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The Principle of Happiness
This is a statue honoring George Mason that I discovered whilst wandering in D.C.. Despite being a lover of history, I had no idea who George Mason was, but I have quoted (or misquoted) him on occasion.
You may have also.
So here’s a quick top 10 on the other George..
10. He has a university named after him. George Mason University… obviously.
9. One of the founders of Alexandria, Virginia.
8. He said: “Don’t wait around for your life to happen to you. Find something that makes you happy, and do it. Because everything else is all just background noise.”
7. George and his wife, Ann, had many children. Nine of which survived to adulthood.
6. He grew up as a neighbor of George Washington.
5. Was one of three who helped draft the US Constitution at the US Constitutional Convention in 1787. But was not happy with the amount of power the government had, and thought it needed edits. He said, “I would sooner chop off my right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands.” He stood his ground with 2 other dissenters, and never signed it.
4. Drafted the Virginia State Constitution. Other states used his draft to draft their state constitution.
3. Leader in Virginia during the Revolutionary War.
2. George was a driving force behind the Bill Of Rights, and died about a year after it was ratified.
1. He said: “All men are created equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing the obtaining of happiness and safety.“
Point to ponder while you wander…. John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give life and life abundant. Sounds a lot like the right to pursue happiness. Doesn’t it?
Sin and Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” -Thomas Jefferson
Random fact…I refer to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial as “Jeff”.
I enjoy visiting Jeff for the view sometimes, and other times I go there to ponder. Something about being there in the early quiet of the morning just inspires me.
Recently I heard that people want to either tear down his memorial or tack up a list of his sins.
We all know the founding fathers were not saints by any means. But his memorial is meant to inspire and to make people think not as a temple of worship!
My response to those people is let he who is without sin cast the first stone!
I doubt those folks suggesting the sin list would not want a list of their sins tacked up on their tombstone for everyone to see? I know I wouldn’t!
Point to ponder while you wander… We should be inspired by the wisdom of historical figures, but also learn from their struggles and failures. But if we only focus on someone’s sin…we miss out on the gift God intended those people to be.
Same is true of the people in our day-to-day lives.
Unity of the Nation
I was just on the roof of my building enjoying the view of DC, and praying for wisdom for our president and our congress.
And this is what came to me…Our military is the best in the world, so chances America being taken down from the outside are not very high. But the chances of us destroying ourselves from the inside out are currently astronomical.
We are not United.
Why would a terrorist waste their time attacking us? When we the people are using our diversity as a wrecking ball against ourselves & destroying our own country.
History should be studied and learned from so it is not repeated.
But yet we haven’t learned a thing! Here we are fighting amongst ourselves over historical statues and skin tones!
Come on people. Take a deep breath.
Hate, fear, anger, wrath, rioting, and finger pointing do not resolve anything. And we all know fear is a liar!
People are hurting, legitimately, and I’m sorry to see and hear that. But knocking down a very old Christopher Columbus statue is not going to heal anyone’s wounds. It just won’t.
Is this what you want to teach the next generation of Americans? Do you want your kids and grandkids to destroy art and history because they are hurt and upset?
I sincerely hope not.
Listening. Open communication. Love. Kindness. Patience. Mutual respect. These are tools that lead to unity.
Unity does not mean we are all the same and have the same opinion. It doesn’t mean blindly following either.
Unity is diverse people coming together for the common good. It’s choosing to listen to those who have a differing opinion. Unity is choosing to be kind & respectful even when you disagree.
The goal of unity should be to build on the successes of the previous generation accomplished, and improve in the areas where they struggled.
Point to ponder while you wander…This is our country. We are the people. We, you and me, are the solution to the problem.
So please join me in praying for peace and unity for our people, and wisdom for our leaders. Please choose to be kind. Be the positive change.
Mysteries and Family History: She Started It
Sigh. Unpacking sucks.
I recently moved and as I slowly (seriously snail paced) unpack my totes and suitcases, I realized there were still things I should have given away…things I just don’t need.
Tonight I started opening my totes of books…I will spare you the number of them…but in one of the totes I thought was books, I discovered my family tree research. More than that…it is multiple notebooks compiled by my Nana Jana.
When I opened the tote…it smelled like her house and tears overflowed my eyes. I may have hugged notebooks. Her notebooks.
She gave them to me about a month before she died. I didn’t want to take them, because I knew why she was giving them to me. But she insisted. It was much easier to take them than to argue with her. You really couldn’t argue with her. Ever.
I just miss her. So. Much.
She is the reason I am our family historian and researcher. All the information I started with came from her. She started researching in the early 1990’s. Right around the time she lost her Mom. Maybe it was her way of carrying the legacy forward. Maybe it was the way she dealt with her grief. Not sure 100%. But I’m grateful for the foundation I had because of her.
All the information she gave me she got the old school way…calling and writing letters to the family elders. Then she got stuck. She didn’t know how to proceed.
