Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The kit is here!

Welcome back, friends, family and followers, all!
The DNA kit arrived on Friday 12/23 - I couldn't believe how quickly my kit was delivered.
O.K., so I paid for the thing 12/19 and posted that same evening and - is this right - 4 Days later? Amazing! Boy, these guys don't mess around. "Git 'r done!"
So after work that evening I find in my mailbox a white envelope from Family Tree DNA in Houston, Tx. with a letter from the President of the company that starts ... "Dear Fellow Genealogist:" ... yeah, well, I'm still working on that. Try 'genealogist-wanna-be' or 'when I grow up...', anyway, 'we're a really cool company and we do some really cool stuff and we're gonna keep your DNA for 25 years, at no extra charge, so that you can add any other tests you may want to add later.'
So then, the blue sheet - DNA Collection Method - with step-by-step  instructions on how to scrub the inside of your cheek and how to handle the samples. Sounds simple enough, I can do this.
Except there is this one little paragraph that says "Scraping should be before eating or drinking, or at least an hour after eating and drinking. Avoid warm or hot fluids before scraping."
The problem is; since I received this thing, I haven't found the ideal time yet that I wasn't either eating, drinking, working or sleeping!
I don't know about you guys, but, we usually work so hard between work, church, singing (annual caroling party, holiday concerts,etc.) and preparing the house, the tree, and on and on and on in a mad rush to the big Christmas Eve event (family tradition). Then we crash and burn on Christmas day to finally re-emerge like the proverbial groundhog around Jan. 2nd. to start the race all over again.
But! I have a plan.
I've worked some long days the last two days but I'm off tomorrow - before my morning coffee and my breakfast (probably left over cookies or something from Christmas Eve - only the healthiest stuff, don't ya know), I will try to do the first of two scrapings. Then after I wake up and busy myself with day-off-morning-routine stuff for an hour or so I will do the second scrapping, put the samples in the self-addressed envelope along with the proper amount of postage.
Then, with any luck, I should be able to put the envelope in my mailbox before the postal carrier arrives to take my envelope and send it on it's return journey to the labs in Houston, Tx. and then, the waiting begins...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas to ... me!

Have I mentioned that I have a wonderful, generous wife? 

When she asked me this year what I wanted for Christmas, I told her, " just one thing: A DNA test."
Imagine her shock. A DNA test? What for? Aren't DNA tests for criminals? 
Silly rabbit, DNA tests are for genealogists!

With a simple test and a month or so of anxious waiting I will have answers to questions that I could not possibly prove otherwise. Of course, my brothers and cousins will have answers to questions that they didn't even know they had. 

So, with the blessing of Mrs. Santa, I ordered the test through Family Tree DNA this morning. And shortly I will receive the kit to swab my cheek and sent that off to the lab and, with the results of that test, and a comparison with the other members of the Green(e) family project, I will learn who my ancestors really are. This test will go back at least 5 generations and probably more. I will finally know just what percentage of heritage (American Indian, European) I am.

And, my dear readers and family, ( I know you're out there) I will take you along on this journey of discovery and keep you posted on each step along the way. So, stay tuned to see the steps and the time involved and the results. Is it Feb. yet?

Happy Christmas - to us all!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Story Confirmed

I was in Costco with my wife yesterday after church. Going through the new books section - I love browsing through this section - I came across Glenn Beck's new book about the life of George Washington. I couldn't help but wonder if he had included a section about Washington's service before and during Braddock's Defeat.
Curiosity got the best of me. I couldn't stand it so I had to check it out.
Sure enough, there it was, towards the beginning of the book - a detailed account of the story. Of course, Mr. Beck had a whole book to fill and so he could get into much more detail and background than I could on this humble little blog.
I thought the story I told was too long for this blog - 7 parts - but it necessarily included my family history. This was, of course, the point of my version of this story and would not have been written otherwise. It just happened that Mr. Washington's career crossed paths with my ancestors and gave me a great hook for my story.
I did not have the time to read the whole account, but the bits I did read did not include my Stewart ancestors. Well! Color me miffed!
I know. I should break down and buy the book and read the whole story because I really would love to read the story of that amazing life. But, as you might imagine, I have so many books on my "must read" list right now that Mr. Becks book will just have to wait. Sorry Glenn.
Who knows, I may just find this and 1 or 2 other historical books under my
Christmas tree if I'm good ... well, OK, maybe not.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Stewarts - Part 7 - The Aftermath

