Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Saluting Our Veterans ~ Saluting the Fallen
with the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CV-41) in the background.
(Where Jim's grandparents are buried.)

If you Google a timeline of war, you will clearly see that human beings are warlike creatures, who are constantly in conflict with each other somewhere in the world. Peace is a rare and treasured state that is all too easily cast aside if we feel wronged or threatened. I’m sure you’ll agree that although this is the case, the constant striving to learn, to change, to break that violent cycle and move into a state of balance and peace, where differences can be worked out by non-violent means, is the ideal.

Looking back, though, we are trailed by death and destruction in every era. Even our generations of peace-loving and conscientious objecting Quakers couldn’t avoid getting caught up in the American Revolution and Civil War as the fighting swirled around them. Not willing to take up arms against their fellow man they provided food, supplies, shelter, abolitionist zeal, and medical aid to those who did. Like our Quaker ancestors our most recent generations have chosen not to join the military.  They are peaceful and more interested in the arts than the art of war ‘and I say’ (to quote the Beatles) ‘give peace a chance’ – Good For Them! – It is with these younger generations that we as a human race can begin to break that terrible cycle of war.
Still, humans are aggressive, war-like creatures and no peace is kept without vigilance and for that we are forever grateful for a strong, well-equipped defense.  Looking back on American conflicts we had brave men in most of them from King Phillip’s War to Vietnam.  And, along with them countless women and children were left behind to run the farm and keep the home-fires burning. I’ve drawn up a sampling of veterans from our family history to salute.
Family, I hope you will take a moment on this Veterans Day to thank each of them for the time they served – the men and their wives and children. . .

Ron, Capt. USAF

Lyle B Shaffer Jr, 1 Lt US Army
Lloyd E Disney, Radioman RM3

Lyle B Shaffer Sr – Wagoneer, Hospital Corp (Grandfather)

Civil War
David Shaffer - Union – E.I. Ohio (2nd GG)
William C Cullins – Union, Hospital Corp. (2 GG)
Lorenzo Archer – Union, McKeag’s Battalion, PA, Infantry (2 GG)

William Beer – Union, I 1 PA Cavalry & H & I 2 PA Cavalry (Ron – Great Grandfather)
Charles T Neuhard – Union, D 177 PA Infantry (Ron – 2nd Great Grandfather)

James Hoyt DeLoach – Confederate, D Georgia 61st Infantry, 2nd Lt. (Mike – Great Grandfather)
David Daniel DeLoach – Confederate, Company K, Georgia 47th Infantry Regiment, Private (Mike – Great Grandfather)
Moses J. McElveen – Confederate, Co. D, 5th Reg. Georgia Cavalry, Private (Mike – 2nd GG)

War of 1812
John Cullins – Russell’s Battalion, Ohio Militia, Private (4th GG)
Job Meredith – 2nd Regiment (Evans) Virginia Militia, Private (5th GG)

Post-Revolutionary Volunteers
Matthew Wing – 1st Claiborne’s Regiment, Militia, Mississippi Territory (6th GG)

Revolutionary War
James Draper – 3rd Regiment, South Carolina, Private (6th GG)
George Beatty -  Pennsylvania, Adjutant (5th GG)
Ebenezer Wheeler – 1st Regiment, Massachusetts, Private (5 GG)
William Jay – Pennsylvania, (7th GG)

French and Indian War
Joseph Rogers – 1st Regiment 8th Company Connecticut Volunteers (6th GG)

King Phillip’s War
John Jay and Mercy Bartlett Jay - Civilians

King Phillip’s War  [Just in case you thought New England tribes were peaceful (ala Thanksgiving).]  Our ancestor’s paid for their land with their blood in New England, New York, Georgia, the Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The natives didn’t go peacefully. Atrocities were committed on both sides. This bloody history was scrubbed from our history books and a much milder version presented to us as elementary school children.

The war [King Phillip’s] was the single greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth century Puritan New England and is considered by many to be the deadliest war in the history of European settlement in North America in proportion to the population. In the space of little more than a year, twelve of the region's towns were destroyed and many more damaged, the colony's economy was all but ruined, and its population was decimated . . . More than half of New England's towns were attacked by Native American warriors. King Philip's War began the development of a greater European-American identity. The colonists' trials, without significant English government support, gave them a group identity separate and distinct from that of subjects of the king.” - Wikipedia

We have many more veterans than those listed above, it is just a sampling. We are left with a deep appreciation for them . . .and the awareness that we are the end result of generations of survivors. These are the men who returned from war to father children and create more generations. And it leaves us with a deep sadness for the thousands upon thousands of bodies left behind, snuffed out, and ended – never to contribute to future generations. To them we owe reverence and respect, sorrow and regret. What would the world be if all the rows of tombstones in all the National Cemeteries were blank? What changes might have been made if Obediah Smith or John Jones had lived? We’ll never know – but we salute you – we survivors. We hope we can do better with our present and our future. Peace.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

