July 3, 2014

Let's Celebrate the American Spirit with the Fourth of July!

I drove to Lexington this week...and every few miles I would see a large tent in a parking lot...where some one was selling all of the various noise makers for celebrating the 4th of July. In my part of the state many folks drive to Tennessee for their fireworks purchases. But with all of the tents of fireworks...they just might not have to drive so far this year. Hubby tells me that when he was a kid his uncle David who attended the University of Virginia would bring fireworks home to kentucky. The cousins thought that was pretty great! 

Speaking of boys and fireworks...there was an event at my house. There were some boys across the street, whom I will call the firecracker boys, who were playing in one boy's driveway. There were pops, noises, and some smoke drifting through the air. While this is going on I was in and out the front door working on my flags, etc. 

I was opening my front door....at which point I saw smoke and smelled a burned firework. I mentioned this to my son  thirty year old son....and he went outside to find it in the yard next to my front steps. He put out the heat and smoke....then walked across the street to mention this to the mother...who had suspected the boys had done something they should not have....(like firecrackers almost on the neighbors front porch.) She was most apologetic and said it would not be a problem in the future. A few minutes later...three young boys (middle school age) all walked up our long driveway and came to the front door. I sent son to answer...as I suspected that the mom had the boys march over to my house to apologize. And I was right. I just bet those boys hated to walk over here to make amends...but I feel better about them since they did. I suspect that the wind blew the  firecracker onto my sidewalk, but when I first went out to see about it...three young boys "ran" for cover in the house. Have you ever done something that did not work out well.  When all was over I mentioned to my son about remembering when he was about the same age as the firecracker boys. Fortunately boys eventually mature...well, most do. ha! 

As we contemplate a nice fourth of July celebration with cook-outs, family, friends, travel, and a few firecrackers I want to take a look back to the early days of our country's history. A few years ago I began searching for my ancestors...and found most of them, along with a brick wall or two leaving me with a few more questions. Two sides of my family have been on American soil since the early sixteen hundreds. 

If your ancestors were in this country prior to the French and Indian War and were of age they were touched by the historical events in the formation of our country. It was for the principals under which we now still live... that our ancestors paid for in blood, sweat, and tears. (see source below...)

Now for a history lesson ...(Once a teacher always a teacher I suppose.)

If this is more history than you want, you may just look at the pictures of my flag centerpiece I made. My feelings will not be hurt if you don't have time for all of this discussion. I just felt that it was an appropriate time to share the Kentucky angle on fighting and war...and it involves land, precious land. 

The King of England gave the first land patents in Kentucky to pay those who fought in the French and Indian War. According to J.Mark Lowe the veterans were not paid money, but were given land instead. 

Kentucky's Revolutionary Land Grants - Part I   by J. Mark Lowe

All land in Kentucky should follow a pedigree back to a governmental grant, generally Kentucky or Virginia. This process is called land patenting. Once a part of the commonwealth of Virginia, the land of Kentucky began to be granted after the King’s Proclamation of 1763 stating that land would be granted in lieu of cash to the veterans of the French & Indian War. The Land Law of 1779 expanded the granting of land to the state’s Revolutionary War veterans. http://kytnstories.blogspot.com/2011/07/kentuckys-revolutionary-land-grants.html

 “The proprietors of the Kentucke lands obtain their patents from Virginia, and their rights are of three kinds, viz. Those which arise from military service, from settlement and pre-emption, or from warrants from the treasury. The military rights are held by officers, or their representatives, as a reward for services done in one of the two last wars. The Settlement and pre-emption rights arise from occupation. Every man who, before March, 1780, had remained in the country one year, or raised a crop of corn, was allowed to have a settlement of four hundred acres, and a pre-emption adjoining it of one thousand acres. Every man who had only built a cabbin, or made any improvement by himself or others, was entitled to a pre-emption of one thousand acres where such improvement was made.

In March, 1780, the settlement and pre-emption rights ceased, and treasury warrants were afterwards issued, authorizing their possessor to locate the quantity of land mentioned in them, wherever it could be found vacant in Virginia.

The mode of procedure in these affairs may be instructive to the reader. After the entry is made in the land-office, there being one in each county, the person making the entry takes out a copy of the location, and proceeds to survey when he pleases. The plot and certificate of such survey must be returned to the office within three months after the survey is made, there to be recorded; and a copy of the record must be taken out in twelve months, after the return of the survey, and produced to the assistant register of the land-office in Kentucke, where it must lie six months, that prior locators may have time and opportunity to enter a caveat, and prove their better right. If no caveat is entered in that time, the plot and certificate are sent to the land-office at Richmond, in Virginia, and three months more are allowed to have the patent returned to the owner.”