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green
The aftermath 

In the end, or should I say…as the story continues, George Washington gains favor in the eyes of the colonists and goes on to become a war hero in the American Revolution. Eventually, of course, he becomes the first President of the new United States.
General Braddock gives the British crown its worst defeat before the War of Independence. His grave was found some years later and the body re-interred about 100 yds. away from the original grave (Braddocks Grave). There is a park there now and a beautiful memorial where a service is held each year.
Daniel Boone goes on to become one of the most famous frontiersmen in history exploring and opening the Cumberland Gap for Western expansion.
Governor Robert Dinwiddie left the colonies in 1758, retired, and died in Bristol, England.
And the sons of James and Robert Stewart become famous as “Indian Rangers” and Revolutionary War heroes. The family eventually married into the Cooke family who married into the Green family and became my ancestors.
Robert Stewart/Stuart and Mary Ann Lafferty (O’Lafferty) are my 5th Great Grandparents.
(1913). History of Virginia,Vol.21 , 372.
Abbott, J. S. Benjamin Franklin: A picture of the struggles of our infant nation, p.177.
Bowen, H. (1998). War and British Society 1688–1815.
Braddocks Defeat by George Washington. (n.d.). Retrieved from nationalcenter.org: http://www.nationalcenter.org/Braddock%27sDefeat.html
Braddocks Grave. (n.d.). Retrieved from Historical Marker database: http://static-71-126-182-50.washdc.fios.verizon.net/Marker.asp?Marker=304
Cowpasture River. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cowpasture_River
Faragher, J. M. Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer. Macmillan.
Ferling, J. E. ( 2010 ). The First of Men: A Life of George Washington. Oxford University Press,.
Fort Duquesne. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Duquesne
General Braddocks Defeat in the French and Indian War. (n.d.). Retrieved from publicbookshelf.com: http://www.publicbookshelf.com/public_html/The_Great_Republic_By_the_Master_Historians_Vol_I/generalbr_ei.html
Mai, L. (1996, February 21). "Tree of the Month". Stuart Clan Newsletter 1, No. 5 .
Pawnee People. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pawnee_people
Shawnee. (n.d.). Retrieved from wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawnee
The Battle of Monongahela 1755 - Braddocks Defeat. (n.d.). Retrieved from Brittish Battles.com: http://www.britishbattles.com/braddock.htm
Ulster Plantation. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Plantation

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Stewarts - Part 6 - The Battle of Monogahela

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green

The Battle

The rangers urged the General to send scouts ahead and on the flanks so as not to be surprised by Indian attack. The General haughtily dismissed these suggestions.
As the advance group crossed the Monongahela River, the forest erupted in musket shot and war cries from Indians, Canadians, and Frenchmen. Suddenly men were falling like “leaves in autumn”, as one British officer recalled.
 (Ferling, 2010 )
The advance group quickly retreated and the British regulars rushed forward at the sound of the gunshots. Pandemonium ensued.  The British officers were ordering their men to stand and fight in their neat, orderly ranks. Meanwhile their comrades are falling all around them and they couldn’t even see the enemy who were cleverly hidden in the brush and behind the trees.
The “professional” soldiers are breaking ranks and retreating for their lives while the “provincials”, notably the Virginians, were fighting back in the “Indian way” and covering the retreat of the British. General Braddock was urging his men on – even hitting them with the broad of his sword – while calling them cowards for running.
During the battle, the General has four horses shot from under him. Col. Washington rides to the front to encourage his Virginians as they try to stay and continue to fight as long as possible.
Washington has two horses shot from under him and, though not wounded, he later finds 4 bullet holes in his coat. (Braddocks Defeat by George Washington) 
Riding to the aid of the General he arrives just as Braddock is struck with the fatal shot.
 One version of the story has Washington yelling at Capt. Robert Stewart, “Stewart, catch the General.” This, he supposedly did as the General slumped to the ground.  
Col. Washington assumes command of the fleeing army and orders a cart be pulled around and the General loaded upon it with a few other officers who had fallen.
The army, or what is left of it, retreats several miles to a safe place  (General Braddocks Defeat in the French and Indian War). Only a mile from Fort Necessity they finally take their rest.
It is here that General Braddock finally succumbs from the fatal wound. It is said that his final words were, “We shall know how to fight them next time.”(The Battle of Monongahela 1755 - Braddocks Defeat)
Knowing they are still being perused by the Indians and the French, Washington orders a grave to be dug in the middle of the road. The General’s body is laid to rest here.
The Chaplain has also been wounded and so it falls to Col. Washington to perform the funeral service. The grave is covered over and the remaining army marches over the place in order to disguise the grave so that it will not be desecrated and the General’s body ,”mistreated”. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stewarts - Part 5 - General Braddock

