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Posts Tagged ‘American Revolution’

I spent some time yesterday at an event that I would have never thought of going to before I started exploring our family lines a number of years back. This was the dedication at the Colonel Lindsley Burying Grounds in Lindley, NY by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) of a plaque honoring the service of an ancestor, Samuel Lindsley. I believe he is my 6th or 7th great-uncle.

Kitty Pierce Speaking at DAR Plaque Dedication

Samuel was a young soldier in the Revolution fighting for his local militia out of New Jersey. After the war a number of his family members headed into the new western frontier and settled on a very large tract in a fertile valley containing the Tioga River in what now is currently the towns of Lindley and Presho. His father was a man I have mentioned here before, Col. Eleazer Lindsley. A bit on that later.

I had no idea to expect when they invited me to attend this event as one of the Lindsley descendants. I thought it would be a group of 10 or 12 folks and there would be a few words then we would all take a look at the plaque, shoot a couple of photos and chat a bit. Done. But coming on the scene I saw signs for parking and men in Revolutionary era garb climbing out of their cars.

It turned out it was a real event.

A History of the Flags of the Revolution

There were about 60 attendees, including members of the DAR, local historians and several direct descendants of Samuel Lindsley who came from as far away as San Antonio, Texas and Columbia, South Carolina. There were also members of the Sons of the American Revolution in full period garb. One brought a part of his collection of Revolutionary era flags and gave us a lesson on the history an meaning of each. They then proceeded to raise their muskets and give a resounding salute to honor Samuel. There were several speakers including Kitty Pierce, the Lindley town historian who is a walking encyclopedia of the genealogy and history of that town.

Another speaker was Phil Cirulli, who is a direct descendant of Samuel and whose research and persistence was responsible for the event. Phil, who now resides in South Carolina, told abut his journey in getting Samuel this recognition, about the long process involved in attaining documents and certification. Our paths have crossed a number of times while doing our respective genealogy so it was great to meet and talk with Phil along with a number of other newly discovered distant relations.

I wouldn’t have been at this event if it weren’t for a painting I did a couple years back. It was from my Icons series which were my imagined images of how I thought some of my ancestors might look. There was no research or source material. Pure imagination. One was of Eleazer Lindsley, the patriarch of the Lindsley family that came to this area around 1790. The blogpost about Eleazer, a most interesting character, came to the attention of historian Kitty Pierce and soon spread to Phil and other members of the family.

I was surprised how many people mentioned the painting. But even more surprising was that upon meeting Phil, I saw a striking similarity between Phil and my imagined image of Eleazer. Similar bald head, similar nose and chin. Even the ear looked familiar. Here’s a photo  so that you can make your own determination.

Phil Cirulli and his Ancestor, Eleazer Lindsley

All in all, a most interesting event and one that further confirmed my ties to this area and this land. It was pleasure to meet these folks and send them good wishes from their newly found distant cousin.

For this Sunday music, I have fittingly chose  the song Ode to My Family from The Cranberries. Have yourself a good Sunday.

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GC Myers- Icon-William EnglandAs pointed out in recent posts, I’ve been working on a group of new work that I am calling Icons, images that put people that I have come to know through doing some genealogical work.  They are not intended to be accurate depictions of these ancestors.  In each case, I have just found something compelling that sticks with me.  Such is the case with the painting above, a 10″ by 20″ canvas that I call Icon: William England.

I grew up knowing almost nothing about my ancestry.  In fact, I thought that a generation or two back, somebody had inadvertently tipped over a big rock and we had spurted out before they could put the rock back in place.  Not a lot of esteem at that point.  So it was a thrill as each new layer of our family history was uncovered.  I was pleased to see how many ancestors served in all of the wars of our country going back hundreds of years.  Many had fought in the American Revolution.

It turns out, on both sides of the conflict.

I can’t remember the source but I read once that during the revolution the American public was divided pretty evenly into three parts: a third that desperately wanted our independence from Britain, a third that wanted to remain part of the British Empire and a third that really didn’t care either way so long as they could live their lives as they had up to that point.  The  first group, of course, were the Patriots that we have come to believe was everyone living in America at that point and the second were the Loyalists who identified themselves as British living in the America colony.

One of my ancestors was a man named William England who fell into the Loyalist group.  Born in Staffordshire, England, he came to America as a teen and settled in the Saratoga Springs area of New York after serving in the British 60th Regiment during the French and Indian War.  He purchased a farmstead in Kingsbury, NY and was settled in when the Revolution broke out.Faced with the choice of breaking from his homeland or remaining loyal, he chose to protect what he felt was his British homeland.

Serving as a Sargeant with McAlpin’s Rangers, he fought in a number of battles including Burgoyne’s defeat at Saratoga.  British troops and families were driven north into Canada, settling in the Three-Rivers area of Quebec.  It was there that he, along with many other Loyalists, settled and raised his family in the years after the war, most of his children integrating through marriage into the early families of French Canada.

Many worked their way back into America in the late 1800’s, including his grand-daughter Mary England who died in St. Regis Falls, NY in 1896.  She was my 3rd great grandmother who was married to Jean-Baptiste Therrien.  Many of their children’s names were anglicized from Therrien to Farmer when they moved into NY.  I came across a photo of her when she was quite old and you can see the hardness of rural Canadian life written in her face.

This painting shows the conflict ( or at least the conflict I perceive) that took place in William England when the war broke out.  He had to make a hard decision, one that cost him his farm and all of his possessions, in order to stay loyal to his homeland.  He had to break the bond ( shown here in the form of the broken tree limb) with the America that emerged and face a new life in a territory he did not know.

We all have interesting twists in our family trees, some that take us in directions we would never imagine.  While I am proud of my ancestors who fought for the American cause, I am equally pleased with the loyalty and devotion shown by William England.

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