We all have family stories, and many of us, like me, have family members who have served their country in one form or another. As the 4th of July comes upon us, we reflect what it means to be a nation, and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could have the lifestyle we have today. Far from being right or left politically, what is great about this country is the service so many have given for us all. And it's been said by philosophers over the centuries, that a people who forget where they came from will soon have nothing left worth defending.
My great-great grandfather came to the United States during the Civil War to fight for the Union Army, and obtain citizenship. This was offered to many from Europe, especially the British Isles. He was a young single man, a volunteer firefighter, who was involved in the miller's business and knew a young McCall lad who thought some day women might want to make their own clothes. Sadly, although A.C. Cameron was smart enough to come to the United States, he wasn't smart enough to go into business with Mr. McCall.
His brother had emigrated earlier, was married, had a family and had been a police Superintendent from Berwick-on-Tweed. Daniel became a General in the Union Army. He would later go on to run a prison for confederate prisoners of war in Chicago. His letters to then President Grant, complaining of the lack of funds and indecent conditions almost cost him his commission. I actually found copies of them when I was Googling our family history for a project I was working on. Here is a brief description I found:
Civil War Union Brevet Brigadier General. He came to America in 1851 with his family and settled in Wheeling, Cook County, Illinois. In 1853, he moved to Chicago and was associated with several newspapers as a publisher. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army, raised the 65th Illinois Infantry known as the "Scotch Regiment" and was composed exclusively of men from Chicago and Cook County. He was the commander of Camp Douglas from February of 1862 until June when he was then ordered to join the Army of the Potomac and the defense of Washington.
General Dan died in 1879. My great-great grandfather went on to work in the publishing business and met a young girl from Scotland, who had come over to work for a wealthy family living on Dearborn Avenue in Chicago. Everything she owned was in a box her father made for her, plus something else.
I had been going through some old photos and papers I needed to file away, and came across this piece about General Daniel Cameron. The top of the piece is in my grandmother's handwriting. The side note is in my mother's, which is probably too small to read. She makes note of a box Eliza brought with her from Scotland. And two rosewood chairs.
I don't know why my mother never told me the story of this chair before she passed. Or, maybe she did and I just forgot. But what sent a chill down my spine is that I was sitting in this very chair as I read this recount in my mother's handwriting for the very first time.
I'm fascinated by history, especially the stories of those who helped make this a great nation. From my bedroom window, I can see seven different fireworks displays on the 4th.
And this year, I'll be sitting in Eliza's chair as I do so.
Sharon’s award-winning spicy Navy SEAL stories in the SEAL Brotherhood series, have consistently made best sellers lists and review sites. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love.
She lives in Sonoma County, California with her husband, and two Dobermans. A lifelong organic gardener, when she’s not writing, she’s getting vera vera dirty in the mud, or wandering Farmer’s Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.
Book 3 of her SEAL series, SEAL Under Covers, will release the end of July.