Becoming American, The Story of The Fight For Freedom
Recently I discovered who my father was after fifty years of not knowing him or that I had other siblings. It was a bittersweet moment finding out who he was three weeks after his death.
I had resigned myself to the fact I would probably never get to know him or to find out who I was when I was in my thirties. I simply decided this was the life I was given, make it my own. I have a beautiful, loving, caring wife. I had four children of my own, most are all grown, adults.
One night while watching the latest series on Netflix, my wife gets a message on Facebook. In fifteen minutes I had confirmed who my father was and that he had passed away, and the woman on the phone I was talking with was probably my sister and also finding out I had a brother. Just from the phone conversation, we were 99% sure we had found the right person, a DNA test was in the works. Two weeks later and its a 99.9% chance we were a match for our father.
Like most people who pass away, they leave behind something for their descendants. Not everything left behind is a physical item that we receive, sometimes its nothing we can see unless we look in a mirror. A person who never knows a parent or both parents has an internal instinct to want to know who they are and where they come from. You dream of what your father or mother looks like, how they sound when they speak, what their life story was. All these things make up who we are as an individual. Throughout my life, I had wondered why I thought the way I did? I wasn't raised to believe in the things I do believe in, where did these beliefs and yearnings come from? Why were our Constitution and Bill of Rights, the state of our crumbling democracy, and the continually eroding rights and freedoms of the American people so important to me? After learning who my father was, a lot of questions were answered.
One of the first things I saw when I entered my father's house after meeting my sister for the first time was a copy of The Constitution, Bill of Rights and The Declaration of Independence, nicely framed, hanging on his wall. My father was also a champion pistol and rifle shooter with numerous awards. He had a large gun safe for his guns and enough ammunition to wage a small war. He was a man who loved his guns, he advocated for firearm safety and responsible gun ownership. He also loved his Harley Davison and was involved in A.B.A.T.E for years. All of these things told me a lot of who he was, who I was, and why I thought so importantly of freedom, the rights that are given to us by God, and the fight against tyranny and greed. All of the things I saw while I was standing there for the first time said one thing, freedom was important to him also, and for the first time in my life, I had felt a real connection.
Among the things that were left for me was an old gun, it was very old. It was in a case that was on my father's headboard on his bed. It was laid in red velvet, covered in glass. There was a little gold plaque with the name "Balpy Culbertson 1855 - 1931" This was no doubt one of the most important things my father had. I didn't realize the importance of that old gun and who "Balpy" was until I started to find out more of my heritage. This answered a lot of questions of who I was and why freedom and the rights of the people were so important to me.
Balpy was John Washinton Culbertson who had a wife named Martha. He lived and died in Fayette Co. Illinois. I didn't find out much about him. So I called my new found sister to ask her about John Washington who told me that she had heard from our father that our family lineage was back to one of George Washington's bodyguards and that is why Washington was probably used in his middle name. I was very intrigued and wanted to know more, so I started to dig.
Balpy's father was John Thomas Culbertson, born in Williamson Tennessee in 1824. Not surprising another presidential middle name. I was getting excited thinking this could be true, a bodyguard of George Washington? John Thomas died March 1st, 1866 in the middle of the Civil War. John Thomas Culbertson was a Major in the Union Army who fought under Gen. Grant in the Battle of Appomattox. He took a musket ball and never recovered from his wounds and died March 1st, 1866 at the age of 42.
John Thomas Culbertson's father was Benjamin Andrew Culbertson? and Benjamin J. Culbertson? One in the same person born in 1785 in Rowan Co, North Carolina? Another prominent middle name in American history. This was not surprising shortly after the American Revolution that popular presidential and prominent names were used, incorporated into a family name. Then Debogle began, Benjamin had ten children,? married twice? His first wife was Anna Elliot and his second wife was Mary Fitzgerald? Who was Benjamin Andrew Culbertson or Benjamin J. Culbertson's wife, Anna Elliott? Marriage 23 Aug. 1810. Williamson, Tennessee? or 15 Dec. 1852 in Williamson County, Tennessee?
