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.”

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Francis Lightfoot Lee

December 7, 2011

Revolutionary War Image

Francis Lightfoot Lee was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. A sketch of the character and life of this Virginian reveals the material that was used in the construction of congressmen in his day. To sketch him is to sketch the average congressman of his time, the time of the Founding Fathers.

He came of an old and excellent family; a family which had borne an unsullied name, and held honorable place on both sides of the water; a family with a reputation to preserve and traditions to perpetuate; a family which could not afford to soil itself with political trickery, or do base things for party or for hire; a family which was able to shed as much honor upon official station as it received from it.

He dealt in no shams; he had no ostentations of dress or equipage; for he was, as one may say, inured to wealth. He had always been used to it. His own ample means were inherited. He was educated. He was more than that – he was finely cultivated. He loved books; he had a good library, and no place had so great a charm for him as that. The old Virginia mansion which was his home was also the home of that old-time Virginian hospitality which hoary men still hold in mellow memory. Over their port and walnuts he and his friends of the gentry discussed a literature which is dead and forgotten now, and political matters which were drowsy with the absence of corruption and “investigations.” Sundays he and they drove to church in their lumbering coaches, with a due degree of grave and seemly pomp. Week-days they inspected their domains, ordered their affairs, attended to the needs of their dependents, consulted with their overseers and tenants, busied themselves with active benevolences. They were justices of the peace, and performed their unpaid duties with arduous and honest diligence, and with serene, unhampered impartiality toward a society to which they were not beholden for their official stations. In short, Francis Lightfoot Lee was a gentleman – a word which meant a great deal in his day, though it means nothing whatever n ours.

Mr. Lee defiled himself with no juggling, or wire-pulling, or begging, to acquire a place in the provincial legislature, but went thither when he was called, and went reluctantly. He wrought there industriously during four years, never seeking his own ends, but only the public’s. His course was purity itself, and he retired unblemished when his work was done. He retired gladly, and sought his home and its superior allurements. No one dreamed of such a thing as “investigating” him.

“Francis Lightfoot Lee” by Mark Twain, 1877 (The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, I, no. 3).

The image, Menokin, 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.


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.


Happy Birthday Marines

November 10, 2008

Revolutionary War Image

The United States Marine Corps has been protecting America since the Second Continental Congress raised two battalions of Continental Marines in 1775. The Marine Corps is still exhibiting “Uncommon Valor” in protecting America from harm. The inscription above is from the famous Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington, Virginia.

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


Sail Fast In Harm’s Way

February 6, 2008

Revolutionary War Image

John Paul Jones – Father of the American Navy: “Sail fast, for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

This monument of an American freedom fighter is at West Potomac Park, Washington, DC 20037 (Google Map). It is a short walk from Signers’ Island and DAR Constitution Hall. John Paul Jones is buried in the crypt below the chapel at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. For more information about this famous sailor see John Paul Jones .

Learn More: The American Revolution

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The image, John Paul Jones – Father of the American Navy, is subject to copyright by Sheena 2.0™. It is posted here with permission via the Flickr API by barneykin, administrator of “The Revolution flickred” pool.


Aides and Friends

October 12, 2007

Revolutionary War Image

Colonel William NORTH and Major Benjamin WALKER were patriots of the American Revolution. The were aides and friends of General von STEUBEN who came to America to train Washington’s troops. The picture is from the Statue of Baron von Steuben, Lafayette Square, Washington DC.

Learn More: The American Revolution

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