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I’m Quaking in my Boots

The New Republic says the NRA is at the end of its rope, and facing something it’s never faced before; a real gun control movement. Well, I guess that depends on what your definition of “real” is. We’ve seen plenty of astroturf from the other side, and more than a fair share of emotional blackmail, shaming, and condescension. But a real grassroots gun control movement? It doesn’t exist, and has never existed. Additionally, as Astroturfers-in-Cheifs go, Bloomberg is a great villain. No doubt, Bloomberg is a threat, but the level of threat he represents is entirely dependent on us. If we keep our grassroots game going, i.e. don’t fall back asleep, we can sweep him aside. This is Bagdad Bob level nonsense. NRA is bigger than it’s ever been, and we’re looking around at what the other Friends Committees are raising in disbelief. NRA at it’s end? Hardly.

Colorado Democrats: Out of Touch

They argue that the vast majority of Sheriffs in the State of Colorado are siding with criminals. These people need to be handed a severe beating in 2014. It definitely needs to be an all-hands-on-deck election. The Democratic Party has pretty clearly become out of the touch with the values of Colorado voters. They’ve become arrogant and entitled, and if they aren’t made to pay a price, this won’t be the end of it.

Family War Service

Our little adventure out to find Revolutionary War graves over the Memorial Day weekend got me started on a fishing expedition for family information. I feel spurred to share a few of my discoveries regarding service in many of the wars this country has fought because of John Richardson’s Memorial Day post featuring the draft registration cards for his father and grandfathers.

I knew my great grandmother was a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, so I thought I would see what I could do to join since there are multiple active chapters around this part of Pennsylvania. After a few emails back and forth with my grandmother, we discovered that my great grandmother’s membership was no longer valid, not because she passed 11 years ago, but because the only family member she documented to DAR (her 3rd great grandfather) was found to have been turned down for a pension in further record reviews. However, she told my grandmother that she had documented multiple family members who had proven service in the Revolution. My grandmother, happily enough, pulled out a book from her father’s side that gives a direct and handy list of all the relatives back to my 6th great grandfather who is documented to have served in the war.

However, in my little trial of Ancestry.com, I started clicking on random branches with their little leaf hints attached. I am no where near done since most branches of my family have been in this country for a long, long time. However, I did just hit a someone who appears to be a documented veteran of the War of 1812. There’s totally a lineage group for that–National Society United States Daughters of 1812. I don’t really know much about them, but they don’t have a presence in the Philly area.

I also found a documented veteran of the Confederacy on a side of the family I really didn’t expect to see it on. Yup, there’s a group for that, too. (United Daughters of the Confederacy) My grandmother thinks that we also have documentation to prove lineage from a Union soldier as well. That would cover me for Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861 – 1865. I’m seriously thinking that if I can document both connections, I may actually join both. Maybe I’m just silly, but I would find amusement in that.

I haven’t gone digging deep yet, but the family that is reportedly connected to Jefferson Davis, eh, not looking so good. As Sebastian noted, there are probably lots of Southern families with people named Davis who claim a relation. However, that side of the family is really into genealogy, so my mom is going to see what she can gather from those folks and we’ll see if there really is a connection. (Interestingly, if this connection is proven and documented, it could also be a different path for me to DAR, and the only likely path for my niece.)

I set up a tree on my account for Sebastian, and if he has followed the census records properly, he may have found a 3rd great grandfather who served for the Union in the Civil War whose service was previously unknown to his family. (Yes, there’s a Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.) Considering his family on both sides has been presumed to be fairly recently off the boat, this is actually an exciting possible find for him.

Another little tidbit I’ve discovered (though am waiting on family records to verify), is that by moving to be with Sebastian here in Southeast Pennsylvania, I’m apparently simply returning to the family lands of my 5th great grandfather. It turns out he owned 99 acres in Upper Bucks County as far back as at least 1789. I find that very, very odd.

To bring this rambling family war service post back to guns, we have learned that between the two of us, family names include John, Moses, and Browning.

Tuesday News Dump

The gun rights news cycle is getting a little dry, so this news dump will have a few off-topic links.

The Reason-Rupe poll: Congress should cut spending and forget gun control.

The people still don’t approve of Obama’s handling of the gun issue. But gun control is a winner!

Anti-gun groups blowing money to praise O’Malley. Yes. Let us make sure everyone knows he’s a gun control supporter. That ought to help destroy any Presidential ambitions he might have. Also, in Illinois, anti-gun groups are running deceptive ads by showing an M4 firing on full-auto.

But hubris got to them and decided to ignore a basic principle of living and politics in the USA: Leave Gun Owners Alone.” That pretty much sums up the first half of 2013.

The gun control crowd is still applying pressure to swing state Senators. Kelly Ayotte is fighting back.

PA lawmaker wants gun database dismantled. This has taken way too long to fix, and I doubt it’ll happen this session, but I’m glad it’s not being completely forgotten about.

