A Divinely Inspired Constitution

July 5, 2014

Constitution Hall, Washington DC
NSDAR Headquarters

I suspect that there are a large number of thoughtful Americans who believe the US Constitution to be divinely inspired. It was the first written constitution in the world. Since then, most nations of the world have themselves adopted written Constitutions and our US Constitution was a model for almost all of them. Those facts alone are awe-inspiring. However, it was George Washington who described its drafting in a 1788 letter to General Lafayette, as “little short of a miracle.”

“It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the delegates from so many different states (which states you know are also different from each other in their manners, circumstances, and prejudices) should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well-founded objections.”


The First Virginia Regiment

January 13, 2012

Lee’s Stratford Landing

December 6, 2011

Revolutionary War Image

On 30 March 1781, two hundred thirty years ago, British sailors from armed vessels anchored in the Potomac River near Saint Clement’s [Blackistone] Island, and attempted to land at Stratford Landing as part of a mission to destroy and loot the plantation houses along both sides of the river. From his home Chantilly, which had a good view of the island, Richard Henry Lee, Lieutenant of the Westmoreland militia, watched the movements of the ships. The British launched smaller craft to approach the shoreline while the large ships fired cannons to cover the attack. Richard Henry Lee met them with a small, ill-armed group of local citizens. In the skirmish that followed, the Westmoreland militia repelled the attackers, killing one British sailor who was buried on Stratford beach.

Stratford Landing

The image, Lee’s Stratford Landing, is subject to copyright by Edna Barney. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.


Marquis de LaFayette

June 25, 2010

Revolutionary War Image

“Humanity has won its battle. Liberty now has a country.” ~~Marquis de Lafayette (1757 – 1834)

The bust is from The Rotunda at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

The image, Marquis de LaFayette (1757 – 1834), is subject to copyright by Edna Barney. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.


The Man Who Changed the World

February 22, 2010

Revolutionary War Image

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE WASHINGTON

HAPPY 278th BIRTHDAY to the Man Who Changed the World – General George Washington of Mount Vernon, Virginia, who wrote “The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.”

George WASHINGTON (1732 – 1799) was born on February 22, 1732, at “Popes Creek,” a home that his father had built in the 1720s in Westmoreland County, Virginia. George Washington was raised there and in King George and Fairfax Counties, Virginia.

George Washington died in his bedroom at Mount Vernon on December 14th, 1799. His will directed that he be buried on the grounds of his beloved estate where he had selected a site for a new brick tomb to replace the original burial vault which was badly weathered and succumbing to the elements. However, the new tomb was not completed until more than thirty years later. It was in 1831, that the earthly remains of George Washington and his beloved consort Martha were removed there. Every day from April through October a wreath laying ceremony is performed by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, at 10 am and 2 pm, at the Tomb of Washington, in tribute to America’s greatest leader.

George Washington, America’s first and greatest president, is one of the four American presidents carved into the granite at Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.

A grateful nation remembered its patriot warrior president, George Washington of Mount Vernon, Virginia, by erecting a great obelisk, the Washington Monument, to his memory in their nation’s capital. George Washington’s birthday once was celebrated in this land with great fanfare on February 22nd. Today George Washington’s birthday seems forgotten or remembered only as “Presidents’ Day,” whilst men of lesser importance to our nation’s birth and legacy are accorded a day unto themselves.

George Washington

A good moral character is the first essential in a man.” ~~George Washington

Today, 22 February 2010, few Americans appreciate the indispensable role played by George Washington in the formation of the United States of America. Without General George Washington, there probably would not be a United States of America today. George Washington was America’s First Great General. He was an indispensable leader of the American Revolution. Our forebears described him as First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen.

However, not everyone has forgotten the greatness of the man. Today, at his old Virginia plantation home on the Potomac River, General George Washington will be receiving birthday greetings in person, as he did so graciously in olden times. MountVernon.org

The images of George Washington, are copyright by Edna Barney.


