Sunday Salute #46 ~ Thomas Ogan ~ Revolutionary War

Thomas Ogan, my paternal 4th Great Grandfather, was born in 1740 at sea in the Caribbean. He was the son of Major Thomas Henry Ogan (1716-1779) and Elizabeth MNK. He married Ann Martin (1738-1813) in Frederick Virginia about 1766. They had 5 children, 4 girls, and 1 boy.

Thomas, at the age of 16 fought under George Washington during the French and Indian War between 1756 and 1763. Twelve years later at the start of the Revolutionary War, Thomas joined Captain William Johnson’s 11th Virginia Regiment under the command of Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Brigade in 1775. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. Thomas was a wagoner in the regiment.

Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. What set Morgan’s Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifle barrels with thin walls and curved grooves inside the barrels which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets. Morgan used this advantage to initiate guerrilla tactics by which he first killed the Indian guides the British used to find their way through the rugged terrain and also to kill the British officers that led the troops. While this tactic was viewed as dishonorable by the British elites, it was, in fact, an extremely effective method that created chaos and discord for the British Army.

On December 31, 1775, a battle was fought between the Continental Army and the defenders of Quebec City. During this encounter, Daniel and 400 of his men including Thomas, were captured while leading an assault against the British. Benedict Arnold had originally been leading it, but he was injured and this forced Daniel to take command of the troops. They got trapped in the lower city and were forced to surrender. They were held prisoners until reinforcements arrived in the early spring.

Thomas spent the entirety of the war in Morgans brigade fighting many battles including the one at Valley Forge with General George Washington. He also fought in the battle of Freeman’s Clearing under the command of General Horatio Gates.

After the war, he and his family were given a land bounty of 200 acres in Rockingham Virginia. Here he farmed the land and raised his family under the flag of freedom that he fought for. He died at home in December 1813 at the age of 73.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Sunday’s Salute #45 ~ Benjamin Kimball ~ King Philips War

Seal of Bradford, Essex County, Massachusetts Colony

Benjamin Kimball, my maternal 8th Great Uncle, was born in 1637 in Watertown, Middlesex County, Colonial Massachusetts, the youngest of 10 children born to immigrants, Richard Kimball (1595-1675) and Ursula Scott (1596-1661). He married Mercy Hazeltine (1642-1707) on April 16, 1661. On May 12, 1663, they moved to Rowley, Massachusetts, where they bought land. At this time Rowley included within its limits the present Bradford, Georgetown, and Groveland. His land was in what is now known as Bradford. On Nov. 23, 1667, he bought several tracts of land, among them was land that he gave to his older brother, Thomas Kimball. Thomas was killed by an Indian on May 3, 1676, during one of the raids on the town of Bradford during the King Philip’s War. His wife and 5 children were captured and taken prisoner, however, they were returned to the town on June 11, 1676. On Feb. 20, 1668, at the first town meeting in Bradford, Benjamin was chosen an overseer of the town. He served in this capacity until March 15, 1674. On Jan. 6, 1675, he and his wife Mercy, sold forty acres of land to the inhabitants of that town for the use of the minister.

Samuel Appleton

In 1668, Samuel Appleton was chosen to serve as a deputy to the Massachusetts General Court and received the title of Lieutenant. He served in the company of his brother, Captain John Appleton, from 1669 to 1671. He then served by himself from 1673 to 1675. In 1675, King Philip’s War broke out and Appleton was promoted to Captain. On September 24, 1675, Appleton received a commission to command a foot company of 100 men which included the two Kimball brothers. (Benjamin was “cornet” of troops and was known as “Cornet Kimball.”). He proceeded to the Connecticut River Valley, where Captain Thomas Lathrop’s Company had been destroyed on September 18.

On October 4, Major John Pynchon resigned as Commander-in-Chief of the militia headquarters in Hadley and Appleton was chosen to succeed him. Not knowing where the next attack would come from, Appleton divided his army among three towns. He stationed a force in Northampton under the command of Lieutenant Nathaniel Sealy. This group was supplemented by troops under the command of Robert Treat of Connecticut. A second group, under the command of Captains Jonathan Poole and Samuel Moseley, was stationed in Hatfield. Appleton himself commanded the third force, which was stationed in Hadley.

