4th Last Survivor

No, this log entry is not about the currently popular television show. It’s about the American Revolution, the Civil War, longevity, and the time frame of history.

I just entered Lemuel Cook, Sr. into the A&E Family Forest. On December 16, 1780 he enlisted as a private in Captain William Stanton’s Company, Colonel Elisha Sheldon’s Regiment of Light Dragoons, Connecticut Militia. When he died on May 20, 1866, he is said to have been the fourth last survivor of the American Revolution.

This made me pause to reflect. Of the many thousands of the Revolution veterans I have already entered into the A&E, most seem to have passed on by the 1820’s, and I can’t recall noticing any that made it past the 1840’s.

Here was someone who would have remembered for almost 40 years the particular 4th of July when two former US Presidents (Adams and Jefferson) died on the 50th anniversary of their signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Lemuel Cook, Sr. actually assisted in the successful birth of the United States. He saw our country defend that momentous birth in the War of 1812. He saw the expansion of the U.S. through the Louisiana Purchase, and the westward migration. And he lived to see our country survive the attempt to rip apart the great nation he had helped to create.

The way I was taught history in school left me with the impression that the American Revolution and the Civil War were lifetimes apart, and yet here is an actual person (an ancestor of Americans living today) who witnessed the evolution of the United States from before the Revolutionary War started until after the Civil War ended.

Admittedly, this particular individual did live a long time, but for me, it reinforces my growing realization that much of our history did not happen nearly as far in the distant past as it is often presented.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *