michael Tieman
President, Oregon SAR

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Next BOM Meeting July 25


The Oregon SAR Board of Managers will have their Summer meeting on July 25, 2020 at 7:00pm by Zoom .
Stay Well and Safe.

July 1 Newsletter Genealogy

SAR Compatriot:Eugen Foley
Illegitimi Non Carborundum

I am grossly over-educated, which means I’ve got way too much “stuff” crammed into a limited-capacity storage device, my brain.  So, I was thinking…uh huh…the Sons of the American Revolution should have a password, like the fraternities have.  Or, perhaps, some common experience to recall by use of a title or phrase.  So, if I were to meet Rob in a dark alley in a strange country, one of us would say “Marbury” and the other would say “Madison.” Marbury v. Madison is the typical starting point for first-year law students.  And then we could identify our specialties…I’m partial to “Black Motor.” The Black Motor Car case validated the process by which a reserve for bad debts could be used against taxable income.  Well, see what I mean…too much “stuff” filed in the cranium.

Practically speaking, however, we do have something to say to each other when we meet…we can speak about our ancestors, particularly those that served in the revolution.  These aren’t so much stories, but are pieces of our history, that when put together, describe the founding of the most amazing country ever in history.  What Rob and I learned in Law School didn’t exist before Marbury v. Madison.  At the time of the Revolution, and part of the reason for the Revolution, consisted of compliance with laws that were created in a distant land.  A land that had kings and princes, created knights and ladies as the favorites of their overlords, and nobles sat in a House of Lords set apart from the House of Commons.

As the Colonies were being settled, local councils were formed and leaders chosen.  They were too far from the Motherland to be able to call for guidance from the distant courts.  As the numbers grew, however, economics and territorial integrity in the face of foreign expansion resulted in a shift from local rule, back to the rules legislated from the homeland.  So, here is the challenge to those of us whose families were here from the earliest days:  Can we be open-minded enough to see that there is an essential evolution in self-governance that sometimes requires more than evolution, perhaps even revolution?

I’ll leave to the reader how that applies to today.  But, as this is a column is about our genealogies, I’m reminded that many of our early judicial practices focused on violations of the accepted norms.  In some communities you were fined for growing a beard, and in others for not having a beard.  You were fined if you didn’t show up to church, unless you were assigned the watch.  Of course, if you didn’t attend to the watch you were fined.  And, on and on.

When I first did the genealogy for my children, I became enamored by the number of preachers and ministers there were on both sides of their family trees.  Of course, it pleased me to see the names of the famous preachers of their times, Cotton Mather, Solomon Stoddard, and my favorite (kind of…) Jonathan Edwards, who was called as the early president at what would become Princeton (where I studied while attending the Seminary).

Circling back to forms of government in the earlier days of the Colonies, one finds that the religious leaders were very much a part of the process by which the rules were administered.  When you review your ancestors, examine their roles in the legal processes they participated in.  As we learn about how our ancestors lived, there is often an opportunity to see what leadership roles they played, AND where they ran afoul of the local system of justice.  As I did such a review of my ancestors, I found many admirable traits, and a few surprises that reset my thoughts toward otherwise fabled leaders.  And though I hate to close with a disappointment in my own search, I found several relations to the Salem Witch Trials…a couple were hung, a couple died otherwise, one was acquitted, and one watched with approval…and my respect for the famous preacher of that time, Cotton Mather, was lost.

Our “passwords” as we gather with other members are the memorials of our ancestors.  When the stories are truly complete, they are more than just that we had an ancestor serve in the Revolution.  They are the stories of peoples’ lives, how they lived, and what they believed.  We honor them for their contributions to our great country, but we also recognize them as individuals who were farmers, coopers, tinkers, cobblers, smiths, inn keepers, fisherman, wheelwrights, merchants…and preachers.  Some were poor, and others wealthy.  Some worked and some played.  Some fought and some died.  Each played a part in who we have become, and as we learn from them, who we will be.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Genealogy

SAR Compatriot:Eugen Foley
Before Manifest Destiny
 
In grade school we heard about the Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny.  But, as members of the Sons of the American Revolution, our research is much more personal, and we are able to see how our own families grew and spread across the country.  “From Sea to Shining Sea,” our Oregon-based membership is evidence of our nation’s expansion.  And the fact that we honor our forefathers’ sacrifices that made us an independent nation, conceived anew, seemed an obvious message of providence to those who fought…and to the generations that followed.