Colonel Edward Hand Reenactment

December 28, 2009

Citizens of Lawrence, exercise your historic rights! On Saturday, January 2, 2010 join the 48TH annual Colonel Hand Historic March. Help us reenact the day in January 1777, when right here in Lawrence (Maidenhead) Township Colonel Edward Hand and his Pennsylvania riflemen delayed over 6,000 British troops. This delay saved the day for General Washington and the entire Continental Army (the patriots). Arrive at the Lawrence Township Municipal Building (Maidenhead Court House) located at 2207 Lawrenceville Road (Route 206) at 10:00 am. Meet his excellency General George Washington, the marching Mayor, a Pennsylvania Rifleman and Colonel Edward Hand. Even if you are not quite ready to delay the British, come to the program from 10:00 am to 10:40 am. There will be a memorial tribute to march founder Bob Immordino including the canon firing by Coryell’s Militia. All marchers will enjoy cider, donuts, cookies and tricorner pastries at the end of the march. Return transportation will be provided. Learn more about the pivotal role played by Lawrence Township in molding our nation. What happened here 233 years ago changed the course American history.

The above press release is from: Township of Lawrence, Mercer County, New Jersey


American Patriot of Barboursville

October 14, 2009
Bill H.R. 1150

Bill H.R. 1150

Two years ago at “Blogsome Genealogy” I wrote the story of Private Henry PEYTON of Barboursville, Virginia who twice had his credit for Revolutionary War service voided. In the first case he fought for reinstatement until the U.S. Congress passed the bill pictured above. The second case was recently by the Daughters of the American Revolution and then it was member Cynthia Vance who came to the rescue of her ancestor by submitting papers to reopen his lineage. She did this by submitting the above U.S. Congress Bill HR 1150 from 1839, with her lineage papers. I received the following comments and press release from Keith Vance: “I have composed the following for press release and would appreciate your comments, changes or additions. Your book helped support the application tremendously.

BARBOURSVILLE PATRIOT RECOGNIZED BY ACT OF CONGRESS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

In the beginnings of our great republic, the capitol building in Washington, DC, housing the congress, was called the “people’s house.” Citizens could bring grievances with their government, no matter their station in life, for a hearing.

Such was the case of Private Henry Peyton, born January 19, 1760 in Culpepper, Virginia. As did many adventuresome youth of his day, Henry joined forces with country cousins, brothers, uncles and fathers, rebels all, to attend the front line and watch the defeat of King George and his superior forces. After the war, Henry Peyton and his family were some of the first settlers of Cabell County, West Virginia, responsible for many local descendants.

In the 1830s provision was made to grant pensions to all that gave evidence of service in the “Great American Revolution.” Henry submitted his statement of service and was given recognition and pension, as a veteran of the war.

All appeared well, until claims of fraudulent petitions were filed with the government office and investigations took place. Henry seems to have been a colorful character at the local tavern in Barboursville and perhaps a bit boisterous concerning his war exploits. Loud talk of one’s heroism was considered the rudest of manners. Stiff necked neighbors gave a bad report to the investigator and Henry’s submission as a Revolutionary War patriot was stamped fraudulent.

Henry, understanding the rights for which he had fought and for which many had died, began petitioning recognition and justice from the government. With the help of an affidavit from magistrate W McComas and other good citizens’ recommendations, the government was finally convinced of the injustice toward Private Henry Peyton and on February 16, 1839 HR 1150 was passed by the House of Representatives. A history of Henry and his letters may be found in the “Lambert Collection” housed in the old library building on the campus of Marshall University.

More recently Edna Barney, a genealogist of the Peyton family, has published the following:

During his lifetime, Henry Peyton petitioned several times to restore his good name, and finally on 16 February 1839, an act of the U.S. Congress reinstated his pension and made it retroactive to 1831. To add further insult to the soldier’s memory, the death date of 1836, on his grave marker that was placed by a Revolutionary War lineage society, was wrong. Henry Peyton was alive in 1839 and still writing letters to Washington as late as 1842.

Henry‘s resting place is Henry Peyton Cemetery in Barboursville, West Virginia.

Edna Barney continues:

“As of today, even though a number of descendants of three different children of Henry Peyton had joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) under his Revolutionary War Service, his line has been closed, as the statement of fraud has been ‘rediscovered’ in his pension record. Once again as genealogists, we see how difficult it is to correct errors of many years ago that were put in ‘official’ writings.