At noon on October 19, several fires were spotted north of Hadley. Captain Moseley sent out a scouting party of ten men who were ambushed two miles outside of the garrison. Six of the men were killed and three were captured. Moseley sent to Hadley and Northampton for reinforcements. Appleton and most of his men crossed the river and joined Moseley. Around 4 pm, a large band of Native American warriors charged the settlement. Appleton defended one side of the town, Captain Poole defended the other, and Captain Moseley defended the middle. Appleton’s sergeant was killed by his side and Appleton just missed getting shot as a bullet went through his hat. After two hours the warriors retreated in confusion. The battle at Hatfield was the Native Americans’ first real setback of the war and a turning point for the English colonists, as it proved that the Native Americans could be repelled if the militia was prepared.

In November 1675, the commissioners of the United Colonies of New England had evidence that the neutral Narragansett tribe was assisting Metacomet. They chose to launch a preemptive strike on the Narragansett. On December 8, 527 members of the Massachusetts militia, led by Appleton, gathered in Dedham, Massachusetts. Plymouth Colony gathered 159 men under the command of William Bradford and Connecticut moved 300 men under the command of Robert Treat, along with 150 Mohegan warriors. Governor Josiah Winslow of Plymouth Colony was named Commander-in-Chief. On December 19, 1675, the Narragansett fort was captured in the Great Swamp Fight. 110 of Appleton’s men were either killed or wounded in the battle. Afterwards, Appleton and his remaining men returned to Boston, and he retired from active service.

Benjamin returned home to Bradford, and he continued his life as a wheelwright, carpenter, and a farmer. They raised 6 children. In 1690, he built a large 3-story house for his family. The house still stands on the junction of Salem Street and Main in Bradford. Benjamin died on June 16, 1696, and he is buried in the Bradford Cemetery.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Sunday’s Salute #44 ~ John “Long John” Strother ~ Civil War & Murder

John R. Strother my 4th cousin 6 times removed, was born May 18, 1834, near Sparta, Hancock County, Georgia, into a wealthy family. He was the son of Richard Strother (1768-1838) and Mary Black (1801-1874). When John was only four years old, his father died. His mother raised John and his four siblings on the family plantation in Hancock County. After the sale of the plantation in the 1850s, the family members moved to Baldwin County. With the outbreak of the Civil War, John mustered in the Confederate forces on June 12, 1861, serving as a private in Company F, 9th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry.

He served under Captain George Hillyer and stayed in this regiment for the entirety of the war. This group of men participated in many battles including Price’s Farm, Virginia on June 27, 1861; Leesburg, Virginia on October 21, 1861; Rappahannock Bridge, Virginia on March 29, 1862; Yorktown, Virginia on April 19-25, 1862; and last but not least at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on July 2-6 1863.

After the war, John returned to Baldwin County and married Mary Price (1841-1871) on March 14, 1865. In January 1866 he was elected sheriff of Baldwin County. On March 24, 1866, following an unknown misunderstanding, John shot Mr. W. A. Robertson in the right thigh, who died a few days later. John resigned as sheriff and fled. On June 2, 1866, Georgia Governor Charles J. Jenkins issued a proclamation offering a $200 reward for John’s capture. While no details are available, John was later exonerated. He returned to Baldwin County, and in 1871 he married Sarah Kenan (1833-1872). However, on July 3, 1871, John shot and killed Lewis Holmes Kenan, a member of a prominent Baldwin County family and former state senator, on a main street in Milledgeville, Georgia. Again, John had to flee. Friends put him in a crate and loaded him on a train bound for Louisiana, where his first cousin, Berry Strother, could provide refuge.

John lived alone in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, near Kimmelton. He taught penmanship and dancing. Being a fugitive from the law, he carried a rifle everywhere he went. He had been raised as a southern gentleman, so felt superior to most people in the community. He was a ladies man, hated and feared by many. With Naluse Americe “Nettie” Johnson (1854-1889), he had a son, John William Strother, born February 5, 1887, at Hico, Lincoln Parish. He and Naluse never married.

