Things I Think: Ancestry & Memorial Day

Issac O Titus
I think that now more than ever it's important to reflect upon the past in order to look towards the future. Especially when it comes to where we all came from, where we are going, and who we might meet along the way.

In the last couple of years, I dug into my genealogy via by way of the DNA test and subscribing to their service. Unfortunately, a lot of the folks that I could learn from have passed on, and I never took the chance as a young person to learn much about my family's history.

I've recently learned that at least one bloodline of mine originated in London, England. My ancestor traveled to CT in the mid 1600's, confirming at least part of what my DNA profile told me. I'm still digging into the other bloodlines that made me, but recently I've discovered something I never knew--I have a handful of veterans in my family.

Being Memorial Day, I've been thinking a fair amount about that. I wanted to share what I've learned.

Norris Brown

Norris Brown (Dad's side), my Great Grandfather. In the mid 30's, his family moved to Watertown, MA. Indications are that he worked on Naval warships doing welding, including the USS Springfield CL 66 that served in WW2 and beyond. It doesn't appear he was enlisted, but he was closely involved in the war effort, as so many Americans at the time were.
Vetal Lassor (Back left)

Issac O. Titus, my 4th Great Grandfather (Mom's side), born 1815, was part of the 2nd Vermont Brigade out of Danby. K company 14th regiment, Vermont Volunteer Infantry.

Indications that I find show that he likely fought in Gettysburg. Even more surprising is that he didn't die there.

Interestingly enough, Vetal Lassor Sr., 2nd Infantry Regiment Vermont, also fought in the Civil War for the Union, despite being Canadian by birth. He was my 3rd Great Grandfather also on my Dad's side.

Lastly, and perhaps the most interesting (that I have found so far) is that my my 6th Great Grandfather on my Dad's side, Moses Brown Sr., fought in the Revolutionary War. A friend pointed out this may qualify me for membership in the "Sons of the American Revolution," which looks pretty interesting. In any case, I learned these tidbits about Moses:

“Moses was among the Westmoreland men who tried to take Quebec (Rev.war).They  were defeated when 500 British troops arrived at Fort Cedars. They surrendered on May 19, 1776. Later Moses was given the rank of Captain.”

He was also a signer of the “Association Test” which is detailed as:

 “On 14 March 1776 the General Congress passed a resolution which
requested the Selectmen and/or the town's Committee of Safety to
"require all males above twenty-one years of age (lunatics,
idiots and negroes excepted ) to sign to the declaration of the
paper, to pledge their lives and fortunes.. [aka the Association
Test]... it was signed by one hundred and thirty of Westmoreland's
citizens as follows:”

I went on to read this was essentially a pledge of allegiance situation, and if you signed you were a patriot, if not you were a traitor. Also interesting things to think about given the strange and unfortunate political and social climate we are in right now. Perhaps more on that in a future editions of TITs. 

I suspect as I dig further into ancestry, and learn more, I'll find other folks that participated or were involved in the military. As far as I can tell, nobody from my family was involved in any of the more recent wars of the 1900's but I could be wrong and probably am. I certainly see a lot of draft cards in the archives. I know I would have gone north to Canada or had a sudden bone-spur case like that dude in the WH but again, not for this blog.

Bottom line, it's really important and interesting to know where you came from, to think about the sacrifices made that led us to this very moment. So many things had to happen for me to be typing this up. For most of us, our stories started in far away lands before anyone could even conceive of making America great again.  Chances are we have more in common than we do not, and in this increasingly divisive time I keep trying to remember that. 

On this Memorial Day, a look to the past with an eye on the future. 

Be well.



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