“It will now be necessary for a descendant of patriot Henry Peyton to join the DAR under his lineage and include a copy of HR Bill 1150 as proof of his service..…hopefully, someone will be able to once again reinstate the good “Patriot” name of Henry Lindsey Peyton of Amherst and Cabell Counties, Virginia.”The family and descendants of Private Henry Peyton are very pleased to announce that on October 3, 2009 the DAR reopened Henry’s line through application by Cynthia Alexandra Vance and her presentation of HR Bill 1150. Cynthia is the sixth great granddaughter of Henry Peyton. Cynthia is a 19-year-old college student in San Diego, California and now the newest member of the Cahuilla Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, in Palm Springs, California. Cynthia’s grandmother Louella Vance, great aunt Rheabel Vance and cousin Aimee Vance Cartwright all reside in Barboursville. 

Cynthia’s first application to the DAR was by way of her fifth great grandfather Abner Vance. Unjustly hanged for murder in 1819, versions of Abner’s story may be found on the internet.

To become a member of the DAR, documentation of relationships has become critical. There are thousands of local and family histories which have been used for membership. These histories are no longer acceptable by the DAR without proper sources.

Cynthia Moody Parnell, accredited genealogist, and member of the Cahuilla Chapter of the DAR assisted Miss Vance in preparation of her application(s) and comments:

To become a DAR member, any woman age 18 years old or older must prove lineal descent, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, from a patriot of the American Revolution. The patriot might have been a soldier, sailor, or civil servant. The DAR was incorporated in 1890 as a service organization to promote patriotism, historic preservation, and education. More than 860,000 women have joined DAR since its inception. In the almost 120 years since it began, DAR has become tougher on its admission standards in terms of what makes up valid proof of lineage. There is so much misinformation swirling around on the internet, and in family histories in general, that DAR is currently not only in the process of proving new connections, but also in correcting misinformation.

Cynthia Vance’s lineage to her 6th great-grandfather, Henry Lindsey Peyton, was proven through a variety of source documents. Census records dating back to 1860 proved many parent-child relationships. Birth, marriage and death records provided dates and places of residence, as well as family connections. Records prior to 1850 were harder to come by, because census records pre-1850 only show heads-of –households, not the names of other family members. So, the use of West Virginia church and cemetery records helped to connect Peyton family members together.

Finally, if not already proven, DAR must have proof of a patriot’s service to the American cause. This can be found through the military records maintained by the National Archives. Pension and bounty records are also useful, as they often give the names of other family members, and show where patriots lived after the Revolutionary War. We used a Bill of Congress, written in 1839, that found Henry Peyton to still be alive, and deserving to receive a reinstated pension that same year.

Cynthia Vance, proud as ever of her American and West Virginian heritage wonders, “What did they do before the internet. I’ve learned so much about West Virginia and the fighting, wars, revolutions, feuds and massacres. It is a miracle that any of us are here today.”

**The lineage of Henry Lindsey PEYTON is included in my genealogy book, pages 140-142 of PEYTONs Along the Aquia, Second Edition.


Forgetting America’s Revolution

July 21, 2009

Constitution Hall

In our “Changed America,” the life and soul of the American Revolution must be forever forgotten.

When I began this site in 2005, I wrote at the “About Page” of my concern that young people were not aware of the incredible sacrifices made by our forebears when birthing our country. Today, some years later, America has voted overwhelmingly for “change” and a part of that change seems to be a shunning of our past, our heritage. Perhaps it is dismissal of “God,” repudiation of “Dead White Males,” or fear of “Revolution,” I do not really know. What I do now realize is that “official” America and a majority of America’s citizens have little interest in remembering, much less honoring, our Revolutionary War beginnings. I still remember one particular comment-criticism of this site was that I posted too many graves of dead people.
(Slide Show of Revolutionary Patriot Graves)

When I read of the following recent incident, I realized that indeed we have been “CHANGED” as a nation in the “twinkling of an eye.” For the first time in the history of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (The DAR), an American President officially snubbed its members at their yearly convention in Washington, appropriately named “Continental Congress.” From Huntington, West Virginia’s newspaper comes this commentary about our changed America:

“Every single U.S. President since DAR’s inception in 1890 has made either a written or video address thanking the now 165,000 member, 3,000 international chapter organization for its contribution to preserving American heritage and its service to our country. Until this year, 2009, when our new President, Barack Obama, decided to ignore the invitation sent to provide an address that would give credit and thanks for the non-partisan, woman-only organization whose members must prove direct lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution regardless of race, religion or ethnic background and whose motto is: God, Home and Country.

