Years ago, I met a distant cousin who had researched one of our ancestors for many years. There were family stories and legends about him and even a newspaper story in 1903, but no one really knew how much of the stories was true. She had dedicated herself to finding out, and I joined the search to see what could be known.
This is the newspaper story about him. Many family researchers said it was made up, but we were able to prove that almost everything in it was true. Yes, there was some hyperbole; Edward Williams wasn’t with Washington at Valley Forge, that was the journalist adding something to spice up the tale. But the rest is really something, and true:
A SOLDIER OF THE WAR
In a quiet country cemetery down on Cheechero, lies the remains of Edward Williams, a soldier and drum-major of the American Revolution and War of 1812, with no other mark to designate his resting place than the letters “E, W,” cut on a rough stone. On his arm was tattoed his name, Coat-Of-Arms and the British Crown.
The old soldier was drafted in England to fight the Colonist, but when he landed in America he took up arms with the Liberty Boys and fought for American liberty to the finish. He was with Gen Washington in the battles of the Brandywine and Princeton and was a survivor of Camp Valley Forge.
When peace had been made between England and America and all had gone back to quiet living, every Fourth of July this old soldier would take his drum to the top of the highest mountain and “beat” the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
His desertion of the British army was not on account of crime but for the liberty that fired American’s heart and which burned in his also.
In 1812, when England began to press the American sailors into her service this old soldier again marched with the Americans against England, He was 107 years old when he died.
His dying request was that he be buried under the Honors of War. A company of local Militia carried the remains to the cemetery, then formed a circle around the grave and after each one had fired a blank load into it, they placed the old soldier in his last resting place while the ground was full of smoke.
That he was a drummer of much ability, can be proved by almost all the old citizens of Rabun who have heard him “beat” at the old Muster-Grounds, and it may be stated here that one of his posterity, J. H. Williams, of Alto, Ga., was drum-major under Gen. Lee in the Civil War.
The Clayton Tribune, Clayton, Georgia, March 26, 1903
Old Edward really did rejoin the military in 1812, when he was in his <b>70s</b>. His grandson was in the same unit, we found their pay records. Edward played the drum; I imagine that was all he could do at his age.
But he did it.
I can only imagine what Edward felt around 1811 as he realized the British hadn’t been defeated ENOUGH the first time, and were back for more. I can only imagine how he felt as they impressed American sailors into their ships, as he had been impressed and escaped before, because being “drafted” into the British Navy wasn’t done by choice. At over seventy years old, he saw his country under attack AGAIN by a relentless enemy, so he stepped up. I have no idea how he managed it. His family must have thought he was nuts.
This morning (after having my morning cry in the shower) I thought about Edward and the parallels to his story in our current situation. The British didn’t take NO for an answer the first time, and the BASTARD LIBERALS didn’t take NO for an answer from us the first time, either. One win for Trump was not enough to shut them down, they are back for a second try. They are desperate and over-confident, just like the British of 1812. They want to annihilate everything our ancestors fought and died for.
They must be DEFEATED, for good and all.
Today, when I feel trepidation, I will remember Edward. When I want to lay down my arms and give up, I will remember he picked up a drum. If I don’t want to march another step, I will pick up my feet anyway in his honor.
I am the legacy of Edward Williams, an American Patriot. So are we all. Let’s do him honor with our actions and words in OUR time of struggle against tyranny.