The Year of the Patriot: On Discovering my Revolutionary Roots

The grave of my 4x great grandfather, John Darrow, a Revolutionary War Patriot. He died on the 4th of July!

It has been the year of the patriot for me. 

In my genealogical research I have had breakthroughs in discovering several Revolutionary War ancestors this year. One in particular that caught my attention is my 4x great grandfather, John Darrow (1763-1854). John’s records include his account of being a waiter to his father (my 5x great grandfather) Captain George Darrow, during the Battle of Bennington in Vermont. At the age of 14, John had accompanied his father on horseback and brought water to the troops.  According to John’s account, his father George also fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill as a lieutenant and the Battle of Quebec under General Benedict Arnold. John Darrow was later in Colonel Marinus Willett’s regimen who marched to Fort Plain in 1781.  John was also in the Battle of Johnstown.

A 14-year-old bride and fort attendant

I found information that John Darrow married his wife, Martha Herrick (my 4x great grandmother) during the same time period that he was at Fort Plain. Grandmother Martha was only 14 years old then. She assisted at Fort Plain by doing chores and changing the bed linen for the soldiers and residents. It has been documented that many women civilians participated in the defense of this fort.  Some even dressed as soldiers to ward off invaders. This Fort appears to have been built adjacent to and a few yards from land that was once occupied by the homestead of Martha’s father, Daniel Herrick (my 5x great grandfather).  It was on a high bluff in the Mohawk Valley area of New York. Their town had been ravaged by the British forces and Native Americans.  Martha’s brother, Daniel Herrick, Jr., was also at Fort Plain at that time and had assisted in its construction. For family members who are interested, these are all ancestors of my Grandmother Pearl, on my mother’s side.

Grandfather died on the 4th of July!

Grandfather John Darrow actually died on July 4 in 1854 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He lived to an old age of 90. Independence Day is a good day for a patriot. As I recall, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, the 2nd and 3rd presidents of the United States, also died on July 4 in 1826 –fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Also the 5th president of the US, James Monroe, passed away on July 4, 1831.  In addition the birthday of the 30th president of the US, Calvin Coolidge, was on July 4, 1872!  While we are at it, John’s grandfather, George Darrow, died in  the year 1776.

Fortnight for Freedom

The battle for freedom and liberty continues in this country.This year Catholic dioceses and parishes around the country have instituted Fortnight for Freedom which observes our Christian and American heritage of liberty. This event goes for 14 days beginning on June 21 and ending on July 4. These two weeks contain the feast days of many saints that have suffered for religious freedom and have remained faithful in spite of persecution by political authorities.  The saints include St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More, St. John the Baptist, Apostles Peter and Paul, and the First Martyrs of the Church of Rome.The Fortnight for Freedom was launched recently to protest against the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate which forces religious groups to pay for abortions and contraception.  The mandate is viewed as a threat to the freedoms granted in the First Amendment of the Constitution.

 God bless America!

My ancestry is made up of a hodgepodge of immigrants, patriots, native Americans, and even loyalists. It is with great joy to learn of my Revolutionary War ties.The bottom line is that my family and I are here today as a result of the struggle of our ancestors to preserve their freedoms and rights as given in the Constitution. I hope that my descendants can continue to benefit from living in a country that is a nation under God . It is more than just a nice gesture when people put their hands over their hearts at the Pledge of Allegiance and in the singing of The Star Spangled Banner.  It is being thankful to God for the freedoms that we have been given and never taking them for granted. This is not a statement about political parties or agendas.  For me it is about living in a country that acknowledges the sovereignty of God.

I remember once interviewing a WWII veteran.  He told me that during that time of our history, Americans had a lot of pride in their country and were respectful to God. Hopefully we never depart from that.  As our country celebrates 4th of July this year, I reflect on these things.

The Revolutionary War Veteran burial card for my 4x great grandfather John Darrow

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