So in 1996 she asked her granddaughter, who was going to England for a semester, to check into some things for her while she was there. The granddaughter was really busy studying and flirting with foreign guys and didn’t really do anything. In her defense…she didn’t know how to look up that kind of stuff.
Then in 1999-2000-ish, same granddaughter..aka me…started looking things up online for her Nana. And got hooked by solving the mysteries for said Nana.
So my unpacking is currently delayed by me hugging her notebooks and running my fingers over her handwriting intermixed with mine, where I filled in blanks for her.
Even though I proved conclusively we are not related to William Clark (of Lewis and Clark fame)…I did find interesting ancestors and entertained her with stories about our people. It was our thing. Like Scrabble and Dancing with the Stars.
So you have Nana to thank if you enjoy mysteries and family history. Cuz…
She started it.
Mysteries and Family History: George W. Nicholson
When my Nana asked me to help her with family tree research in like 1996, I was totally not interested. I listened to what she had uncovered and found it interesting. I did not want to look stuff up, UNTIL she called me with a mystery she couldn’t solve. Then I was hooked. I had to solve the mystery. I started researching and finding things out. My inner nerd still does a happy dance when I can solve a mystery. (Makes me feel like Velma…the smart one from Scooby Doo).
I really love finding out about my ancestors stories, where they lived, what they did for a living, what they believed & stood for and any personal anecdotes about their lives. I love finding out how my family fits into American history. I love it when I find the answers and solve the puzzle. But many times, I end up with more questions than answers, and that just drives me on to solve the mystery.
One of my favorite mysteries is George W. Nicholson, 1845-1923. He’s my great great great grandfather and a Civil War Veteran. Can you imagine what kind of stories he could tell you living from pre-Civil War to the beginning of the Roaring 20’s? I’d love to be able to talk to him about his experiences or read letters or journals he wrote. Those kinds of things to a genealogist are priceless and precious.
Since I don’t have a detailed journal of Grandpa George’s every move, I had to hunt up any records I could find. Let me tell you, this man has been quite the challenge! He’s still one of those mysteries that I NEED TO solve. I just recently found out that he died in the Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan on 22 May 1923. He was just 2 months shy of 78 years old. He lived in the Soldier’s home from at least 1910, as he’s listed as a resident on both the 1910 & 1920 Federal Censuses.
I kept searching and found that Grandpa George was born 4 July 1845 on the island of Nantucket, Massachusetts to John S. and Paulina F. (Fuller) Nicholson. The family is listed on the 1850 Federal Census as living in Nantucket. George is most likely named for his Uncle George, John’s brother. All I know about his childhood is that his father, John, went to California during the gold rush when he was a small boy. John is listed on the California State Census for 1852, but his family isn’t. Since John sometimes worked as a carpenter and sometimes as a mariner (a person involved in seafaring work), I wonder if he went to California for a specific job or if he went to California to strike it rich. I wonder how the family felt about John’s trip to California. (See….more questions than answers). No matter why he went, John was back in Massachusetts by 1855, per the Massachusetts State Census.
The Veteran’s Schedule of 1890 tells me that Grandpa George enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 17. He first enlisted with the 20th Massachusetts Infantry Company I on 13 August 1862. He served with Company I until March of 1863. He was then registered with 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, Company K. He served with Company K from 4 January 1863 through 30 June 1865 when he mustered out. The record shows that he was wounded. From what I can discern, it looks as though he was wounded and sent home in March of 1863, and then when he recovered he enlisted again with the 2nd MA Cavalry.
Knowing what regiments he was in means that I can look up the regiment and find out which battles he fought in. Personally I think this is super cool.
20th Inf, Co I: http://www.civilwarintheeast.com/USA/MA/MA20.php
2nd Cav, Co K: http://www.civilwarintheeast.com/USA/MA/MA2cav.php
The next time he is listed on a document is his marriage record 29 October 1884. What was he up to between 1865 and 1884? I’m very curious why he left Nantucket and what made him decide to go to Michigan. And when???? I wonder how he met his wife Katie (Anna Katherina Schneider). I also wonder about Katie. I know from their marriage record that Katie was a German immigrant who came from the city of Wesel. Katie was born in 1864 and died in Owosso sometime between 1892-1895. That’s all I know about her. George married his 2nd wife, Laura Gue, on 14 July 1895. Laura was a widow. At the time of their marriage, George’s three children were 10, 7 and 3. His eldest, John Henry, is my great great grandfather.
I want to find the census records from 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900 because I think that would help me answer some of my questions about how and when Grandpa George went to Michigan. But as of now I’ve not had any success finding him on any censuses except the aforementioned 1910 and 1920 censuses.
Are you interested in family tree research? I have some good links for finding information, some of which are free. I am willing to share tips and such if people are interested. Truthfully, I can talk for days about family tree research, but if no one’s interested, I won’t. (Then again this is MY blog…so I might anyway….MUAH-HAHA-HA).
That’s all for now. Have a Trrrific Tuesday!