In November 1888, John taunted his neighbor, Turner Bentley, saying Turner’s wife Mary was carrying his child. On a fall morning, 20 November 1888, John R “Long John” Strother left his home in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, on horseback. He had not gone far when three men, Turner Bentley, Anders Lloyd and Will King attacked him. John was shot from his horse, and, after he fell, was shot in the top of the head with buckshot. Neighbors said it was a most brutal murder. “Long John” was 54 years old. He is buried in Buckner Cemetery in Claiborne Parish.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Sunday’s Salute #41 ~ Eli Coffey ~ Substitute Soldier Revolutionary War

I just wanted to place this disclaimer here: I understand that some of the events that is written about in this blog are disturbing. However, it is a part of history and it should not be covered up because of this. This blog does not glorify the events nor does it condone them. It is just stating the facts of the little known history of the Revolutionary War.

Eli Coffey, my 1st cousin 5 times removed, was born on March 1, 1763, in Blue Run, Orange County, Virginia. He was one of eleven children born to Reverend James Coffey (1729-1786) and Elizabeth Cleveland (1729-1826). He moved with his parents and siblings to Morgan, Wilkes County, North Carolina in 1778. Here is where he began an unusual stint in the Revolutionary War.

In December of 1780, Eli’s maternal Uncle Thomas Fields, was drafted into the regiment of Captain John Barton. Thomas had a large family and a sick wife, and he asked if he could be excused from serving. His request was denied, but he was told if he found a substitute he would be able to stay home. When Eli heard of his Uncle’s dilemma, he volunteered to be a scout in Thomas’ place. The length of service was only for 3 months. By 1779, George Washington had earned the famous moniker “Father of His Country.” However the Iroquois Indians of the time bestowed on Washington another, not-so-flattering title: Conotocarious, or the “Town Destroyer.” This lesser-known title also had its origins in 1779, when General Washington ordered what at the time was the largest-ever campaign against the Indians in North America. After suffering for nearly two years from Iroquois raids on the Colonies’ northern frontier, Washington and Congress decided to strike back.

Butler’s Rangers

On the afternoon of November 11, 1778, Captain Benjamin Warren had led a group of soldiers out of the small fort at Cherry Valley, New York, and straight into a scene from hell. As the Patriot soldiers walked through the once-thriving farming community, they saw nothing but carnage: a man weeping over the mutilated and scalped bodies of his wife and four children; other corpses with their heads crushed by tomahawks and rifle butts; charred human remains in the smoking ruins of cabins and barns. It was, Warren later wrote, “a shocking sight my eyes never beheld before of savage and brutal barbarity.” The savagery had begun early that morning, when a hundreds-strong force of Loyalist militiamen, Seneca Indians and a few British soldiers had appeared out of the fog and rain. The town and its small garrison were taken completely by surprise, and the raiders—led by Tory Captain Walter Butler and Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant—launched into an orgy of death and destruction. The fort managed to hold out, but the town and its people were defenseless. By the time the attackers withdrew, more than 30 civilians—mostly women and children—and 16 soldiers were dead and nearly 200 people left homeless. The assault soon became known as the “Cherry Valley Massacre,” and it would help convince General George Washington to launch a massive, no-holds-barred retaliatory expedition.

Captain John Barton led one of the regiments that retaliated against the British and their Indian allies. Eli’s job was to scout the countryside for the villages where these Indians were living. It is not known if he ever participated in the fighting between the two factions, or if he only pointed the way to the villages. The Indians who stood with the British generally fought alongside American and Canadian Loyalists. The most infamous band of Loyalists to utilize Indian allies was Butler’s Rangers—a partisan regiment formed in 1777 under Lt. Col. John Butler, a Tory from the Mohawk Valley. While focusing their activities on the New York and Pennsylvania settlements, Butler’s irregulars ranged as far out as Virginia and Michigan. They were extremely effective and, at times, brutal. The 1778 Wyoming and Cherry Valley massacres—the bloodiest of many border fights—were largely the work of Butler’s Rangers, together with “Cornplanter”, a Dutch-Seneca war chief and Brant’s Mohawks and Indians from other tribes. Again, it is not known if Eli actually participated in any of these events or if he just scouted out the targets of them.