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green

General Braddock 

A very frustrated and nervous Governor Dinwiddie called for help in his struggle with the French. In response, King George II sent one of his leading generals – Major General Edward Braddock- along with 2 British (Irish) Regiments and a “train of Royal Artillery”. 
It seems there were several delays in gathering up enough supplies and men for the expedition (The Battle of Monongahela 1755 - Braddocks Defeat). While still in camp and preparing for the battle to come, Washington and several others, including Benjamin Franklin (Abbott), tried to advise the General that the methods proven on the battlefields of Europe would not work with this enemy. War was fought differently here.
The British General was very proud and arrogant. He had no doubts that the French would see this great column of British regulars and just run and hide in fear of their obvious superiority. No amount of coaxing from these inferior colonists could persuade him otherwise.
So, with a long line of British regular troops, 2 companies of provincial “rangers” and “light horse“, several wagons, carts of supplies and camp followers (including  a young teamster by the name of Daniel Boone(Faragher), General Braddock set out across Va. to teach those pesky French a lesson. The procession was about 4 miles long on a narrow, winding road.
Following a group of “carpenters” and woodsmen, the column moved on as the woodsmen cut and cleared a 12 foot wide road through the wilderness. This, as you might imagine, was a very slow and tedious journey for all involved. 
Col. Washington and his rangers had become very adept at the “Indian way of fighting” as all early settlers and trappers had learned to survive in this hostile frontier. They knew that an army standing shoulder to shoulder in wide lines (wearing bright red coats) was probably not the smartest way to go about this.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Stewarts - Part 4 - Capture and Escape

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green

Capture and escape 

James Stewart is first mentioned in the county records when a road was commissioned to be built from “Stuarts Run” to Carters Mill on the Calfpasture River.
James served in the Virginia militia under Captain Dickenson and saw service during the Indian wars. I haven’t found much information concerning his military career as most accounts jump right to the unfortunate story of his tragic death.
In September of 1757 James and his son were captured by Indians. Several others who were also working outside an unguarded fort were also killed or taken captive. Most reports say they were Pawnee, but it is more likely that the Indians in question were from the Shawnee nation (Shawnee) as the Pawnee (Pawnee People) were located much further west.
The story goes that James Sr. was burned at the stake and his son was made to watch his father die. I cannot imagine a worse fate for either of these men.
The good news is that James the younger, 18 years old at the time; escaped from the Indians later that year and returned to his family. Details of the escape are sketchy and how young James found his way back to the Cowpasture is not detailed. However it is recorded that young James is at the settling of James Sr.’s will - his children were allowed to choose guardians to live with thereafter. (Mai, 1996)
James’s brother, Robert, went on to serve with George Washington at Braddock’s defeat at Fort Duquesne.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Stewarts - Part 2 - The Stewart Boys

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green

(Parts 2 & 3)
The Stewart Boys
Governor Dinwiddie ordered a road built to the Monongahela River to help defend the new fort. Again Mr. Washington was sent to lead the operation only to find the new fort was a newer fort called Duquesne and just full of Frenchmen. Horrors.
Washington, not to be outdone, went on to build a stockade fort called, appropriately, Fort Necessity near present-day Uniontown. On July 3, 1754 the French again laughed and swarmed this new fort. Washington was forced to surrender and again sent back to a very frustrated Gov. Dinwiddie.
Among the returning wounded was a young Captain Robert Stewart who served with and became one of Washington’s most prized officers.
In 1755 a new militia was raised and every able-bodied man was called to serve and defend the frontier from the “invading” French. Among those who served in the Virginia Militia were James Stewart (Roberts brother) and his son, James Stewart Jr.

(Part 3)
The Cowpasture 
James Sr. was born in Perthshire, Scotland in 1719 and moved with his family to Ireland during the “Ulster Plantation” experiment (Ulster Plantation). While the family was there, James followed in his father’s footsteps and married an Irish girl – Mary Ann Lafferty – around 1738 in Dublin, Ireland.
Mary was a member of the landed gentry as she was receiving rent from properties in Ireland after her husband’s death (1913)*. Her brother married one of James’ sisters.
*note: (1913) is not the date of death but is a reference in the bibliography at the end.
The family came to the colonies in about 1740 and settled in the Shenandoah Valley by the Tygart Valley in a place called “the Cowpasture” not far from “the Calfpasture” and “the Bullpasture” …don’t ask. That’s a story for another day. Let’s just say that the Indians, who stole the herd of cattle, had a hard time keeping the herd together.(Cowpasture River)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stewarts - Part 1 - Introduction