With a population of about a quarter million souls in 1700, it was clear that those few hundred Europeans that had established themselves in what would be the British Colonies by 1610 were here to stay.  But, by 1780, after the Revolution had fully engulfed the European residents of the new nation in the fight to establish a new republic, the population was nearing 2.8 million and would be nearer 5 million in 1800.

As a practical matter, new lands were needed to accommodate the expansion of the families that inhabited them.  Our youngsters today might suggest that they should have just built taller buildings, instead of moving west.  But, we know that it wasn’t until the late 1920’s that structural steel, safe elevators, tempered structural glass and other architectural and structural necessities made it possible to build above three or four stories without great expense.  And it wasn’t until the 1940’s that we began to manage our crops, farms and ranches in a sustainable fashion that, even with an increasing dependence on foreign sourcing, would make it possible to feed the third of a billion people that live in the United States today.

Before the words Manifest Destiny had come into popular use, our forefathers had already begun their move west.  As early lines were drawn, for instance, the north and south bounds of Connecticut extended well to the west. New York, and other colonies carved their shares out of this area, but much of what is Ohio (called the Western Reserve) was a part of Connecticut as it was being settle in 1796. That’s important because this and other land was available to veterans who were given grants of land to encourage them to build new communities.

Expansionist behavior began from the earliest times of colonialization, and was assumed as a matter of right.  In early records, the first settlers negotiated their use and ownership of land with the Native Americans.  While it is a cliché that our ancestors purchased Manhattan for beads, the early agreements often included trading for other goods, hunting rights and promises to share in the product of farms.  New Jersey records show a clear pattern of making contracts for the land that settlers came to occupy, as well as fair trading with the native population…in most cases.  Sadly, there were abuses and systematic discrimination increased to the time that Manifest Destiny became an excuse for the taking of land, displacement of indigenous people and institutionalized discrimination that continues to be a regrettable mark on our history.

That being said, land records are an important part of our genealogical research.  With the Revolution came the forfeiture of lands previously owned by loyalists.  Generals George Washington, John Sullivan and others were delegated responsibility for dividing the land among veterans who were expanding their families, and their horizons. My ancestors moved north to New Hampshire, and west to northern New York, then with Bounty-Land Warrants, they moved to Ohio.

And here is the opportunity for genealogical researchers…like the military pensions and invalid benefits that became available, those seeking a Land-Bounty Warrant needed to prove their service.  These records, often prepared by or for their widows included details of familial relationships, residences, and employment histories.  These are also primary evidence in the proof of service required for membership in the SAR and DAR.

And, as a final point, the westward movement tends to follow patterns.  Trade routes that include mountain passes and navigable rivers are great clues.  My own ancestors moved along the St. Lawrence to Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, settling within a short distance to the land routes that skirted those waterways.

Good luck on your search for land records and Land-Bounty Warrants.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Genealogy

SAR Compatriot:Michael Tieman
The Power of the Press in Genealogy
 
I have been the SAR Lewis & Clark chapter registrar and for the past 3 years the SAR Oregon state registrar. During that time, I can’t tell you how many times new applicants have asked me …
“How do I find out if an ancestor is a Patriot?”

My answer was always the same … Start by making a list of your known male ancestors who were alive during the Revolutionary War. Then search the DAR database to see if any are there and have approved applications on file.

Simple right? Well, I thought I would take my own advice. I have two approved SAR Patriots, but I figured I had more in the wings. I just needed to take the time to find out.

Two things happened. First, I found some. Secondly, I found them in newspapers.com as my first search, not the DAR database.

You are thinking why did I check the newspapers first? Because I was already there checking on another lead. So, what could I lose?

SCORE, I hit the preverbal gold mine.