Eli completed his service and returned home to North Carolina. Within a few months his older brother Ambrose was drafted to go against the Cherokees, but he was severely near-sighted. Once again Eli volunteered to serve, this time for his brother. He enlisted as a horseman. He entered the service in Wilkes County, North Carolina under Lieutenant Isbell of Wilkes. Colonel Miller of Rutherford, Colonel Joseph McDowell and General Charles McDowell of Burke rendezvoused with Isbell at Pleasant Garden, Burke County, North Carolina. They crossed the Mountain at the head of Swannanoa River, and marched forward crossing the French Broad River, the Big and Little Pigeon Rivers, and Tuckaseegee entering an Indian town called Tuckaseegee and they took the town. They then crossed the Tennessee River and headwaters of the Hiwassee River, passing through the various parts of the Cherokee Nation. They burnt down other Indian villages along the way including the Overhill Towns, the Valley towns and the Shoemake Towns and then returned home and the entire regiment was discharged at the expiration of the three months, the term for which he had entered.

Eli married Hannah Allen (1765-1845) in 1790, and they had 3 sons. Eli bought 50 acres of land in Burke County and began farming. They moved to Wayne County, Kentucky, about 1815 where he then purchased 21 acres. In 1828, they once again moved, this time to Mc Minn County, Tennessee, near his older brother Rice’s farm. Eli died on September 5, 1847, at the age of 84.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday’s Salute #39 ~ William Riley Divine ~ Union Soldier

William Riley Divine is my maternal 1st cousin 4 times removed. He was born in 1819 in Spartanburg, Greenville County, South Carolina. He was the 3rd child of 7 born to James Marshall Divine Sr (1793-1872) and Nancy Calloway (1796-1872). His family moved to Monroe County, Tennessee when he was 5 years old.

Here he married Amelia “Milly” Webb (1825-1897) on September 27, 1842, and they had 18 children, 5 sons, 10 daughters, and 4 who died at birth and their gender is not known. In 1860, William moved his ever growing family to Morgan, Dade County, Missouri. Here they purchased a farm. On April 14, 1862, he mustered into the E 14th Missouri State Militia as a Private in Springfield, Missouri.

At the battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas December 6, 1862, Captain Julian Greene’s county company of the 14th cavalry, Missouri State Militia, fired the first gun on the Federal side discharged by Gen. Herron’s division. The entire portion of the regiment engaged, numbering about 100 men, and they performed a valuable service for the Union cause by uniting with 25 men of the 1st Arkansas (Union) cavalry and 175 men of Judson’s 6th Kansas. They were able to hold a road, thus preventing the Confederate General Hindman from throwing his entire force upon General Herron and crushing him before General Blunt could come up and cooperate. The Confederates were delayed two hours by this small force.

On the 14th of December 40 men of the 14th M. S. M., under Lieutenant John R. Kelso, 60 enrolled militia under Captains Green and Salee, raided the Confederate saltpeter works on White river, near Yellville, Arkansas. They took Captains Jesse Mooney and P. S. McNamara prisoner as well as 36 other men. They then destroyed 35 stands of arms, a complete three months supply of provisions for 50 men and burnt four buildings, along with machinery, kettles, manufactured saltpeter, etc.This destruction cost the Confederacy the amount of $30,000 and brought their 38 prisoners to Springfield without the loss of a man.

William was transferred to the 8th Regiment Calvary on February 4, 1863, but he mustered out in April of that year. He returned home and continued to farm. He was also made a Justice of the Peace in Dade County. On October 10, 1874, William received a Homestead Deed for 160 acres of land in the township of Bona. He became sick about 6 months later and died on October 4, 1875, at the age of 56.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday’s Salute #36 ~ Bacon’s Rebellion ~ Thomas Hayes

Bacon’s Rebellion was an armed rebellion by Virginia settlers that took place in 1676. It was led by Nathaniel Bacon against Governor William Berkeley.