John Filson, The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucky: And an Essay Towards the Topography and Natural History of that Important Country....(Wilmington, 1784)p 36-38.
John Filson discussed the land grant process in his 1784 publication. source:   http://kytnstories.blogspot.com/2011/07/kentuckys-revolutionary-land-grants.html

I found a few revolutionary war veterans in my collected family. I even have one ancestor who gained notoriety in the years prior to the Revolution...in Bacon's Rebellion. When I first read that Thomas Hansford was the first native born Virginian to be hung...I wanted to hang my head. But I read more and began to understand that he was in fact considered a patriot. He was the first martyr to American liberty. There were others hung along with him...but apparently his being a native born Virginian has given him some celebrity. (His grandfather (my 8th great grandfather) came to Virginia in the mid sixteen hundreds.) Hansford, A Tale of Bacon's Rebellion   Full Text Read to the Virginia Historical Society. 

THOMAS HANSFORD ,First Native Martyr to American Liberty, 
A paper read before the Virginia Historical Society 
Tuesday, December 22, i8gi. 
Mrs. ANNIE (tucker) TYLER,  Williamsburg, Virginia . 

First Native Martyr to American Liberty. 

In a list prepared by Sir William Berkeley, and preserved 
in the British Museum, enumerating the persons who were executed by 
him in the seventeenth century for participating in Bacon's Rebellion, 
occurs the name of one Thomas Hansford, who is described by Sir 
William as "a valiant, stout man," and "a most resolved rebel. "^ The few 
other references to Hansford in the current accounts ^ of the times 
are in harmony with this description, and justify a natural desire 
to be still further acquainted with him. Thus are we told that he commanded at Jamestown, under a commission as major from Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., and was there when Berkeley returned from his exile to the Eastern Shore at the head of six hundred, or, as another account has it, one thousand followers. It is said that he took a conspicuous part in the insurrection, brilliant as it was brief, and when he was captured after Bacon's death, he supplicated no other favor than that "he  might be shot like a soldier, and not hanged like a dog." We are also told that during the short respite allowed him after his sentence, " he professed repentance and contrition for all the sinsof his past life, but refused toacknowledge what was charged against himas rebellion to be one of those sins, desiring the people present to take notice that he died a loyal subject and lover of his country, and that he had never taken up arms but for the destruction of the Indians, who had murdered so many Christians."  ^ Neill's Virginia Carolorum.  'Accounts by "T. M.,"Anne Cotton, &c. 

There was also a William Hansford from my line who served  in the Revolutionary War with a 
Captain Billy Bush, both Virginia natives. After 
he war they were involved in many land acquisitions together in Kentucky. That William Hansford lived out his days in the Pulaski county region...which began as a part of the larger Lincoln county.

Below is a map that I found online showing the military land given to Revolutionary War vets. The acreage given was based on their rank during the war. As you can see almost all of south central Kentucky was claimed by war veterans. Kentucky became a state in 1782, and was no longer the western part of Virginia. Virginia veterans were given land in Kentucky.

I often think of Kentucky as little Virginia...based on the shape of the state, and because most of the old Kentucky families are from Virginia blood. Consider also that Virginia was the cradle of civilization for much of the south. This is my conclusion after reading so much Virgina and Kentucky history. My dad even tells me that his Kentucky grandmother still had  some old strains of English traditions that they kept alive. My great grandmother was part of that group of people who still lived on family land that was obtained prior to statehood. 

In these days where families are mobile and do not have ties to land and ancestors it is very remarkable that there are still land tracks inhabited by family of the original settlers. That exists in my family. 

If you want to check on your ancestors and land you can  use these links to the Secretary of State's webpage about land grants. You will enter your ancestor's name and see what pops up

If you have not checked on your ancestors' involvement in the French and Indian or Revolutionary wars...let this be a good time to begin that research. You will learn so much American history along the way. If you are like me...it has been a few years since I took American History as a junior in high school. This concludes my history lesson for the day...I hope you learned a little bit about the settlement of Kentucky...and that you paused to think about the early settlers of this great country and how they stood up for their beliefs. They did not want to be ruled by a King in England any longer.

Centerpiece how to...

My flag centerpiece was made using a small vase, epsom salts, and flags. So many of my centerpieces are made by just sticking things in a vase, pot, planter. The problem with this method is that things fall out! I began using sand, salt, or epsom salts in my containers to help the sticks, stalks, flags, etc. stay put. If you have trouble keeping things "planted" try some sand or salt to support your items. In the case of this arrangement the flags were wanting to lay on each other until I put the epsom salts in the bottom of the base to hold things. I hope this little tip helps you.

For more information on our country's different flags through the years you might like to go to this link. 

Now, go out there and  have a great 4th of July, and take a moment to think of those who gave of themselves to give us our county!  

As is so often said...Freedom is in fact not free.

Thank you for visiting! See you next week.

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My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.

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