St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Can you imagine?

I had already decided some of my paternal line had to have been
aliens. Seemingly, they dropped in, married, had children, and left
again-- all in the space of a decade- between census years at that.
After all, I had spent the last ten years looking for them. Sure, I
could find evidence of my other paternal lines, but this one appeared
to be an impossible hurdle for me. Imagine my surprise when an
attorney answered my email inquiry on my "alien" family line. Imagine
my surprise when someone else had real evidence that they existed!!

This retired gentleman was kind enough to tell me that his family
thought they were kin to mine. In fact, they wanted to be related to
mine. Imagine my surprise when he told me my family had a bigger role
in the new America than I had any knowledge of. He had a scrapbook of
old newspaper articles from the 1880s which one of his kinsman had
written about my family. It would appear his kinsman conveniently
overlooked the small fact that his ancestor had nothing in common with
mine except for a surname and a general locality. To be fair, that
information is sometimes all we do have when we begin our search.

The attorney sent me wills, land deeds and a copy of the scrapbook.
Imagine my wonder as I found out this particular line did exist-- and
exist, they did. The documentation located by this attorney and
another attorney clearly documents my 5th great grandfather owned a
tavern in NYC. Now that in itself isn't unusual. What is unusual
about this is he owned this tavern as early as 1776 on the northwest
corner of Wall and Nassau Streets. What is unusual about this tavern
is that it was located next to City Hall, which was renamed Federal
Hall in 1785 when it became the seat of the United States government.

Can you imagine the scene on April 30, 1789? The day when General
George Washington and John Adams were to be sworn in as the first
President and Vice-President under the newly ratified United States
Constitution? Tis little doubt my family members easily were able to
watch as these great men took their oaths of office. Tis little doubt
my family came into constant contact with heroes of American Revolution
as they held their sessions at Federal Hall. While it is not known, it
has been surmised by other authors that my little family tavern
assisted in the celebration of the day.

While the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787, in
Philadelphia, it took some time for all the new states to ratify it.
Can you imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment of the men, many
who were farmers, who wrote the Constitution? Can you imagine how they
would feel today, some 219 years after its signing?

In 1956, President D D Eisenhower signed a bill into law which
established Constitution Week. This week long commemoration of the
signing of the United States Constitution will be celebrated September
17-23. Members of various Daughters of the American Revolution
Chapters and Children of the American Revolution Chapters will be
trying to raise public awareness on this document. I know one chapter,
the Augustin Clayton Chapter DAR, is reading a book to elementary
school children on the writing of the Constitution. I know many
chapters are ringing bells in honor of this event and receiving
proclamations from many cities. In addition, the Marquis de LaFayette
Chapter Sons of the American Revolution will be in parades and continue
to spread the message of patriotism and its continuing importance

Can you imagine if we were all more aware of our precious heritage and
the freedoms which this document provides to us as American citizens?
More than ever, with the trials this great nation is facing, we need to
honor our Constitution and the men and women who are defending it
today. Imagine my thrill in finding out the different roles my family
had in the fight for our country-- not only during the American
Revolution, but continuing on today to my kinsman who is serving in
Iraq. Can you imagine my gratitude to all these soldiers? To these
brave men and women who are willing to lay their lives down today for
the ideals of freedom? I pray, dear reader, that not only can you
imagine, but rather, you share my sense of pride in our country and
gratitude to her soldiers.