St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Serving America Through Politics and the Military

Everyone of us has a viewpoint on politics.  While I don't always agree with all of my kin on their thoughts, I find it interesting to go back in time to see how my family has been involved in politics in one way or another throughout America's history.

The first mayor of New York on land that was American, not English, was installed at the Wall Street tavern of my grandpa.

"...The little two-story affair on the west corner of Nassau Street deserves more extended notice than its size would seem to justify. It was John Simmons' tavern, where, in February, 1784, the common council met and with appropriate ceremonies installed the newly appointed Mayor, James Duane, in the presence of the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor. It is said that Simmons weighed more than four hundred pounds, and was of such bulk that at the time of his funeral the doorway of the tavern had to be enlarged to admit the coffin. His widow continued the business for several years, and among its later proprietors were David King and Samuel Randolph. After it ceased to be a tavern it was occupied by T. & W. Benton, bootmakers ; Thomas L. Rich, merchant tailor ; John N. Baur, watchmaker, and others.

In historic interest the site on the east corner of Nassau Street is the most important in New York. Here stood the second city hall, built in 1699-1700. In 1789, having been made over into the most elegant building in America and renamed Federal Hall, it became the first capitol of the United States, and on its balcony General Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the Republic...."  (Source:  file:///Users/username/Desktop/newSimmons2009:10/New%20York%20City%20-%20Wall%20Street%20Ninety%20Years%20Ago.webarchive)

It's not hard to imagine my grandpa and his family leaning out of the windows to see General Washington become the first president of the United States.  After all, history books have documented that Washington had eaten at the family tavern back in 1784, and had hired a distant family member on his staff.

History books have also shown an uncle as being the first keeper of the door when Congress first met in NY.

Fast forward in time and see who else in the family has served America in elected office.

Uncle Samuel Smith HENRY (1786-1853)- Ohio State Representative
Cousin Ashmen Cooke HENRY (1828-1907) -  Mayor of Oakland, CA
Couisn James BUCHANAN - President of the United States
My dad-  City Council Member

While this is not a complete list, it serves to show my family has always been interested in serving America.  Not everyone has an elected office.  Many chose to serve America in the military- starting with the American Revolution.

So, elections.  Yep, they are important.  They were important to my ancestors. 

Ahh, genealogy.  My ancestors fought so I could vote.  What a gift.

©2010 AS Eldredge

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