Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Without their sacrifices, I wouldn't be here

 Today is Thankful Thursday and it also happens to be St. Valentine's Day.  So as Daisy-dog and I were returning from a McDonald's run with my dinner, thanks to a Valentine's gift of McDonald's gift cards from my mother (Thanks, Mom!), I began to think about my family, my ancestors, and how the brave things they did made it possible for me to be the person I am today.  It was their sacrifices and hard work that created a family and left a legacy that I am thrilled to track down today.  Here are a few things they did that I am thankful for:

- That several of my ancestors gave up the life they knew in their home countries and made the oftentimes treacherous and certainly terrifying voyage to the New World to make a life in America.  Among those:

   * George Hubbard (my 9th great-grandfather) left England and came to Hartford, Connecticut before 1639.

   *  Richard Watts (my 10th great-grandfather) brought his family, including his daughter, Elizabeth, who married George Hubbard, from England before 1640.

  * Thomas Rany (my 9th great-grandfather) left Scotland and settled in Middletown, Connecticut about 1657.

  * Hosea Tapley (my 6th great-grandfather) left England and came to North Carolina between 1691 - 1743.

  * Johann Conrad Hesser (my 6th great-grandfather) came from Germany sometime in the 1700's.

  * George Schwalls Sr. (my 2nd great-grandfather) left Germany and came to Georgia in the 1850's.

-  I am thankful that my 3rd great-grandmother, Sarah Tapley, was ahead of her time.  She bore and raised her children out of wedlock with her head held high, and she obviously raised them to be proud and productive members of society.

- I am thankful that so many of my ancestors and family members served in the military and fought for their country during the greatest conflicts in our history, including:

  * Nathaniel Ranney, my 6th great-grandfather, served in the American Revolutionary War.

  * Archibald Odom, my 4th great-grandfather, served as a horseman in the Georgia Militia during the War of 1812.

  * Francis M. Tapley, my great grand uncle, was killed at the Crater near Petersburg, Virginia, during the Civil War.

  * James Madison "Jim" Tapley, my great-grandfather and Francis's brother, fought during the Civil War and fortunately made it home.

  * George Schwalls, Sr. also fought in the Civil War after only having been in this country for a few years and suffered several health problems resulting from his service.

  * James William Drake, my 2nd great-grandfather, along with at least three of his brothers:  Francis Milton, John Saffold, and Richard Franklin, all fought during the Civil War.

  * Comfort Ranney, my 2nd great-grandfather, fought during the Civil War... on the Northern side.

  * Charles Morgan Tapley, my grandfather, served in the U.S. Navy twice, including in action during World War II.

  *  My uncle, John Russell "Russ" Tapley, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II.

  *  My cousin, James Cullen "J.C." Tapley, gave his life in Italy during World War II.

  *  My brother, Harry Earl Tapley, was a career Marine and served during the Vietnam War.

  *  And all the others who served.

- I am thankful that a childless couple named Charles K. and Sarah Melissa Schoonover Carter adopted an orphaned baby girl and doted on her their entire lives.  That little girl was my great-grandmother, Bessie Carter Ranney.

- I am thankful that my grandmother, Ethel Irene Ranney Tapley, persevered and retained her sweet soul despite being unable to walk and confined to a wheelchair for over half her life. 

- I am thankful that my grandmother, Nealie Drake Tapley, was such a strong, God-fearing woman.  She raised five sons and a daughter by herself, worked many jobs to feed  her family, and still found the energy to drive her horse and buggy over 10 miles each way on Sunday to play the piano at Powell's Chapel.

- I am especially thankful for my mother, Linda Irene Tapley, who is always there for me.

- I am thankful and proud that I have been able to devote a good part of my life to preserving my family's stories, histories, heirlooms, and facts.  I do not write this blog because I don't have a life; I write this blog because it enriches my life. 

Happy Valentine's Day to you and yours.

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