Florida Carry is filing some lawsuits.

Mother Jones discovers building your own gun is legal. The horror! Except there’s some question that the bullet button device on the AK wouldn’t comply with California law because it’s placed too far back, which would allow the magazine to still be detached without the use of a tool. I’m not an expert on this, but I wonder if any of the irony strikes him.

Off topic, but interesting: an Illinois school teacher is in hot water because he taught students about their right against self-incrimination, protected under the 5th Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Well, when it comes to the War on Drugs, we can’t be having any of these constitutional rights, now can we? We definitely can’t have the little tykes asserting they have rights that trump the authority of school administrators either.

Government v3.0. One of Kevin’s trademark Überposts.

Instapundit on the proposed media “Shield Law”: “We need protections for journalism, not journalists.

GOP Strategist Behind Bloomberg Ads?

I’m not too surprised by this: A GOP strategist is behind some of the Bloomberg ads. My guess is that some in the GOP establishment see this as an opportunity to weaken some key Democrats with their base. I think this strategist makes the mistake of believing there’s a strong movement for gun control among southern Democrats. I think this will tend to help Pryor rather than hurting him, and even Toomey is going to have base troubles because of the deal he made with Manchin. There are still Republicans out there that still think gun control can be a winner.

Rhode Island Update

Apparently gun control bills are “in limbo” in the Ocean State, as they are entering the final weeks of the 2013 legislative session. It looks like the dodge is getting tough on existing gun crime, and creating a task force to review gun laws. If there’s anything politicians love it’s offering the appearance of getting tough on crime, and creating task forces. You can throw that stick and they’ll chase it every time, especially if they are getting real grassroots opposition. In a legislative fight like this, it buys you time, which is usually a good thing when you’re dealing with an emotional response to a tragedy. The gods of “something must be done” demand appeasement. Maybe one day, voters will become enlightened enough to accept that maybe the response to “something” doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t involve a legislative cure.

Keeping the Pressure On

Democrats in Colorado are worried about these recall efforts:

But even though it’s not an election year, the office is in full campaign mode, with volunteers working the phones and reviewing maps in anticipation of a new front of modern campaigning – the recall phase.

A handful of Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado face recall petition efforts in what looks to be the first wave of fallout over legislative votes to limit gun rights.

We’ve already had one recall come up short, but it garnered enough support the lawmaker ought to be worried. These petitions don’t even really have to succeed, we just need to keep the dial turned up on the oven as much as we can until 2014. We can never make it an easy vote for them. The fact that they are having to call up volunteers and spend resources to fight these recall efforts is excellent. It’ll send them into 2014 tired. We just need to have more stamina than our opponents.

The Suck in Illinois Continues

Apparently, like Darth Vader, they appear to be altering the deal. I would work to kill anything worse than what they offered. What’s likely happening is they realized that while the previous offer wasn’t everything we wanted, it was strategically beneficial to us over the long term. They likely don’t find that acceptable. If you live in Illinois, call your Senators, and make sure they understand that you are not at all happy with this crap. Tell them to oppose Amendment 4 to HB183.

It’s been instructive watching this unfold, because it shows you how committed these people are to the hate. From a political standpoint, they’ve been backed into the corner by the federal courts, and not by us. You can always go back to constituents and tell them your hands were tied, and the court forced us to make those changes. Additionally, you can use weak gun laws forced on you by the courts to deflect blame for your own failures, as Philly politicians are expert at doing. Politically, this wouldn’t really hurt them, yet the obstinance continues. Why? Because they hate us.

Remembering our War Dead: Some Local History

I thought I’d do something a little different this year as a memorial day post. I happen to live in an area that’s pretty rich in history. Bucks County was one of the original three counties founded by William Penn in 1682. The others were Chester and Philadelphia counties. Going back that far, we have a lot of old cemeteries around here, a number of which hold war dead. We’ll start in the borough of Langhorne, a mile or so from my house:

Mass Grave Revolutionary War

Langhorne was not the name of the borough until 1876, when it was renamed after Jeremiah Langhorne. Prior to that it was called Attleborough, and at the time of the Revolution it was known as Four Lanes End. Nearby houses and churches served as field hospitals for the Battles of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton. Many did not make it. Buried here are 166 soldiers of the Continental Army. Burial in mass graves seems to have been the norm, rather than the exception, for Revolutionary War dead.

Newtown Presbyterian ChurchWe headed up the road a piece to the Borough of Newtown. Newtown was founded by William Penn himself in 1684, only two years after the establishment of the county. The Newtown Presbyterian Church was founded in 1754, with the old church having been built in 1769. This historic church played a role during the American Revolution as a field hospital:

In December of 1776, because it was one of the largest buildings in town, General Washington commandeered it and used it as a hospital, a jail and a P.O.W. “camp.”  After the Battle of Trenton, several hundred Hessians were held there before they began their long march to Philadelphia where they would be exchanged for American soldiers.

