A Little Ancestral Name-Dropping

July is a special month to me. We celebrate the birth of the greatest nation on earth and we celebrate our pioneer ancestors. I find it fitting that these two celebrations fall just twenty days apart. Our nation was founded on principles of freedom and liberty (yes, there is a subtle difference between the two) and my pioneer ancestors traveled across the United States with others in a massive exodus to take advantage of that freedom and liberty.

I am a proud American. Not just because I love her and what she stands for. Not just because I get chills when someone sings a stirring version of a patriotic song. Not just because I find it hard to keep tears out of my eyes when I see our flag waving or our servicemen coming home. Not just because of the sacrifice and inspiration of those great Americans who paved the way.

I'm proud to be an American because America runs through my veins. William Bradford (Plymouth's first governor) and William Brewster (Plymouth's minister) are my direct ancestors. They both came to our country on the Mayflower. They came here to be a part of establishing something special, something extraordinary. And they succeeded.

Meltiar Hatch is my maternal great-great-great-grandfather. He is a descendant of both William Bradford and William Brewster. He was a friend to the prophet Joseph Smith and carried messages back and forth to him while the prophet was imprisoned in Liberty Jail. He and his family crossed the Plains with some of the first pioneers. He was a member of the Mormon Battalion. He was called to help settle Southern Utah and helped establish Santa Clara, Utah.

William Thomas Higginson is my paternal great-great-grandfather. As a young man in England, he was groom and a jockey in the king's stables. He joined the church in England and with his sweetheart came to the United States. She died just three and a half months after their marriage. He continued on to Salt Lake. After a time, he was called to go back to Nebraska to help other immigrants who were traveling to Salt Lake. On that trip, he met the woman who would become his wife and would become my great-great-grandmother, Christina Young. Ironically, they eventually settled in Hatch, Idaho, a town founded by my mother's ancestors.

I'm grateful for the work and sacrifice and determination that came before me.

I'm proud and grateful for my heritage. I hope I live to make my ancestors proud of me.

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5 comments:

missy said...

I know what you mean. I can't hear or sing the National Anthem without getting tears in my eyes (and usually running down my cheeks, too!) My husband's G-G-G-G-G-Grandpa was a 14-year old drummer boy in George Washington's Army when he crossed the Delaware. He later joined the church and died in Quincy, IL. American History and Church History are definitely connected. I'm grateful for both! :)

Anonymous said...

This posting touches my heart because of my love for my country, my church and my ancestry. I am blessed beyond words to have strong feelings about each one of these. I have such gratitude for my family: those who came before, those I enjoy now, and those who will follow me in my American History and my Family History lines. LMH

Leslie said...

it makes me to proud when i hear about the amazing things our ancestors did and know about who they are...

i wonder if i am leaving a legacy that my great great grandkids will be proud of. hmmm.

Lisa said...

thanks for the nice reminders of where we come from. a first-generation convert spoke in our sacrament meeting today. he said that we can also focus on the fact that these pioneers who joined the church and gave up everything for the gospel are our SPIRITUAL ancestors too.

Thelma said...

My husband is also a descendant of William Brewster. My kids love to remind us on Thanksgiving that he said the prayer at the first Thanksgiving. (At least that's the family story and we're sticking to it!)