Stewarts, Washington, and General Braddock’s Defeat
(A historical story in 7 little parts)
By David L. Green
Our history books call it the “French and Indian War” or “The Seven Years War” and some (Bowen, 1998) have called it the “first World War”.
All the major powers in the world (mostly in Europe) were splitting up the rest of the world and vying for property around the globe. But basically here in North America, it was a war between the French and Spanish (who had a big chunk of Canada and central parts of what is now the United States) and the British (who were very keen on keeping and growing their fledgling colonies).
The British colonies were expanding westward and the French were expanding eastward and the inevitable result was a war on the western frontier. The colonies organized and sent their militias to confront the French and their allies – the Canadians and various tribes of Native American Indians. 
Virginia’s Lieutenant- Governor, Robert Dinwiddie, learned that the French were building forts that threatened the colonies interests in the Ohio Valley. He sent a young George Washington with a stern note for the French to withdraw or face the consequences… After the laughter died down, the small group of Virginians were dismissed and sent packing.
When Washington delivered the message to the Governor, he, the Governor, sent a small group of militia to build a fort at the forks of the Ohio River where Pittsburg is today. 
The French thought this was great fun. They attacked the fort, killed the majority of the defenders, and forced the surrender of the remaining brave lads. They were again sent back to the Governor and the French immediately built a bigger, better fort and called it Fort Duquesne (Fort Duquesne) (pron. Dew-kane) named for the new governor of “New France”.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

Greetings, readers,
Happy Samhain! Happy Halloween, All Saints Day, Day of the Dead - depending on which part of the globe or which time in history you prefer to celebrate.
I am glad to see some of you read the story from my childhood. I was prompted by several unrelated events which made me think it was time to write a story from my own history before it was lost. So many others have been lost because they were not written down and saved for the rest of us.
I am presently continuing the research on the Steuart/Stewart family who came here from Scotland and Ireland to become colonists, and frontiersmen, and heroes. Some of whom fought along side of some of the most famous names in our countries' history.
They came from landed gentry in those places and founded places here and grew families that became farmers and coalminers, preachers and teachers and maybe one musician/carpenter/blogger who now sells doors and windows at The Home Depot. Ha!
 God, we have come a long way.
I just wanted to wet your appetites for a really good story coming soon to a blog near you. Keep in touch and I'll be back soon with a really good one.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Summer Vacation 6

Boy, 12, Rolls, Falls 600 Feet

What I did on my Summer Vacation
By David L. Green
Part VI

After a week in the hospital my father decided it was time to go home. I suppose he had to get back to work and the thought of mounting medical costs was part of that decision. Even though the doctors said I should stay another week under the watchful eyes of medical professionals, my father had made up his mind. It seemed he couldn’t wait to put a lot of distance between us and Mohegan hollow as quickly as possible.
As luck would have it, the station wagon made a convenient transport for a patient who could not sit up. I could, however, roll, being at this point an oblong bowling ball.
So he figured that if I had a pillow on either side of me, I was good to go.  And, so, being loaded, padded and stuffed, the rest of the family jumped in and we began a long, torturous, 12-hour journey back to Orlando.
I don’t remember much of the trip as I was being held captive in la-la land by some pretty heavy pain killers. But Dad told me later that he would drive as long as he could before he was forced to stop for much needed sleep and, sure enough, shortly, I would wake up and groan in pain. They would feed me another pain pill and it was back on the road again.
Back home in Orlando I took up residence in my own bed where I stayed, pretty much, the rest of the summer.
Mom was working as a nurse for an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Jack Gresham. He was also a member of our church and we had known him and his family for many years.
Dr. Gresham would take time out of his very busy schedule to come over and check on me. He would give me the shots and medicine I needed and would make sure I was recovering as I should.
Friends, neighbors, and church members would stop by to check on me and bring food or cards and well wishes. It is during these times that we learn to really appreciate the extended family.
I received a call one day from the writer/reporter, Charlie Reese, of the Orlando Sentinel’s “Hush Puppies” column. The interview, done over the phone, resulted in an article whose title I stole for the story you are now reading. Charlie called back several times to follow up on my recovery. And, I believe, wrote a follow-up article about that.
My Jr. High school coach took full credit for my survival. It was, after all, because of the ‘great physical condition’ that I was in at the time of the accident that made it all possible. I was, in all fairness, probably in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to starting my ‘career’ with the school’s football team the following year. The last thing Coach Vernon Gross told me as he said goodbye for the summer was to "keep up the good work over the summer and come back ready to play football."
Well, sorry coach. That just didn’t work out. The cast was removed only two days before school started. I was still getting used to being vertical and sitting in chairs. Those first few months were a challenge to say the least.  Instead of starting on the football team, my parents were told that I had to protect my back at all costs. If I were to break my back again, I may be crippled the rest of my life.
So, instead, I spent that class time working in the library every day. And I was good at it and I learned a lot of things that have stayed with me to this day.
I did make up for my inability to participate in ‘contact sports’ by lettering in Track and Field two years in a row. I can still remember what a big deal Coach Gross made of it as he presented my first Letter and the standing ovation I received from the student body as I walked across that stage.
 I didn’t become the big football star I had dreamed about. I didn’t get to do a lot of things that my friends got to do. But I did get to wear a letterman’s sweater that I earned. I did play the guitar and piano – not very well, mind you, but I did.
I learned to appreciate my family and friends as well as my faith and I learned that faith can get you through a lot of things that nothing else can.
I learned that I still enjoy fireworks but I am very leery of standing close to the edge of high places and of taking dares even from people I know and love. And if I have one regret … you know, they told me that when they set off that firecracker, it echoed through that valley for 10 minutes. I would have loved to hear that.
The End

