Stories and history of some of my ancestors and other aspects of genealogy
Sunday, November 10, 2013
VETERAN'S DAY TRIBUTE TO MY ANCESTORS WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE MILITARY
Veteran's Day Tribute to my Ancestors Who Have Served in the Military
November 10, 2013 at 8:42pm
On Veterans' Day, and every day, I should like to extend thanks to all those brave men and women who serve in the military.
And while throughout my genealogy there are literally thousands of my ancestors who have served in the military and every war we have been involved in since the first Pilgrims set foot on American soil, and I appreciate each and every one of their service, I would like to set forth here a tribute to a smattering of those in my direct lineage:
My father, Thomas James Holland, 1923-2003, served in the Marines during World War II in the South Pacific on an aircraft carrier where he performed as an airplane mechanic.
My maternal Grandfather, Vera Dan Curtis, 1887-1971, served in the Army in World War I on the European Front. He had been called to the front lines of battle in France when the Armistice was announced. His specialty was communications, telegraph wiring, codes, etc.
Great Great Grandfather on my mother's side (her father's grandfather): Charles Frederick Curtis, abt. 1814- to ?,volunteered for the 13th Michigan Cavalry, Company C in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the beginning of the Civil War and served until the end of the war. He participated in dozens of major battles and traversed the entire South, ending up in Washington D.C. for the victory parade; and afterwards mustered out with his entire unit in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the company cook and was 44 years old: the oldest man in his Company at sign-up. After the war, he and his family came across the country from Michigan to California. There the Curtises founded the family farm I grew up on (and which my brother and his sons still farm to this day, the fifth generation of family to do so). I have a beautiful antique wall clock that came across the country with them.
Great Great Grandfather on my mother's side (her mother's grandfather): John Simon Baker, 1841-1912, served in the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry Regiment in the Civil War. He was wounded and was lying in a makeshift hospital bed where he could hear the tramping of the soldiers marching by on their way to the burning of Atlanta (as told to my grandma when she was a little girl). In later years he wished to go back and visit Tennessee: land that he had seen during his war years. As my grandma's father (John's son-in-law) had purchased some land there, this was the perfect opportunity and he traveled there to check out the plot of land his son-in-law had purchase While there, he suffered a heart attack and died.
John's brother, Horatio B. Baker (my 2nd great grand uncle) was a hero of the Civil War. He was a Captain of a Wisconsin regiment and was injured in battle and taken prisoner of war. He was released when it was felt he was near death and he crawled many miles to a Union encampment. He eventually fully recovered. Another Baker brother was not so lucky. While surviving the war, he never fully recovered and suffered mental and physical impairment relating to his war experiences until his death.
John Simon Baker's wife, Hannah Maria South, had ties to both sides of the war. She came from a strong family base in the Kentucky area (the South Family) and her mother's (Almyra Winston) father was a large slaveholder who was born in Puerto Rico (Jacob Joseph Winston, 1765-1860). Hannah's husband and at least one (probably more) brother fought for the North. Her brother, Chauncy Winston South, 1848-1928, was also quite a war hero. Hannah's paternal grandfather, (her father Benjamin Franklin South's father and my 4th Great Grandfather), Zedekiah South, 1755-1835, was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. I have MANY direct ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War that could easily tie me to Daughters of the American Revolution (but have never gone through the paperwork and certification process). I am unfamiliar with the family history this far back and will use Zedekiah as my example of veterans in my family during this time period. Zedekiah's service is well documented and among those documents are receipts for shoes for his regiment and records pertaining to his military pension in later years. Here is an excerpt from a genealogy site on the internet pertaining to Zedekiah's Revolutionary War service:
"Zedekiah South served in the Revolutionary War from 1776-1778. He was a Shoe Maker, Harness Maker and Teamster. He applied for a Pension 19 Sep 1832 # R9940 while living in Glen, Montgomery Co., New York He moved from New Jersey to New York shortly after the end of the war, according to his Pension Application, of which I have a copy. I have a copy of the receipt given him by David Olden, Commissioner of Clothing for Middlesex Co., New Jersey 1777 - 1779, for 21 pairs of shoes, on 3 Jun 1777 in stores purchased for the Continental Army. This is covered by a book by Dorothy Agnas Stratford called, " Certificates of Receipts of Rev." New Jersey Vol 2, of, "Stores Purchased for Army". Published by Hunterdon House, Lambertville, New Jersey".
Other direct ancestors fought in each and every conflict with Great Britain and the Indian Wars. There are many stories of abductions, massacres, scalpings and heroic deeds; but I will leave these for another day. Of course, this also does not go into my family's British and Canadian military service, which is extensive--particularly my Great Great Grandfather Meakins' service with the British Military in India. My family lines seem to have been instrumental in every step of the founding of our country and all military undertakings in which it has been involved.
On another note, Veteran's Day is the anniversary date of my mother's death, 2007. Perhaps that is fitting, as so much of her life was defined by the events of World War II, and she had so many ties to the military.
John Simon Baker, and family. John is seated on left. Horatio B. Baker Thomas James and Martha Laverne (Curtis) Holland on their wedding day Almyra (Winston) South, daughter of large slaveholder Jacob Joseph Winston; daughter-in-law of Revolutionary War veteran Zedekiah South From the British side: Great Grandparents and William and Mary Ann (Latham) Meakins Wife of slaveholder, Jacob Joseph Winston: Hannah (Gardiner) Winston; mother of Almyra My grandfather, Vera D. Curtis, took some stunning photos during his World War I service. This one is entitled 4 inch guns, Germany. The Aquitania, New York Harbor; from my grandfather's World War I photos Camp Kitchen in Germany, from my grandfather's World War I photos. From my grandfather's World War I photos, entitled Guns at Torbrun. From my father's World War II photos, in Hawaii. A notice in the local paper about my father's service in World War II, in the Marines. A lookout tower in Northern California, where my aunt, Agnes May Holland served as a volunteer during World War II. They monitored the skies constantly on the lookout for Japanese aircraft. My father, Thomas James Holland in center, during his service as a Marine in World War II. On left is his sister Agnes May Holland and on the right, his father, William Henry Holland, who emigrated to the U.S. at about age 18, from England. My father, the marine: Thomas James Holland, World War II. My grandfather, Vera Dan Curtis, who served in the Army in Europe in World War I.