Behind the old church is a grave site. I was surprised to find this.

French & Indian War Dead

Buried here are dead from the French and Indian War, or the Seven Years War as it is known in Europe. These soldiers died for Crown and Country, rather than for the United States, so their graves have been marked with the Union Jack.

Grave Marker Revolutionary War

Unfortunately, most of the grave markers are faded to the degree that they are unreadable without the use of a rubbing. Many of the men buried here are veterans who died years later. Some markers are more legible.

Grave Marker of Col. Anthony Torbert

This is the grave marker of Colonel Anthony Torbert. Here’s some information I’ve been able to find about Colonel Torbert’s service.

The War of 1812, with Great Britain, stimulated the military ardor of the citizens of Bucks county, while the near approach of the enemy to Philadelphia gave their patriotism definite shape. The first effort to raise troops in the county was made at Newtown, where a meeting was held at Charles Hinkle’s tavern, Saturday, August 7, 1813, to form a volunteer company whose services were to be offered to the President. The 14th of July, 1814, the President called for ninety-three thousand five hundred militia, of which Pennsylvania was to furnish fourteen thousand. On the 16th, a number of the citizens of Bristol, Bensalem and Middletown met at Newportville and pledged themselves to march at a moment’s warning in the case the “forth district be invaded.” and, at an adjourned meeting on the 23rd, the citizens were recommended to meet together for drill. The citizens of Doylestown and vicinity agreed to associate for the purpose of acquiring some knowledge of the “art of war,” and met to drill in front of the court-thouse three times a week. Harman Vansant, then brigade-inspector, notified the enrolled inhabitants of the county to form themselves into three regiments, and select field officers. The upper regiment was composed of the enrolled inhabitants of Milford, Richland, Rockhill, Hilltown, Springfield, Durham, Nockamixon, Haycock and Bedminster; middle regiment–Tinicum, Plumstead, Solebury, Buckingham, New Britain, Warwick, Warminster, Warrington and Wrightstown; and the lower regiment, North and Southampton, Middletown, Newtown, Upper Makefield, Falls, Lower Makefield, Bensalem and Bristol township and borough. These regiments elected the following field-officers: Upper regiment–Colonel, Jacob Kinter, Lieutenant-Colonel, Christian Bloom, Majors, John Buck and John Stoneback. Centre–Colonel, William Long, Leiutenant-Colonel Samuel Abernathy, Majors, Samuel D. Ingham and Edward Yerkes. Lower–Colonel, Louis Bache, Lieutenant-Colonel, John S. Benezet, Majors Orren C. Starr and Anthony Torbert. The militia of this county were known as the First Brigade, Second Division, of which Samuel Smith was appointed Brigadier-General, William C. Rogers, Aid-de-camp, and Elisha Wilkinson, Quartermaster. Josiah Y. Shaw, of Doylestown, was appointed Aid-de-camp to Major-General Scheetz, division-commander. The quota from this county, consisting of eighty-eight artillery and eight hundred and fourteen infantry and riflemen, to be taken from the first and second classes of enrolled militia, was called for the 12th of August. They were taken from the four old militia regiments and consolidated into a battalion, of which Andrew Gikeson was appointed Leiutenant-Colonel and John S. Benezet and Isaac Griffith Majors. The drafted militia assembled at Thomas Bean’s tavern, Warminster, Sunday, the 18th of September, to march to Marcus Hook. General Smith and his staff were there. A large concourse of people came toether to see them off. The troops were formed in hollow square, when the Reverend Thomas B. Montanye delivered an appropriate address. They marched to Philadelphia, and thence to their destination in steamboats. The drafted militia were encamped in the court-hosue yard at Doylestown a day or two.

As best I can find, the militia units from Pennsylvania that were federalized for the War of 1812 were used to augment the defenses of Baltimore and Philadelphia, but did not see any action. Here are some other grave markers in the Cemetery of the Newtown Presbyterian Church.

UPDATE: BTW, if you want to go throw back a few pints at the Thomas Bean’s Tavern, it’s called Mike’s Bar and Grill now, but the building is still there and still operating as a tavern. Their website mentions nothing of the history, which is a shame.

More on “Two Americas”

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. I am busy sealing cracks in the concrete floor of my office, in preparation for new carpet. After the sealant cures, I’ll be applying some Drylok to the parts I had to patch with fresh cement.

I noticed today that Chris from Alaska has an excellent post that furthers the “Two Americas” theme we’ve talked about sometimes on here, noting which states are over and underrepresented in the US military, and which states are losing veteran population the quickest. I am not surprised to see Pennsylvania is underrepresented, despite being the 6th most populous state, nor am I surprised we’re one of the heavy losers in terms of veteran population. Our veteran population trends older, and it’s relatively unheard of for young people around here to join the military.

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