Starting in the 1650s, as English colonists began to settle the Northern Neck frontier of Virginia the Chicacoan, some Doeg, Patawomeck and Rappahannock Indians began moving into the region and joined then local tribes in disputing the settlers’ claims to land and resources. In July 1666, the colonists declared war on them. By 1669, colonists had patented the land on the west of the Potomac as far north as My Lord’s Island. By 1670, they had driven most of the Doeg out of the Virginia colony and into Maryland.

Thousands of Virginians from all classes, including those in indentured servitude and races rose up in arms against Governor Berkeley because of his lack of leadership. They chased him from Jamestown, Virginia, and ultimately torching the capital. The rebellion was first suppressed by a few armed merchant ships from London whose captains sided with Berkeley and the loyalists. Government forces from England arrived soon after and spent several years defeating pockets of resistance and reforming the colonial government to be once more under direct royal control.

Modern historians have suggested that the rebellion was a power play by Nathaniel Bacon against Berkeley and his favoritism towards certain members of the court. While Bacon was on the court, he was not within Berkeley’s inner circle of council members and disagreed with him on many issues.

Bacon’s followers used the rebellion as an effort to gain government recognition of the shared interests among all social classes of the colony in protecting the “commonality” and advancing its welfare.

Nathaniel Bacon

According to the Historic Jamestown National Park website, “For many years, historians considered the Virginia Rebellion of 1676 to be the first stirring of revolutionary sentiment in North America, which culminated in the American Revolution almost exactly one hundred years later. However, in the past few decades, based on findings from a more distant viewpoint, historians have come to understand Bacon’s Rebellion as a power struggle between two stubborn, selfish leaders rather than a glorious fight against tyranny.”

Thomas Hayes, my 7th Great Grandfather, was born in Ireland in 1645. He arrived in Surry County, Virginia in 1665. He married Prudence Flake (1657-1702), in Surry County in 1677. They had 6 children, 5 sons, and 1 daughter. As a witness in a lawsuit, he made a deposition stating that he was 23 years of age in 1668. He took part in Bacon’s Rebellion, 1676, and had to flee the James River valley after Bacon’s death. In vengeance, Governor Berkeley hunted down every known participant in that popular uprising. Thomas Hayes found refuge in Maryland and then in Northumberland County, VA where he dies in 1715 at the age of 70.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday’s Salute #35 ~ John Ennis Jr. ~ Revolutionary War

John Ennis Jr, my 5th Great Grandfather, was born in 1736 in Albemarle County, Virginia. His father, John Ennis Sr. emigrated from Athlone, Westmeath County, Ireland, when he was 6 years old arriving in Boston in 1716. They settled in Virginia. John Jr married Mary Ann Whitlock (1740-1827) in 1763 in Albemarle County. They had 5 children, 2 sons, and 3 daughters. John was a man of prominence in Virginia having inherited a sizable estate from his parents.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, John mustered in as a Private to the 4th Virginia Regiment on December 28, 1775, at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Virginia. He served in this regiment until 1783. He participated in 6 major battles over that time, with the last one being the Siege of Charleston in North Carolina.

The siege of Charleston was a major engagement and major British victory, fought between March 29 to May 12, 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. The British, following the collapse of their northern strategy in late 1777, and their withdrawal from Philadelphia in 1778, shifted their focus to the American Southern Colonies.

After approximately six weeks of siege, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, commanding the Charleston garrison, surrendered his forces to the British. It was one of the worst American defeats of the war. The British captured some 5,266 prisoners, 311 artillery pieces, 9,178 artillery rounds, 5,916 muskets, 33,000 rounds of ammunition, 15 Regimental colors, 49 ships and 120 boats, plus 376 barrels of flour, and a large storehouse of rum, rice and indigo. Following the surrender, the captured soldiers were brought to a powder storehouse. A Hessian officer warned that some of the guns might still be loaded, but he was ignored. One prematurely fired, detonating 180 barrels of powder, further discharging 5,000 muskets in the storehouse. The accident killed approximately 200 people and destroyed six houses. The prisoners of the siege were diverted to multiple locations, including prison shops, the old barracks where the College of Charleston is today, and the Old Exchange and Provost “Dungeon”. Prison hulks awaited the majority of the 2,571 Continental prisoners, while parole was granted to the militia and civilians who promised not to take up arms. This ended the power of an American army in the South.

