Family history, again

The past few days we continued to work outside, walk the dogs and generally enjoy the lovely spring weather.  Rain several nights in a row filled the new rain barrels but cleared off by dawn leaving blue skies with a few puffy clouds.  Today, high winds are whipping through the neighborhood, blowing millions of cherry blossoms to bits, tossing the flags, and ringing the wind chimes on the porches.  With temps in the low 60s, walking is a chilly affair.


Unlike yesterday when it was cool and sunny with very little wind in our ‘aging-in-place’ neighborhood, most neighbors are tucked up inside today. A few exceptions, like Dawn, looking a great deal like the man in the photo above with her weathered brown skin and Peruvian hat, stops me to share her latest stratagem for combatting rabbits.


I’ve been reading McCullough’s 1776 for several days, and its such a great book. I had never read any of his books and I am pleased to discover them.

McCullough has answered several questions I had regarding military records from the Revolution.  My parents recorded my fourth great-grandfather, Nicholas Nichols’ accomplishments during the Revolution in my baby book. But I have discovered much more information, including many other ancestors who also fought in this war (so much for oral reporting).  When I showed David the cases I had uncovered, he said “WOW!’

As Nicholas was about 13 when he entered the New Hampshire militia, I wondered how he could be so young, and how he became a ‘Captain’ by the end of the war. I also wondered why he had so many segments of service for a few months at a time.  I’ve learned that children and old men turned out to fight the British as members of their respective state militias.  From years of fighting on the frontier, these soldiers were excellent shots and would serve for several months, but because they were “embattled farmers” they would return home for several months to tend crops (and shoot rabbits or whatever), then return the militia again.

By combing through military records, I discovered several generations in the same family fought in the Revolution. For example, in my fourth great-grandmother (Catherine Sanborn, Nicholas’ wife) direct lineage (her grandfather, father, and brothers) all fought in the Revolution.  Her father, Jonathan, and grandfather John fought for the British during the French and Indian or Seven Years War (see recent post about ‘Grandfather Jonathan’) and fought the British during the Revolution, as did her brother Paul, who also fought in the War of 1812.

David says I should have written my dissertation about my family, and I imagine he’s correct, but I didn’t.

Maybe we will visit Mount Vernon again for my birthday.

13 thoughts on “Family history, again

  1. I can’t even like you if I am not signed in. Grrr…

    Yes, go have fun. Take lots of garden pictures. The spring stuff there should b e great. Tell the piker, we love him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Heartily agree that “1776” is good reading. A few years ago, I heard McCullough give a talk about his research and writing methods. He was nearly as good a speaker as a writer. I was putting together a history at the time and several of his tips proved helpful.


  3. By now you must surely have found thousands of living relatives, all those descendants of the generations going back to the revolution and beyond in Europe. Don’t they say that if we go back far enough we are all descended from Charlemagne? Or Adam and Eve? I agree that it is a fascinating hobby for the sake of unearthing history, if nothing else.

    Happy digging.

    I do feel sorry for Dawn if that is a kind of likeness of her.


      • All the musket balls and muskets, and we learned nothing, we still have people marching into other countries to kill and main on the pretence they are there to help. Yet these days there is usually a hidden greed for oil at the bottom of it. War is war in any circumstances and should never be glorified.


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