July/Aug 2006


When in the course of human events it becomes necessary to pen an appropriate Independence Day column, we have typically told tales of relatively famous personages from our country's early history.

This time we're trying something different. In honor of all our Unsung Fighting Men everywhere, I give you the following story of a particular Unsung Fighting Man. He wasn't special to most of the world, he's not in the history books, he was just one of the many thousand unknown soldiers from those legendary days of the Revolution, who fought to create a New Nation...

Our tale begins on November 7, 1749, in the middle of the Atlantic, on a boat filled with German immigrants bound for the New World. That day, a woman gave birth at sea, sadly dying in the process.

This sea-born child made it safely to the Colonies, and grew up with what was left of his family in an area then part of Pennsylvania (it would later become a part of Ohio. A blacksmith in his mid-twenties when the Revolutionary War began, we are reasonably certain that he was married, with children.

At any rate, young family notwithstanding, he joined the Revolutionary forces in 1776, marching with Captain Richard Brown's Militia. This force subsequently became part of General Stirling's army. In 1777 (I believe), George Washington found himself trapped in Manhattan by the British, and it was only Stirling's army's timely intervention that saved Washington and the day.

Anyway, our sea-born fighting blacksmith is now directly under Washington's command, and winds up personally looking after George Washington's horse in the months and years to come.

When the War finally ended in 1783, John returned home—only to discover that his entire family had been slaughtered by forces loyal to the British side. There are many such tragic stories to be found on both sides of the conflict, and it is well to remember how much was sacrificed to guarantee us the freedoms we sometimes forget we still enjoy in these most interesting times.

Fortunately, he remarried that year, to one Katherine Mowrey.

I say "fortunately", as otherwise you would not be reading this column right now.

For our sea-born blacksmithing hero's name was John Drushel.

He was my great-great-great-great grandfather.

Happy Fourth of July!

Joe Nolte ........