Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Freedom as a Catalyst
In my old files is a photograph of ancestors named Grover. I know who most of them are, too. The one in the back row a bit to the right of center with a beard was a U.S. Congressman in 1865. The folks in the picture are his brothers and sisters and a couple wives. They were all born about the turn of the century—the nineteenth century, that is.
What is remarkable about these people cannot be told from the photo. It is that they were all dirt-poor as kids. Their father was a farmer who lost a leg and who had to find another means of support for his twelve kids. He became a shoemaker in a small town in western New York State and supported everyone that way. It was through diligence and effort that he did a good job. What you see in the picture are fairly successful people in middle age, however grim they might appear. The seated man is a successful doctor while the congressman is a lawyer, politician, banker, farmer and land owner.
Dirt-poor no longer, theirs is a typical American story of personal growth in a nation that was growing.
The Grovers were religious. But people in other nations are religious. What seems to have made a difference with the Grovers and countless others is that they were optimistic, religious and free. Freedom was the catalyst, but the peculiar mixture of optimism and religion with the freedom made their lives and even ours possible. It is what separates us from the rest of the world, certainly from Europe.
There is an American culture. It has been in development for over two centuries and it is thrusting us forward toward unrivaled wealth and power. We do not want to give it up to satisfy the people who have their eyes fixed on European styles of civilization. Most of our ancestors came here to get away from European ways. They knew something some of us seem to have forgotten.
I am republishing a 1903 Grover genealogy. Included in the old details of the family will be corrections and additions and a few family stories. The Internet has allowed much more information to be discovered since 1903. My mother was one of the last to be recorded in the old book, so I can add a few more generations. It will not be a big seller, but for those of us in the Grover clan, it will be a very important book, almost as important as the family Bible.
Culture Freedom Genealogy history Conservatives