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
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
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 homeonly 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
Happy Fourth of July!
Joe Nolte ........