Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday Flashback -- Touching history

My granddad, Fremont Chapin, was born July 1, 1854 in Oneida, New York. He was the youngest of 12 children. He lived a long time. He was 91 when he died in 1945.
Granddad and me 1943

He was six years old in 1861 when Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural train went through Oneida on its way to Washington, D.C. Two of his brothers fought in the Civil War – Frank and Earl. I have this picture of Earl.
And, I have a letter from Frank addressed to “Dear Brother Fremont” written from Hilton Head, South Carolina on August 16th, 1864. The letter admonishes Fremont to be a good boy and learn all he can. Frank told his little brother that he was on John’s Island on July 4th “celebrating with the Rebels, throwing big shells at each other…Then we had fire works in the night.”

One event in his life made a big impression on Fremont and he told us the story many times. He said he climbed up in a tree to see Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train, which stopped in Oneida in 1865. Fremont was 10 years old. I’ve read an account of the day the train pulled in and it talked about canons being fired and the picture of Lincoln affixed to the cowcatcher on the engine. No wonder he remembered it so vividly.

This close connection to our country’s history makes me realize how precious our democracy is. And how important it is for all of us to “ask what you can do for your country,” as President John Kennedy said at his inauguration in 1961. Let’s give our new president our full support as he starts his work on January 20, 2009.

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Blogger QuiltingFitzy said...

I consider ourselves truely fortunate to be be a part of THIS era of our democracy. It is awe-inspiring for sure.

As I work in Government, this next administration just gives me goosebumps of excitement!

4:23 AM  
Blogger Sheri said...

Love family stories and old pictures.

10:36 AM  
Blogger meggie said...

What a lovely photo of you with your grandfather!
What an interesting family history you have.

2:54 PM  
Blogger black bear cabin said...

Arent you adorable in your cute little shoes and pretty dress...and look at that thick! what wonderful photos and stories from your family. i always enjoy your flashbacks!
As for Obama taking office soon...i am excited to see what transpires!
happy new year!

1:01 PM  
Blogger Del said...

I comment to a few friends that I was going to wait to celebrate the New Year until Jan 20th and they didn't know what I meant. A poor lonely liberal Democrat in a sea of conservative Republicans. Del

2:00 PM  
Blogger Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

It is wonderful to have photos and stories of someone who remembers this era of our history. My relatives are all from Maryland and Virginia, and I had ancestors on both sides of the war, including the first confederate general who died in a US Prison (I believe it was after Gettysburg.) I wish I had known about him when I became engaged to my southern husband and his grandparents declared that they would accept me, even if I was a Yankee (grew up in NY/NJ.) We are not so far removed from that time, are we?

5:22 PM  
Blogger Warty Mammal said...

I always enjoy seeing these thoughtful slices of life of yours. Stories which bridge multiple generations.

9:10 AM  

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