Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lost and Forgotten, until now

A gift, or perhaps not, of genealogy, a hobby of mine, is discovering a person in ones family history who was a hero, or outstanding citizen in his or her time, but now are forgotten totally.

 That sounds exactly as bleak as it feels when I find one. Recently, while researching my New Jersey Morris family ancestors, I learned about two Civil War, or as they say down south, the war of northern aggression, soldiers who qualified. Both wore Union blue.

One was a field commissioned major, a big deal in any war. The other a private who for reasons unknown and unknowable was a hospital cook. Sounds safe doesn't it? The problem with such safety is that regimental hospitals in the Civil War were like very crude, bloody, and filthy MASH units. Not sure who wanted to eat after seeing what was done to the wounded once they reached the "safety" of a field hospital.

His name was Asher Morris Lee. Not related to the much more famous Confederate Lee. Asher was named for his maternal grandfather Asher Morris who was the son of Benjamin and married the daughter of a revolutionary war veteran named James Herbert of Middletown, New Jersey.

The field commissioned major was also a Morris descendent. His name was William Wallce Morris. His mother was a Wallace descended from the Wallace clan of Scotland we know from history or if not from a movie released some years ago. His great grandfather was Asher Morris' brother Joseph. Joseph was a War of 1812 veteran.

William had two great great grandfathers who fought in the revolution. So I suppose one might suggest that it was in his blood. William lived in the city of Newark, New Jersey and put together a company of volunteers to fight against those involved in the southern rebellion to save their slave economy.

William proved himself an outstanding leader as well as a courageous one. When President Lincoln rode through Newark, William was one of his personal escorts.

How could history forget a man whose obituary, after he died age 75 in an accident, filled several pages of the Newark newspapers? We'll, it has. Until now. Both men, and one Morris woman who was a battlefield nurse during that same war, I wrote about her on a different blog, were and to me, are heroes.

These are the truly important people who create, bleed for, die for, and give those who follow a country to live in that offers opportunity once cherished by people around the world. I don't just mean veterans, although they are certainly special, but every person who contributes to the common good. All heroes and worth remembering.

But it is a mystery to me that so many of us now alive and enjoying what their sacrifices provided do not give a damn, or not much of one, about their ancestors and what they did.

Do you? Why not share them?

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