Saturday, June 9, 2012

Did Your Ancestors Serve in the War Between the States?

Do you know your ancestors or relatives who are veterans of some of America's wars? I did not know until I began researching family for my book, Profiles and Pedigrees, Tom Council and his Descendants.

We have a special page in the book to honor those who served in World War II and wars that followed. I had three cousins who died in plane crashes during training for that war. One was lost at sea, one was killed when his plane flew into a mountain. 

It is easy today to find military records for ancestors on the Internet. My two great grandfathers, John Monroe Robison and John Cecil Council fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy. I have their papers, their wills and their widows' pensions. 

My oldest brother, Ray, was a veteran of the second World War. He served in the U.S. Navy. He was so cute in his uniform. I know from the photos taken of him way back then. I don't think he ever saw combat. The war ended about the time he enlisted.

My brother-in-law, Charlie, served in World War II. I have a good friend who is celebrating his 88th birthday this month, Ash Rothlein, who is a veteran of that same war.

As I watched the Hatfields and the McCoys on TV, I thought once again, why do men want to kill each other? I hate war and the idea of war. Life is precious, especially if that life belongs to my loved ones, so why do they want to fight? I don't think I will ever understand war. Do you?


Lise said...

I have family members who have served in the military, but only one second cousin by mariage who has served in a war, and he is in Afghanstan. Thank you to all who have served.

And no, I don't understand war one bit. I did not see that show, but I surely don't know why we have kill each other in the name of peace. Does not make one lick of sense to me.

My motto...let there be peace!

JLC said...

I was fortunate to inherit the letters of my paternal great grandparents. My great grandfather and his cousins served under Nathan Bedford Forrest. He lived through the "War Between the States" as my grandmother used to call it. When I asked a historian after a lecture what I could do with the letters, he suggested the Southern History Collection at UNC Chapel Hill. They're there now. The papers of John Price Thurman and Sallie Ecklin, interesting the librarian told us because the wife's letters have been preserved as well as her husband's.

Glenda Beall said...

I have letters from my father written to my mother. The letters were simply written and exposed the lonliness of a man in love with a woman he couldn't afford to marry. But a couple of years later he wrote letters to his pregnant wife who lived with her parents. He vowed he'd find a way to get her to Florida where he worked.
The letters are touching, but I doubt they qualify as historical documents.

Glenda jBeall said...

Lise, I agree. It doesn't make a bit of sense to go to war if we want peace.
Communication could work so much better than war, but the old men who make war seldom want that, it seems.