My email from Ancestry.com was illuminating.
The numbers are fascinating. About 6 in 10 of us have a family member who lived in America during the Revolutionary War period, while only 1 in 40 have ancestors who participated in the war. That’s a lot of Revolutionary War links; 183 million folks alive today share that connection.
There are several men in my family tree who are said to have served in the Revolutionary War.
I've only been able to research one of them so far - my 4th great grandfather, Jesse Williams.
Jesse was born on 19 Jun 1750 in Newcastle Co., DE. According to his Revolutionary War pension file, he moved to Baltimore Co., MD, where he enlisted about a year and a half after his marriage to Elizabeth Rachel Gott on 24 Nov 1774. At the time of his enlistment, his second child, Richard Gott Williams, was just a couple of months old.
In the summer of 1776, he was a private, serving for three weeks. Fall of 1777, he served as a private for five weeks. Spring of 1778, as a sergeant for five weeks, and in 1779, he was an ensign for four weeks. His service was with Col. Darby Lux' regiment.
By 1780, Jesse had moved his family to Culpepper Co., VA, and during the summer of 1781, he served two months under the command of Capt. Lillard and Col. Slaughter.
On 17 Aug 1833, he was awarded a pension of $21.26 per year for his service in the Revolutionary War - about the equivalent of $569 in today's money.
Jesse Williams died 29 Sep 1834 in Rockcastle Co., KY of a femoral hemorrhage while shoeing a horse. He was buried in the Phillips Family Cemetery, Wildie, Rockcastle Co., KY.
So I guess I'm one of the 1 in 40.
Doesn't really make any difference when you consider the reason we Americans celebrate this day.
Whether you had an ancestor who fought in that first American war or not, you probably have at least one who has served in one or more wars fought since then to keep the freedom won during the Revolutionary War.
And this date on the calendar shouldn't be the only time we remember that war, or the men and women who have served our country since then.
Our ancestors paid a price so we could be free. They gave us a gift that we have come to know as a right belonging to all Americans.
We should remember them every time we vote (you *do* vote, don't you?)...
Every time we get involved in a friendly little debate at the town cafe...
Every time we take our three minutes before the City Council or the School Board and tell 'em how we think they ought to do it.
Every time we write a blog entry.
Take some time to remember them today.