John and a few of his fellow soldiers were able to escape. They had been starved and treated horribly however, when they returned home he rejoined the fight. He mustered out on January 1, 1783.

Around 1805, John and most of his grown children trekked to Warren County, Kentucky from Amherst County, Virginia. There they bought several adjoining properties and began farming. John died in Warren County on January 15, 1829, at the age of 89.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday’s Salute ~ Ulysses S. Grant ~ Soldier, President, Civil Rights Champion?

Hiram Ulysses Simpson Grant is my 4th cousin 7 times removed. I have made mention of him in a couple of previous posts, but I thought I could feature him in one of the Sunday’s Salute Blogs. Then as I was researching his military career, I discovered that I was more impressed with some of the things he did as President. I have always loved history and I excelled in it in school. In all my years I don’t ever remember hearing about some of these accomplishments.

He was born on April 27, 1822 , in Point Pleasant, Ohio, and died July 23, 1885, in Mount McGregor, New York. During the Civil War, Ulysses joined the Union Army in 1861, and led the Vicksburg campaign, which gained control of the Mississippi River in 1863. After his victory at Chattanooga, President Abraham Lincoln promoted him to Lieutenant General. For thirteen months, Grant fought Robert E. Lee during the high-casualty Overland Campaign and at Petersburg. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox. A week later, Lincoln was assassinated, and was succeeded by President Andrew Johnson, who promoted Grant to General of the Army in 1866. Later Grant openly broke with Johnson over Reconstruction policies; Grant used the Reconstruction Acts, which had been passed over Johnson’s veto, to enforce civil rights for recently freed African Americans.

As a war hero but a reluctant politician, Grant was unanimously nominated by the Republican Party and was elected president in 1868. As president, Grant stabilized the post-war national economy, created the Department of Justice, and prosecuted the Ku Klux Klan. He appointed African Americans and Jewish Americans to prominent federal offices. On March 18, 1869, Grant signed his first law, pledging to redeem in gold the greenback currency issued during the Civil War. In 1871, he created the first Civil Service Commission. Grant supported both amnesty for Confederate leaders and civil rights for former slaves. He worked for ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment and went to Capitol Hill to win passage of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. The Liberal Republicans and Democrats united behind Grant’s opponent in the presidential election of 1872, but he was overwhelmingly re-elected. Grant’s Native American policy had several successes. Grant named Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian who had served with him as a staff officer, commissioner of Indian affairs. In foreign affairs, the Grant administration peacefully resolved the Alabama claims against Great Britain.His 1874 veto of a bill to increase the amount of legal tender diminished the currency crisis during the next quarter century, and he received praise two years later for his graceful handling of the controversial election of 1876, when both Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Jones Tilden claimed election to the presidency.

I now have the desire to read more about all of our previous presidents to see what they accomplished while they served our nation.

Sunday’s Salute ~ William Darrell Vickrey ~ World War II

William Darrell Vickrey, my 1st cousin, was born on December 24, 1922, in Wheat Springs, Missouri. He was the firstborn of 10 children born to Hazel Clara Hughes (1901-1953) and Kenneth Carlton Vickrey (1894-1958). William went by the name Darrell his whole life. He was raised on the family farm in the rural Missouri Town of Sweet Springs. When Darrel was 10 years old his family bought a new farm in Otterville, Cooper County, Missouri .

At the age of 20 years old, Darrell enlisted in the Army. After boot camp, he became part of the 528th Engineer Light Pontoon Company, and he was sent to England. This regiment was a combat engineer unit organized and trained to transport and maintain its stream-crossing equipage, to construct floating bridges and rafts with this equipage, to guard and maintain completed bridges, to regulate traffic thereon, and to dismantle bridges and rafts. They were responsible for construction of floating bridges and rafts assisted by general engineer troops. Light pontoon companies would be attached to divisions engaged in stream-crossing operations in accordance with the tactical situation.