“During the designated time for the presidential address, the expectant audience, many of whom voted for this president, grew to complete silence as it became clear there would be no address or letter this year. The news from women attending from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky leaves one wondering what exactly does our new President value if none of the above was reason enough to acknowledge the women responsible for such national achievements. What statement does it make for America and her patriots to become the first President in American history to make no statement at all? How should President Barack H. Obama’s silence settle with the country he leads?”

Although President Barack Obama snubbed a request from the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution to address them on July 8th, 2009, for their efforts to preserve America’s Revolutionary War heritage, he did travel all the way to Russia on July 7th, 2009, to praise in person Russia’s “timeless heritage.

The lineage society, whose motto is “God, Home and Country,” accepts women who can prove direct descent from a patriot of the American Revolution regardless of race, religion or ethnic background. This year, civil rights legend Dr. Dorothy Irene Height was awarded the DAR’s highest recognition, the DAR Medal of Honor, for her lifetime of service, leadership and patriotism.

During Barack Obama’s tenure as America’s President, women of the DAR, many of whom voted for Obama as Senator and President, volunteered more than 60,000 hours to veteran patients, awarded over $150,000 in scholarships to American students, and supported schools for the underprivileged with donations exceeding one million dollars.

While America’s President was not interested in the efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution to remember America’s “heritage” and the sacrifices of their patriotic ancestors of the Revolution, Barack Obama spoke in person to the Russians of their “timeless heritage” with these exact words from The White House Official Web Site:

“I speak to you today with deep respect for Russia’s timeless heritage. Russian writers have helped us understand the complexity of the human experience, and recognize eternal truths. Russian painters, composers, and dancers have introduced us to new forms of beauty. Russian scientists have cured disease, sought new frontiers of progress, and helped us go to space.

“These are contributions that are not contained by Russia’s borders, as vast as those borders are. Indeed, Russia’s heritage has touched every corner of the world, and speaks to the humanity that we share. That includes my own country, which has been blessed with Russian immigrants for decades; we’ve been enriched by Russian culture, and enhanced by Russian cooperation. And as a resident of Washington, D.C., I continue to benefit from the contributions of Russians — specifically, from Alexander Ovechkin. We’re very pleased to have him in Washington, D.C.”

UPDATE: The official statement from Linda Gist Calvin, President General of the NSDAR, graciously states “Rumors have been circulating suggesting that the absence of greetings was an intentional slight on the part of the President. Your President General is sure this is not the case. … Greetings from the White House to the DAR Continental Congress actually did not begin until 1910. There have also been more than a dozen years since that time in which greetings were not forthcoming. Regardless, please be assured that the DAR will continue to foster relationships with those in the White House and share our objectives of historic preservation, education and patriotism.”

Obama Disses the DAR

The image, Constitution Hall, is subject to copyright by barneykin. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, an administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.


Albemarle County Patriots

July 13, 2009

Revolutionary War Image

The image above, from the Library of Congress, shows the signatures of three of my Albemarle County ancestors, Thomas Craig, John Jameson and Micajah Via, who were supporters of the American Revolution during its earliest and darkest days. They were calling for the English Church to be disestablished as the State Church. An image of the additional signers is here: 1 November 1776. A transcript of the entire document is available here: TRANSCRIPT. With the loss of so many historical documents during the wars fought on Virginia soil, these petitions give us a snapshot of which Virginians were in support of the Revolutionary cause by their opposition to the established Church of England.

Many historians write that the American Revolution was, to a considerable extent, a religious quarrel, between Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Quakers and other Dissenters whose religious principles and politics were in opposition to the established Church and its government. The King of England was the head of the English church. Anglican priests swore allegiance to the King and The Book of Common Prayer offered prayers for the monarch, beseeching God “to be his defender and keeper, giving him victory over all his enemies.” In 1776, those enemies of the King were American soldiers and friends and neighbors of American Anglicans. Loyalty to the Anglican church and to its head, the British monarch, was often seen as treason to the American cause, hence the need to disestablish the English Church in America. See “Religion and the American Revolution” at the Library of Congress site.