Here then are my steps and results.
  1. Checked my known male ancestors who were alive during the Revolutionary War 4th – 5th generations.
    1. Counted 34 direct line males in that time period
    2. More searching through my old files, I found 10 of them that according to the “family stories” fought in the Revolutionary War, but not otherwise documented.
  2. I was rummaging through Newspapers.com looking up a documented article on another person when I decided to randomly choose one of those 10 “Patriots” I chose Isaac Hale b.1763 d. 1839 who I could document my direct lineage to his daughter Emma Hale, but no further.
  3. I plugged in the info on Isaac Hale. Score.
  4. THE EVENING GAZETTE, Port Jervis, NY. Tuesday, Oct. 23, 1888. In that article written about the town relocating his grave was the following info:
    1. “Isaac Hale was the first settler in this locality and was the father-in-law of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.” (My ancestor Emma Hale was the only legal wife of Joseph Smith and had his only legal son).
    2. “When Isaac was 12 years old occurred the first skirmish on the Lexington Green in Massachusetts. In 1777, his 59 year-old grandfather Ward was killed at Addision, VT, while fighting against General Burgoyne and a large Native American force that had mostly come from the Susquehanna Valley in northern PA after 1,200 American soldiers burned their villages and massacred their families.”
    3. “When Hale was seventeen, he enlisted, along with his uncle David, to fight under Colonel Ebenezer Allen’s command as they sought to prevent Canadian military raids into the Mohawk Valley. Hale’s brief tour of duty ended eight days after his enlistment when the younger soldiers marched back home without seeing action and the 17-year-old private was released from service.”
    4. “He may have visited his father, Reuben Hale, or older brother, Reuben Hale Jr., both veterans of the recent war, or with his sisters Naomi and Antha (Diantha).”
    5. “After completing this task, he returned to Vermont to marry Elizabeth Lewis on Sep. 20, 1790, in Wells, VT. One of Elizabeth's ancestors, John Howland, left England on the MAYFLOWER at age 28.”
    6. “Pennsylvania, Veteran Burial Card Name: Isaac Hale Birth Date: 31 Mar. 1783 [-- recorded with incorrect birth year] Death Date: 11 Jan. 1839 Age: 55 Military Branch: Army Veteran of Which War: Revolutionary War Cemetery Name: McKune Cemetery. Cemetery Location: Oakland Township, PA Headstone: Marble”
    7. “US Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application
      Name: Isaac Hale
      SAR Membership: 25191
      Birth Date: 21 Mar. 1763
      Birth Place: Waterbury, CT
      Father: incorrectly recorded as Gideon Hale. Reuben Hale was the father of Isaac Hale.
      Mother: incorrectly recorded as Sarah Watts. Diantha Ward was the mother of Isaac Hale.
      Children: Emma Hale”
  5. So, I found that
    1. My 4th Great Grandfather Isaac Hale was a Patriot
    2. His father, my 5th Great Grandfather Reuben Hale was a Patriot
    3. His grandfather, my 6th Great Grandfather Arah Ward was a Patriot
    4. His wife Elizabeth Lewis was a descendant of John Howland who was a Mayflower passenger. I also quickly found that John Howland’s wife Elizabeth Tilley and her parents were also Mayflower passengers.
  6. Checked for Sources to prove everything in #4 above.
    1. DAR and SAR records on file to prove 4a-c above and I could prove my link to them.
    2. Checked the Mayflower Silver Books and 4d-e above are correct and I could prove my link to them.
That one newspaper article gave me three “approved” Patriots, plus two other non-direct ancestor Patriots, and four “approved” Mayflower passenger ancestors from two separate families.

When I am asked now … “How do I find out if an ancestor is a Patriot?”

I can say with confidence and experience …

"Start by making a list of your known male ancestors who were alive during the Revolutionary War. Then search the DAR database to see if any are there and have approved applications on file, also check newspapers.com for any articles about them as well as their obituary.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