My clues came from Walter t Culbertson, born In Williamson Tennesee in 1824 one year before John Thomas Culbertson. They had the same mother, Anna (Trimble)Culbertson. Trimble was Walter's middle name. It was a three-day adventure of pulling what hair I have left, out. It was a spaghetti trail of the same names through generations of Culbertson's, compounded by endless questions. Finally, with the help of more knowledgeable people, I was able to conclude. Benjamin J Culbertson was who I was trailing.
Benjamin's father was John Culbertson," Lt. Col. John Culbertson", He had four brothers, Andrew, James, Robert, and Samuel. James Culbertson was commissioned by Gov. Denny, of Pa., May 1, 1758, to be Ensign of a company, in Col.HughMercer's Battalion (Regt.), the Third Bat. of Pa. Provincial Troops, in the French and Indian War. Ensign James marched to Ft. Duquesne in winter of 1758. He was in the Revolution, as well as his son, John, and while they were at home on a furlough and eating their dinners, the Indians took them by surprise and shot them down.
John Culbertson was in the battle of Long Island in the fall of 1776, this was the first battle of the Revolutionary War, He was with Gen. George Washington at that time, at the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776. They lost that battle and had to retreat across the Delaware River, on December 25, 1776 Washingtons militia crossed the Deleware again. Johns brothers, Samuel Culbertson, Pvt. Robert Culbertson were all in the crossing and Samuels son 17-year-old son, Lt. Benjamin Culbertson drowned in that crossing December 25, 1776. Samuel Culbertson was captured by the British, Nov. 16, 1776, at the Battle of Fort Washington. He was sent to Long Island prison, held by the Brittish until he was ex-changed Nov. 2, 1780, at Elizabethtown, N. J.
Lt.Co. John Culbertson was a Delegate at the first draft of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in Lancaster Pennsylvania, his brother Lt. Andrew Culbertson was also there as a Delegate." First Proclamations of the American People Setting Forth the Principles of Liberty, at Great Debates in which the Spirit of Freedom has manifested Convention at Lancaster on June Twenty-fifth in 1776."
Early in 1776, Congress called upon the several colonies to furnish troops for defensive operations only. The quota assigned to Pennsylvania was 4500 men. The Assembly of the colony adjourned after this call had been made without making any provisions for filling this quota or answering this call. In this emergency, the "Committee of Conference" issued a call for a Delegate Convention, consisting of four members from each battalion, two officers and two privates, to meet at Lancaster on July 4, 1776, to elect two brigadier-generals to command the troops of the colony. This call was dated June 25, 1776. "The call, in its every line, is loyal to liberty and the cause of the union of all the colonies, you are about to contend for permanent freedom. The present campaign will probably decide the fate of America. It is now in your power to immortalize your names by mingling your achievements with the events of the year to the end of time, for establishing upon a lasting foundation, the liberties of one-quarter of the globe. Remember the honor of our country is at stake. Remember the name of Pennsylvania. Think of your ancestors and your posterity. Resolved that we will march under the direction and command of our brigadier-generals to the assistance of all or any of the free, independent states of America."
This convention was held over sixty miles from Philadelphia, where the Congress was sitting, and on the same day of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, at such a distance that the convention could not know what was transpiring in Philadelphia. This was known as the first Declaration of Independence.
John, Andrew, Robert, and Samuel's father was a man named, "Irish" Andrew Culbertson Jr. Andrew was born in 1694 in Derry Northern Ireland. Andrew Jr. came to this continent in 1710 and settled in Shippensburg Pennsylvania. He died in 1746. Andrew Jr. was my first ancestor to come to the soon to be "America."
Some Founding Fathers were strongly opposed to the formation of a central banking system; the fact that England tried to place the colonies under the monetary control of the Bank of England was seen by many as the "last straw" of oppression which led directly to the American Revolutionary War.