Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com

Friday, August 04, 2006

William The Explorer & Legal Eagle.

I don't know much about my family history. My paternal grandmother was into genealogy a bit and my father had a family tree posted on the office wall when I was growing up. I thought we arrived in the United States sometime in the 1880s. It appears I was extremely incorrect.

My dad is in possession of a pocket watch. I never saw this watch before. According to family lore he got it from his grandfather who got it from his grandfather. (I believe that would be my great-great-great grandfather.) Supposedly the ancestor, William, either had the watch when he went to the
California gold rush or upon his return from California he brought the watch with him.

I guess my father got on the internet and managed to confirm the story. He showed me a printout. William with the watch was born in 1828, and went to California in 1852 via oxen teams. William returned to Indiana in 1859 via Panama steamer and railroad. Politically he was a
Whig, a Douglas Democrat, and then a staunch Republican when elected Justice of the Peace (no evidence he had any formal legal training).

The same article described William's father, also named William. I had to read the article three times before I figured out it was describing two different Williams. Elder William, my great-great-great-great grandfather, was born in 1780 in Pennsylvania. In 1808 he started on foot to Ohio. Elder William served the United States during the
War of 1812. He secured a land warrant in Iowa and eventually moved to Indiana in 1832. He died in 1862.

I have a relative who served in the War of 1812??? The historian in me is curious about his father. Was he a German immigrant who arrived in Pennsylvania during the Revolutionary War? Was he one of those Hussein mercenaries the British employed. Was he already established in Pennsylvania and a
Tory. Perhaps he fought for independence or didn't care either way. It amazes me my family is as old as the country.

Everyone comes from somewhere. Everyone has a collective familial past. It seems my family did some interesting things. Even my mom's family invented the vending machine. I wonder what else we've done.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.