History of the Week

June 8. 1776
The Battle of Trois-Rivières was also known as the Battle of Three Rivers. The British army, under Quebec Governor Sir Guy Carleton, in pursuit of an American force. They defeated an American counterattack, led by Gen. John Sullivan.
Sullivan was impetuous and spoiling for a fight from the very beginning. He decided to establish a base at Sorel, on the American side of the St. Lawrence River midway between Quebec and Montreal, from which he could maneuver and yet hold upper Canada. One of the first things Sullivan did upon his arrival was to launch an attack on the British garrison holding Trois Rivieres.
The American army in Canada had suffered a severe blow in the disastrous attack on Quebec City on December 31, 1775. A heavy flow of supplies and reinforcements allowed the Americans to maintain a presence in the vicinity of Quebec into 1776, but massively superior British artillery made siege impossible, and disease and attrition further thinned their ranks.
In May, a British naval relief squadron sailed into Quebec Harbor. Carleton added the 9th, 20th, 29th and 60th Regiments of Foot along with German troops from Brunswick to his command and sallied out against the Americans. Sullivan was already in retreat towards Montreal.
On June 8, the attack was a fiasco. Sullivan began what was intended to be a surprise attack at 3:00 A.M. The local guide turned on the Patriots and led them down the wrong road. When they discovered that they had been tricked they attempted to backtrack, but to save time they left the public roads and started cross country. They soon found themselves stuck in a swamp.
They reached dry ground about daybreak, and were seen and fired upon by British vessels in the river. In their effort to take cover within the bordering woods, they found themselves falling into another swamp. At that point the group fanned out in all directions and became separated. At some time after 8:00 A.M., Anthony Wayne and about 200 men met up with a group of redcoats, but the Americans were successful in the skirmish that ensued. William Thompson, in control of the main body of the Patriots, was stopped by a line of entrenchments that the British under Gen. John Burgoyne had quickly established.
Thompson did not hesitate to launch an attack on the British lines, but the Patriots were forced to retreat under heavy fire. That retreat was cut off by British troops who had encircled the Americans, and the Patriots fled through the woods toward Sorel. Carleton did not want to take the Americans as prisoners and so they were allowed to escape. He commented to one of his officers at the time: "What would you do with them" Have you spare provisions for them" Or would you send them to Quebec to starve? No, let the poor creatures go home and carry with them a tale which will serve his majesty more effectually than their capture."
They continued for about 2 days, reaching the bridge at Riviere du Loup, over which the British let them pass. Despite his wishes, 236 Americans surrendered to Carleton rather than continue on in flight. Nearly 400 Americans lay dead in the confused fighting at Trois Rivieres, compared to only about a dozen British.

Source: www.myrevolutionarywar.com

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

June 3 Newsletter

SAR Compatriot: Eugene Foley
Taking It to the Streets

This last week I was following my ancestors to Western Pennsylvania and their further migration to Kentucky.  Of course, I’m taking note of those who were in the French & Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.  But I also considered what economic issues might have been a consideration as they moved their sometimes large families from one area to another.



Given the locale of my ancestors, I thought it possible that the Whiskey Rebellion might have been a factor in their move.  This also led me to consider the efficacy of the rebellious history of our country, exemplified by the Boston Teaparty and the protests over the Stamp Tax.  The Stamp Tax, though imposed without participation of those being subjected to its burden, was a seemingly appropriate attempt to recover costs of defending the colonies against the French and Indians.  Similarly, the tax that fomented the Whiskey Rebellion, though not agreed to by the states, might seem an appropriate attempt to recoup federal costs to protect the states.



As it turns out, the Stamp Tax was repealed after only one year.  The tax on distilled spirits became peculiarly uncollectable by the States, despite George Washington’s own efforts to enforce it.  So, the riotous actions of the citizenry did influence the outcome.  While we are appalled by the wanton destruction of property, this has been a part of demonstrating dissatisfaction throughout history.  The British gentleman who was tasked with collecting the stamp tax, was hung in effigy and his house looted, including the tiles on its roof…and the rioters knew of his appointment before he did.  He resigned soon after notice had gotten to him.

Throughout our history as a nation, our people have taken their mutual concerns to the streets.  It does appear, however, that the effectiveness of these showings of concern are not enhanced by violence, on either side of an issue.  Be that as it may, governments have a significant role in the acceleration of violence, and with the advent of cell phone recordings, the police response is open to greater scrutiny than ever before.  And, as the riots in Hong Kong have made clear, the record of response can be seen around the world.

While the study of our ancestors is a fun and sometimes exciting exploration into our history, it has with it the risk of discovering horrific acts alongside the most heroic.  I can’t help but wonder where the balance lies between teaching our children in high school and college the whole story, instead of just the romantic side, that they might hesitate when gatherings begin to become instruments of destruction instead of calls for improvement.

As parents, grandparents and great-grandparents of the next generation of descendants of patriots whose actions made our freedoms possible, WE are the bearers of the histories of our families, both the good and the bad, to the next generation.  And WE are the ones who must find the balance of what needs to be passed to future generations that their ignorance does not lead to new injustices, needless loss of life and property and putting our rights and freedoms in jeopardy.