On Joining the DAR

Why join the DAR? I suppose there are portions of the population that haven’t a clue what I’m talking about and need this explained, but the vast majority have at least heard that ‘DAR’ stands for Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization first established in Washington D.C. in 1890 by women celebrating their revolutionary roots. These women stepped up to form their own club after being rejected and excluded from membership in the SAR, or Sons of the American Revolution. Now, doesn’t that sound familiar? The DAR has gone on to surpass the SAR in width and depth, in service, fame, and controversy. Both celebrate the American Revolution and our genealogical roots to the founding of our country.
There are articles about the DAR on their website at and various other informational sites, such as and I won’t repeat the information here other than to say it is a service, social, and genealogical organization that came to me with confusingly mixed reviews.  I’m at the beginning of my approach to membership and will chronicle the journey for others who might like to follow.

My personal involvement with the group has a little history. I started doing genealogy with my paternal grandmother when I was 11 years old. She was proud of her family and we spent summers putting together photo albums and talking about the old folks. She grew up in small town Iowa where 100% of the population was white, most of them were farmers or in farm related businesses and anyone who was anybody belonged to a local church, the Masons or Elks or other service group if you were a man; and with a Mason husband you belonged to the Eastern Star. This was her world. It was a world of helping neighbors build or harvest or quilt. It was a world of patriotism and honoring the flag (which you brought in from the rain or snow, and which you never let touch the ground). It was not an era without problems. There aren’t any of those. But it was a kinder, gentler world where there were no locks on doors and neighbors helped neighbors.
I grew up in the city with roots in the Baptist, Democrat, union beliefs of my mother’s family. But, oh did I love my Methodist, Republican, Masonic and Eastern Star grandparents of Northeastern Iowa. I loved the world of small town politics (my grandfather ran for office), ice cream socials, feeding harvest crews, family reunions, and social evenings of bridge.

I must have been a teen when my grandmother handed me a small book containing the genealogy of the Rowland’s  (her maiden name). With it, she proudly announced that I should be able to join the DAR – something I hadn’t thought about previously. Why she didn’t join is a mystery. She was college educated and a teacher with the skills to pursue a membership, but that quest she bequeathed to me. A child of divorce, maybe she thought it would tie me closer to my father’s family.

But then, in my Democratic soul I heard of Eleanor Roosevelt’s resignation from the DAR over their racial attitudes and the shunning of the opera singer, Marian Anderson, and I put membership out of mind as being impossible. My roots run deep on both sides of the family with abolitionists, underground railroaders, and followers of John Brown. How could I be a member of such an organization? It may be why my grandmother didn't join, and she passed to me with the hope that attitudes would change within the DAR.

Of course, the group, spurred by Eleanor and the times has changed and they welcome women of color as long as they have roots in the Revolution; and they have promotional photos sprinkled with faces of various hues. Still, I’m not much of a joiner and membership hasn’t been a priority.  Now, at 71, I’m looking to please my grandmother, who I imagine as watching over me and my long genealogical journey; and to open the way for my daughters and granddaughters to be DAR and my son and grandsons to be SAR if they choose.
After a lifetime of research and building the family tree I find I have many choices from the revolutionary soldiers in the family. Prior to 2012 I’d hoped to join with a line on my mother’s side so that she could also join. Time got away from me, my mother left us, and I still haven’t joined. Now I’m considering a membership based on the Cullins family – really an odd choice as they are not my mother’s family nor are they my paternal grandmother’s family, but instead are my paternal grandfather’s family.

I was amazed at my family’s involvement in the establishment of Ohio after the Northwest Territory opened for development. The Cullins family was one of those pioneering families that moved into the wilderness, coming up from Virginia or what became West Virginia. And, my joining the DAR through this line rests on the fact that John Cullins (listed with the DAR as Cullens) was the first family member I found that had already been established in the DAR genealogy databank. Someone else has laid the groundwork and what I need to do is prove our family connection and voilĂ  I can be a member – or, at least I hope so.
This then, is the beginning of my membership journey.  It has been a mixed bag so far. About 4 or 5 years ago I enthusiastically contacted, via email, a woman in my area (north costal San Diego County) about help in the application process. She was designated as a contact person, but I never heard from her. I let it drop. Then at the beginning of September 2015 I tried once again – pulling a contact off the Internet for the state-level organization. I heard back immediately from the membership chair for the state of California and I thought I was on my way. She promised that I would hear from a local member who could help me with the application.  By the end of September I still hadn’t heard from that local person. This time, instead of letting it drop I wrote that helpful woman at the state level once again. There is a chapter in the city where I live and she tracked them down immediately.

I have now heard from a local person, who has invited me to a meeting at the country club. Figures – I'm afraid I’ll be a poor donkey in the midst of a herd of well-heeled elephants – but this is Oceanside and not San Diego, so we’ll see. The DAR is a genealogical, social and service organization but I can't help but see it in political terms. I wonder if there'll be any other Bernie Sanders supporters in the group?
I want to meet with someone and finish my initial application before venturing into a meeting. We’ll see how this goes.