A description of these Virginia petitions and how they are tied to the Revolutionary War spirit for liberty is also at the Library of Congress web site, where is “Petitioning in Eighteenth-Century Virginia:”

Although both Anglicans and dissenters frequently petitioned the legislature to address a variety of religious concerns, the relationship of church and state did not assume great importance until the Revolutionary period. As the number of dissenters and their political needs increased, and as Enlightenment ideals gained ground among certain political leaders, complete religious freedom emerged as a common goal for a heterogeneous group of Virginians.

My three ancestors, Thomas Craig, John Jameson and Micajah Via, are amongst the signatories on this Albemarle County, Virginia petition, dated on 1 November 1776. This point in time was less than four months after the signing of the American Declaration of Independence. These Albemarle – Amherst petitioners were well aware of the threatening arrival of 30,000 British troops at New York and the enemy’s occupation of the city, that American forces had been roundly defeated at the Battle of Brooklyn, that the American ragtag army was routed at the Battle of Harlem Heights, defeated by the British at Lake Champlain, and that American troops were forced to retreat at the Battle of White Plains just three days prior.

In the face of all of that, they addressed their words to the “Delegates & Senators, Representatives of the Common Wealth of Virginia at the City of Williamsburg” stating “in consequence of our having thrown off our dependence on the Crown & Parliament of Great Britain.” They closed by ardently wishing that the new Virginia “Commonwealth may become the envy of the Nations & the Glory of the World.” I count these men as Patriots of the Revolution because, if the Rebels had lost the fight, as it indeed appeared they would, and England successfully stopped the rebellion, they would have been considered traitors and suffered consequences.

In pre-Revolutionary America, the Church of England was the staunch defender of the British monarchy. When England tried to strengthen the Church of England in the Colonies, in a ploy to turn the colonies into royal provinces, the locals became more antagonistic towards their own mother country.

In the colony of Virginia the Anglican Church was established by law; Virginia was the stronghold of the English system of church and state. The Anglican faith and worship were prescribed by law. The Anglican church was sustained by taxes imposed on all Virginians. Although Jews, Catholics, and Protestant dissenters were barely tolerated in Virginia, they slowly persisted, eventually gaining minimal acceptance. By the advent of the American Revolution, religious dissenters outnumbered adherents to the established English church.

The English Church had become powerful in the colonies because it was supported by the British government and the official ruling class sent to govern the colonials. The Anglican bishops and archbishops in England were appointed by the monarch, and church rituals and services were governed by acts of Parliament. The British government depended upon its loyal clergy to fend off or report to the authorities any rebellious spirits that might foment in America. The Church, therefore, served as a strong bulwark of the state, playing a political role in the Virginia Colony as well as in England. In the mid eighteenth-century, Revolutionary fervor was rising in Virginia, resulting in the English church redoubling its efforts to strengthen its influence in affairs of the Colony. These methods did not sit well with the larger number of dissenting Protestants, who had bitter remembrances of the religious conflicts they had experienced in Great Britain before immigrating. In addition, loyal members of the English Church in Virginia, witnessing the harsh treatment by their parish leaders against their Dissenter neighbors, became sympathetic.

The image, Albemarle County Signatories 1776, is posted here by barneykin.

NO “Tea Bags” at Boston Harbor

May 20, 2009

Revolutionary War Image

Contrary to what the American media have been reporting these past few weeks, no “Tea Bags” were thrown into Boston Harbor during the American Revolution. The colonial tax protesters threw crates of tea into the harbor, which may have contained these oven-baked “Tea Bricks.” There was NO SUCH THING as a “Tea Bag” in those days. The Boston Tea Party happened in 1773. The “Tea Bag” was invented 135 years later, in 1908.

Our colonial ancestors were protesting the raising of taxes without representation when they stopped purchasing and drinking British tea. When the brave Bostonians of so long ago, participated in their Boston Tea Party, there was no such thing as a “Tea Bag” anywhere in the world. One method of shipping tea to colonial America was to pack the dried leaves into heavy, compressed, baked bricks, as illustrated above, tightly packed in wooden crates. This protected the tea leaves from mildew and dampness during the long months at sea and in storage.

America’s media such as Chris Matthews of MSNBC and Anderson Cooper of CNN got it wrong when they described these current tax protests as “Tea Bag” Parties.

UPDATE: Here is a great photograph of some of the original tea which washed up on the shoreline after the Boston Tea Party of 1773: Massachusetts Historical Society 

The image, Tea Bricks – NOT Tea Bags!, is subject to copyright by barneykin. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin.