July 4, 2017

Happy 4th of July!  We've had a lovely long weekend, celebrating with family and the extra days off have given me a chance to read, sew and relax a little.  Today my husband will grill and I'll make a few side dishes, topped off with our yummy banana pudding-southern style.  Today is extra special, as we have the opportunity to "regard the day" with my mother.  Some of the photos I'm using today were taken during our wonderful trip to Newburyport, Boston, Lexington and Concord with her back in 2011.  
We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star

Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream

In Newburyport we discovered this first settlers monument, which lists our ancestor, Giles Badger who traveled to the colonies in the early 1630s.  He sailed on the Mary and John along with the other brave travelers listed here to begin a new life near Boston.

Newburyport at evening - the church bell was cast by Paul Revere

In Boston we were able to walk onboard the USS Constitution

and from a distance we could see the Bunker Hill Memorial.  

The Battle of Bunker Hill was fought on June 17, 1775, but the majority of the combat took place on nearby Breed's Hill.  Giles' great-grandson, Joseph Badger, fought in that battle. He had entered the Revolutionary Army about three weeks after the contest at Lexington, when he was eighteen years old. 

To a new and a shiny place
Make our bed and we'll say our grace
Freedom's light burning warm
Freedom's light burning warm

I'll let his owns words tell the story...
"I was enrolled in Captain Nathan Watkin's company, Colonel John Patterson's regiment, and stationed at Fort No. 3, near Litchmore's Point. At the time of the battle on Breed's Hill, Patterson's regiment was posted on Cobble Hill, in a line with the front of our battery, about a half a mile distant.  We could see the fire from the whole line; the British broke their ranks and ran down the hill. But on the third return to the charge, they carried the works at the point of the bayonet."

Joseph endured smallpox, the ague, exhaustion, starvation, and bitter weather, but held fast to his belief in the right of the colonies to self-govern. He fought both the British and the Indians, and at one point served under Benedict Arnold, before Arnold became a traitor.   "At this time I had been six weeks without a change of shirts, having lost all my clothes in the retreat, and most of the time very much incommoded with vermin.  I had repeatedly to put off my shirt, wash it without soap, wring it, and put it on again. Was greatly distressed with a cutaneous disease, until some time in August; built a fire beside a large log, a little out of the camp and roasted with brimstone and grease, which cured the itch."

On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again,
They're coming to America


His memoirs tell the story of bravery - young men fighting battles for the idea of liberty and freedom, far from home and with little in the way of supplies to keep them going.  While no one likes the idea of war, these men and women of the colonies believed in the rightness and purpose of their actions. Today I pay homage to these brave ancestors of mine and their pursuit of a better life here in America.

Everywhere around the world
They're coming to America
Ev'ry time that flag's unfurled
They're coming to America

A liberty salute goes out to my father's ancestor, Christian Singrey, who came to the Colonies from Switzerland in 1753 and served as a surgeon in George Washington's camp. Captain John Raines, named "Golong" for his abilities as a long hunter in Tennessee during the war.  William Pendleton Raines, who fought in Virginia. And of course, Joseph Badger, who had this to say about their actions almost two hundred and fifty years ago:

"When I entered the army it was from principle, in defense of the civil and religious rights of our country. The "tea" affair was well known; and the design of introducing taxation and or prohibiting domestic manufactures, were well understood; and the apprehension of being governed bylaws which we had no voice in making, with other grievances, determined the people generally to defend themselves against what appeared to be a tyrannical and oppressive government."

Towards the end of his life, Joseph, who attended Yale College after the War, and then served as a circuit rider in the wilds of Ohio, preaching to settlers there for almost fifty years, penned these final words to his grandchildren in his memoirs:  "Make yourselves well versed in geography, and the history of your country, and of the world, so far as you can.  Cultivate a benevolent spirit."  I hope we have made you proud, Joseph. 

My country 'tis of thee (today)
Sweet land of liberty (today)
Of thee I sing (today)
Of thee I sing
Today, Today, Today
Today, today, today......