He made many trips to Germany where he helped to ferry infantry and special forces troops in this M2 assault boat. Within a year he was promoted to the rank of Sargent. He also served in England; France; Belgium; and the European Theater. He participated in the following Campaigns or Battles: Operation Overlord (D-Day Normandy Invasion) Utah Beach, Battle of the Bulge. He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal.

After the war he returned to the United States and completed his service in the Army. On December 3, 1945, Darrell was going to catch a train from the Union Station in Chicago to the Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. He was running late that morning and arrived at the ticket counter just in time to buy his ticket. He heard the engineer yell for the last boarding call, and he ran quickly through the Station and out to the platform. The train was just slowly pulling away from the platform so Darrel ran as fast as he could, and jumped towards the open train door. He didn’t make it, and he fell under the train and was killed. He was just 22 years old.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

Sunday’s Salute ~ David Hunter Strother ~ Brigadier General

David Hunter Strother, my 3rd cousin 5 times removed, was born September 26, 1816, in Martinsburg, Berkeley County, Virginia. He was the oldest of 8 children born to Colonel John Strother (1782-1862) and Elizabeth Hunter Pendleton (1786-1861). He was the only son that lived to adulthood. After receiving his schooling at the Martinsburg academy, as well as his father’s tutelage, David traveled to Philadelphia to study drawing in 1829. He also spent a year (1832) at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.
In 1835 David and his friend John Ranson took a 500-mile round trip hike in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains, down to Natural Bridge and Rockbridge County, Virginia, and back up through the Shenandoah Valley, which changed his outlook on life. In 1837–38, David traveled to New York City to study painting under Samuel F. B. Morse, who later became more famous for inventing the telegraph. David first married Anne Wolfe (1830-1850) in 1849, and they had one daughter, Emily (1850), but mother and daughter died. David then married Mary Elliott on May 6. 1861, and they had 2 sons, with one dying at 5 years old.
At the beginning of the Civil War in June 1861 David volunteered as a topographer due to his detailed knowledge of the Shenandoah Valley. By March 1862 as West Virginia continued its drive toward statehood, he received a commission as captain in the Union Army and was assigned to assist General Nathaniel Banks in the Valley Campaign. In June 1862, he accepted a commission as Lt. Col. of the 3rd West Virginia Cavalry, and was the topographer on General Pope’s staff during the Battle of Cedar Mountain and the Second Battle of Manassas. During the Antietam Campaign, he served on General McClellan’s staff until that officer was relieved in November 1862. He then returned to the staff of General Banks, again seeing action at the Battle of Port Richie in Louisiana. During the Gettysburg Campaign, he was back to Washington, unassigned, but promoted to Colonel of his regiment (which he never commanded in the field).
During the war David documented his wartime experiences in a detailed journal, some of which Harper’s Monthly published after the war as “Personal Recollections of the War.” His articles won praise for their objective viewpoint and humor. On June 12, 1864, Colonel Strother was chief of staff to his distant cousin General David Hunter. He was involved in 30 battles, though never wounded. He resigned his commission on September 10, 1864, when General Hunter was replaced by General Philip Sheridan. In August 1865, David was appointed a brevet brigadier general of volunteers and remained Adjutant General of Virginia militia into 1866.
Due to his dedication to his home state, especially its rural character, he moved to Charleston for a short period in the early 1870s. There, he edited a newspaper and dedicated himself to furthering West Virginia’s growth and well-being. He convinced state leaders to prioritize infrastructure initiatives. David became one of the first writers to understand West Virginia’s unique place in both wanting to preserve its natural beauty while also encouraging growth, both economic and industrial.
In 1878, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed David as the General Consul to Mexico. In that capacity he hosted former General and President Ulysses S. Grant and dealt with the problems of various Americans in that country. He also dealt with the country’s relations with the government of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. He served until 1885, after which he returned to West Virginia. David died in Charles town, West Virginia three years later on March 8, 1888, at the age of 71.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.