On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote in a letter to his wife the following:
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
Adams had thought the day for celebration would be on July 2nd, the date the resolution of independence (the date we declared our independence from Great Britain) was approved by the Second Continental Congress, but instead we celebrate on July 4th, the day the Congress signed the resulting Declaration of Independence.
While Adams may have been off by a couple of days, we have carried on with the traditions he set forth in the letter to Abigail.
Today I would like to pay tribute to Nathan Grantham, my ancestor grandfather who served our country during the Revolutionary War. Nathan's father, James, had been drafted, but Nathan volunteered to serve so that his father would not have to leave his family, which included small children.
At the time of service, Nathan lived in Wayne County, North Carolina and one story tells of the time he was on his way home on furlough and ran into Cornwallis' men. He hid in the swamp for several days until he could get to his house. He as very concerned about his father, mother, and small brothers and sisters, as well as his own young wife and children. He found them safe but very cautious about the future.
Nathan Grantham was discharged from service after the capture of Cornwallis in February 1782.
From his obituary published in the Southern Christian Advocate I learned much about the character and traits of my ancestor:
Brief Memoir of Rev. Nathan Grantham
"Died at his residence in Henry County, Ala. on the 6th of May, 1839, the Rev. Nathan Grantham, aged 87 years, 11 months, and 8 days. Father Grantham, (for so he was emphatically called by all who knew him) was among the first of his countrymen who enlisted under the banner of American liberty, and he was among the first of that class of Christian who "bore the burden and heat of the day" which marked the early history of American Methodism. Shortly after the revolution, in which he acted the part of a faithful soldier and for which he received the boon of his country in his declining years, he enlisted under the peaceful banner of the cross, and thenceforth to the hour of his death, "endured hardness as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus Christ."
North Carolina gave him birth—there, under the ministry of that dear departed man of God, Henry Willis, he embraced religion, and there he was licensed to preach the Gospel as a local preacher of the Methodist E. Church. His talents were not of a high order, but in patience, meekness, zeal, and piety of the deepest grade, he was truly an example to the most eminent of his fellow labourers. His occupation through life was that of a schoolmaster for which the happy temperament of his mind was peculiarly adapted, few have taught so many children of the poor to read the Bible, and few indeed have inspired so many youthful mind with a reverence for its Holy precepts. Nor did his labour of love cease with the weekly exercises of his school. For no earthly compensation whatsoever, his holy days were consecrated to the services of the sanctuary, while the ardor of his zeal kept him moving in the sphere of a pioneer of the cross, from his native state of North Carolina—thence to the frontiers of Georgia—and ultimately to the wilds of Alabama. Thus more than 50 years of his life were spent in a manner not conducive to his temporal prosperity: an object which he was every ready to sacrifice for the good souls."
So today I celebrate my Revolutionary War soldier, Nathan Grantham and all others who have served or continue to serve our country. Thank you for your service.
AND, in the tradition dictated by John Adams, here are the illuminations I would like to share with you today…
These palm tree fireworks are courtesy of my friend Cris of Here and There and Everywhere from Alicante, Spain. I think they are perfect from this old beach gal to you!
Happy 4th of July!
Now get out there and do John Adams and all our heroes proud!
Update: I am so honored to have received a Most Memorable Post Award from The Muse for this posting. Family and country mean so much to me and honoring my ancestors is the least I can do for all they went through and sacrificed throughout our history.
Thank you Muse, your recognition means so much to me.
To view and read other memorable posts visit A Diva's Hammer Post Award page.