I hope everyone is having a wonderful Independence Day! It's such a fun day to spend with family, cooking out on the grill, enjoying the height of summer, all culminating with a fantastic fireworks display.
While in the past I've mainly concentrated my 4th of July posts on the latter, this year I'd like to focus a little more about what this holiday is about--the declaration of American independence from England.
That long phrase basically comes down to one small idea--the birth of our country. The United States would have never become the United States without the courage and fortitude of those who fought for our independence. Recently, I've concentrated my genealogical research on this era of our nation's history, and I am proud to say I have been able to trace my heritage back to at least six Revolutionary War Patriots, each with his own unique story.
Perhaps one of the most fascinating is the story of Thomas Paisley (my Grandma McCandless's paternal grandmother's great-grandfather). He entered the war when he was only seventeen. Only a year into his service he was captured at the Siege of Charleston.
He became a prisoner of war and was shipped to the West Indies where he endured four years of hard labor in one of their prison camps before being returned home. Over 45% of Revolutionary Prisoners of War died in captivity, so his mere survival speaks to Thomas's strength and courage. Luckily he returned home, married, and had twelve children before passing at the age of 82.
Another one of my ancestors, James Cotton (my 3rd great-grandmother McCandless's grandfather) came to America from Belfast in 1769 and enlisted six years later, helping to bury the dead after the battle of Princeton.
More of my Revolutionary War ancestors can be seen here: https://sites.google.com/site/mccandlessfamilygenealogy/veteran-ancestors
It's truly amazing, once you start researching your heritage, all the ways that we would not be here had one of these individuals had chosen a different path in life, or had not survived. I am thankful to all these brave men and their families, and so many others like them, for without them, today we would not be celebrating the birth of our country.
American by birth, Patriot by choice,