Independence Day

Independent – 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Yesterday, we celebrated the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776. With that, we officially began this experiment called the United States of America. Go take some time to watch the musical “1776“, sort of the “Hamilton” of its day. On July 4, we collectively said “I have crossed the Rubicon. Let the bridge be burned behind me, come what may, come what may! Commitment!” And here we are, more than two hundred years later.

The War for Independence had already been underway for over fourteen months when the Declaration was signed. Men (mostly) across the colonies had been mobilized to join the battle. There were strong mixed feelings. Some were all for tossing the British out. Others were all for reconciliation. And a large number could not be bothered – someone else’s problems, someone else’s battle.

Fortunately, there were not enough of the last to go around.

I usually like to have lots of photos of my ancestors for these stories. But, I’m not Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, who has collected tons of actual photographs of soldiers of the Revolution. (Unfortunately, she has not yet been able to get any photos of the brave Revolutionary pilots.) Do go take a look at her work.

With or without photos, I have found an awful lot of Revolutionary Patriots within my ancestry. While none of them had quite as critical a role as Russell Casse, all were committed to the cause of the new nation. Or at least to the cause of their family, friends, and neighbors. There are some parts of the county (like parts of North Carolina), where it seems like you really had two choices – serve or leave.

I actually think this list is incomplete. Once I get a bit more research done on some of these lines, I know there will be many more who show up. And unlike the Civil War, where there were people who served on both sides, so far I have not found any Loyalists.

But for this week, I want to just do a “Thank you for your service” and make sure that I list all of those in my family tree that I know served in the American Revolution.

North Carolina


South Carolina



Author: Scott Dickson

I've been doing family history research since the late 1980s. Almost all of my family came into the southern colonies and worked there way across the South. Lately, I've started to look at my wife's New England, Irish, and French Canadian ancestry. My tree is online at

3 thoughts on “Independence Day”

    1. I’ve been fortunate that way. All of the lines of my family got here early and headed south and west. I for sure have ancestors before statehood in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, Georgia, and the lost state of Franklin. Maybe in Arkansas, Maryland, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Maybe I should make a quest to start joining all of these lineage societies. That would force me to clean things up even more.

      And 1776 is one of my favorites. Saw it first in about 1974 in Jackson, Tennessee.


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