Monday, July 7, 2008

A Piece of The Past

When David was born we decided to name him David Schuyler (pronounced Sky-ler) after my five times great grandfather. Many people have found this strange since David is adopted and don't feel he has any legacy through our family histories. But we felt at the time, and even more so now that he does have a heritage that is passed down from our ancestors.

David received his physical characteristics from his birthparents. But as his adoptive parents, the values and history that built our character are what we have been instilling him since he was one day old.

My family history was not passed down to me from my parents. I have done research to find out about the men and women of my family history. This journey has led me to many dead ends, but I have made some discoveries that led me to the very beginning of our nation.

One of the interesting stories from my grandmother (who just passed away a few years ago) had never been told to any of the members of my family until I began my research.

She had been raised mostly by stepfathers because her father had died when she was young. When I questioned her about the death of her father she stated he had been working at the local grocery store and while taking a break had grabbed a Coke and died of a heart attack. She said the cocaine in Coke was the cause of his death. His death certificate states "unknown" as reason of death. (Can you imagine that being allowed on a death certificate today?) However, this was a possibility since he died in February of 1922 and Coke was not cocaine-free until 1929.

Schuyler Hamilton, my ancestor that we took David's middle name from, was born in either 1787 or 1789. He served in the War of 1812. Schuyler and his wife Susanna were parents to 17 children, 15 who lived to adulthood. They owned 900 acres in southwest Virginia where the couple raised their family. Schuyler was a hatmaker, miller and farmer. He also was a judge in the first election held in Wise County, Virginia. In his spare time he was a fife player Susanna and Schuyler were members of the Primitive Baptist Church. He is also listed in court records as requesting the building of the first road between Ramsey and Coeburn, Virginia.

Schuyler died in 1861 and is buried atop a mountain. And we have been able to visit it. The tombstone has been replaced with a modern one to stand for future generations.

Click on the document to see full-size
I have found the marriage record for Susanna's parents in the Virginia Historical Library (shown to the left). Though they married in March 1794, after American independence, the document is very British in tone and the payment required for the license is fifty pounds. I think so much in "American" terms that I had not considered how long it would have taken to set up an entire government and monetary system and then to put into place.

I have taken Rich to the area that the Hamilton's lived and shown him a very different way of life, the coal mines that now stand empty and the company house my father grew up in. The land that has been destroyed by strip mining now lays bared and scarred.

I am so glad my research began before my grandparents died so their stories and memories didn't die with them. The information I obtained from them is invaluable and has led to more then just names and dates.

David has a part of this history and it is fitting that his name reflects that.


Mrs.RGS said...

Kim, I have a couple of things that I want to comment about -- but my server is very slooow tonight. I'll try again tomorrow. You know me -- I always have something to say, ha, ha.

Mrs.RGS said...

I loved your hearing about your family's history and how close it is to your present home. You could do a whole series on this.
I heard over the weekend a news piece that said that because of gas prices people are not taking vacations but "stay-cations". Enjoying their areas close to home to save money like you mentioned before.
We could do "blog-cations". You can do all the wonderful historic areas near you and I could do, well, let's see . . . oh, the end of the Lewis and Clark trek before they turned around and went home. Or the end of the Oregon trail. I guess where I live is just the end and where you are is the beginning.

Kim said...

I loveyour idea on "blog-cations." Yes, we are staying closer to home then in past years due to the gas prices. We live very close to so many wonderful places and we would love to share them with everyone.
You could just show the beauty of your area. It is amazing the creativity that God used when creating our planet. David loves to watch his train dvd that goes through Oregon.

Kelly said...

How neat, Kim! I also love history, especially geneaology. David has every right to your families' heritage as you and Rich do - after all, Christ was the son of God without having a lick of his DNA! :o)

Kim said...

Good point Kelly. I don't even want to think about where we'd be without Christ's adoption of us!
ps-MG is getting so big.