End notes: I have just found the articles mentioned above and there are some changes I must include here; First the title came from an article in the local Welch, W. Va. newspaper and 2nd, the reporter in the Orlando Sentinel was Charlie Wadsworth . Sorry about that Mr. Wadsworth and thank you for recording my story.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Summer Vacation 5

Boy, 12, Rolls, Falls 600 Feet

What I did on my Summer Vacation
By David L. Green
Part V

I awoke to find myself in a very bright place. My head was very fuzzy but I realized that I felt comfortable and cool and everything was very bright.
Voices. I could hear the soft whispers of female voices. As I looked toward my feet to try and locate the source of the sound, I saw two figures at the foot of my bed. All dressed in white and very bright. Everything was very bright.
“Oh. Look. He’s waking up.”
A few giggles and they were gone. I thought they must be angels but my wife suggested they were probably nurses. Too bad, I rather liked the idea of angels.
Well, I had no idea where I was or why I was there but it was obvious to me that I didn’t belong there and I was probably going to be in trouble if my parents found out. So my only thought was - escape. I had to get to a place that I recognized some place that looked familiar. Someplace – anyplace but here. “I’ve gotta get outta here.”
The fog was clearing and I was beginning to see shapes and colors. I was in a bed in a big room – a room that was surrounded with widows. It was the room at end of the floor and the room, I later learned, was called the Sun Room. Yeah, well, that fit.
I had to get out of that bed and get out of there. So I tried to roll out of bed but, for some reason, my body would not roll. O.K., so I tried to sit up straight, but I could not.
“What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move?”
I smacked my chest with both hands but I did not feel my chest - what I felt was hard and hollow.
“What the…?”
I grabbed the sheet and pulled it down over my chest to reveal a big, heavy white cast that seemed to cover most of my body.
As I inspected the cast, I found that it was all around my body and went from under my chin to just over my hips. I was stunned and convinced that this was some kind of sick joke. I believe that I started screaming - demanding to know where I was and what I was doing there and what is up with this cast?
When someone came into the room, I’m sure it must have been my parents, they finally explained what had happened and that it was some kind of miracle that I was alive at all.
The next week is a bit of a blur but I remember that shortly after I came to, the cast I was in was becoming very tight, very tight, so tight that I could only breathe in short, shallow breathes.
It seems from all the cuts and abrasions, my body was swelling and out-growing the cast. Their answer to the problem was to cut a hole in the cast about 4” by 6” just above my diaphragm.
The result of this plan was that I could look down and see 4” of cast then 1 ½” of my belly protruding above the new hole and then the rest of the cast. It was humorous. I would have laughed … if I could breathe.
Enter: the oxygen tent. Wonderful invention.  Cool, cool air falling constantly over your head and chest. Wonderful.
Eventually the swelling went down and I could breathe normally and all I had to deal with was the pain. The pain. My whole body was in pain. My body was bandaged up from the gashes in my skull…and legs … and my hands were splinted and wrapped because they were so broken that I was told I would never play guitar again. And, of course, there were the two broken vertebra in my back. But, I was alive.