Adpoptaprop tells us that “adoption creates a family.” It does not tell us that it also destroys a family in the process. That task is left up to The Adopted to tell (as if anyone listens) and to live.
Adoption severs legal ties, but more importantly, it wipes out identity, genealogy, and historical memory– the right to historical identity and knowledge. Sure some adoptees, moreso today than in the past, can have an easier opportunity to learn where they came from, their history, their context, and their place in the greater family. But do we really? So much is missing. (Of course, some bio families disregard those same identity markers. I have been astounded at the people I know who have no idea who their grandparents were. much less anyone else. But, at least they have a path to learning, unlike The Adopted who are just left at the end of a weedy road without a scythe.)
This lack of knowing history comes up today:
I was an only child. Because I was fortunate enough to learn where and who I came from, I have identified several thousand relatives and collaterals in my family tree. Now, I am hardly going to discuss all of them today., but…
…part of my family came to what is now the US in 1632 (or perhaps earlier) as settler colonists. ome of my ancestors fought in various pre-Revoutionary wars in the American colonies, the Revolutionary War, and both sides of the Civil War.
I’ll limit the discussion to two whom I know most about and have written about before. Two who for whatever reason put on the uniform of their country and fought and died and deserve to be remembered on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
The irony is they are remembered by the one person who is not supposed to know about them. Adopted Me.
2nd Lt. Jesse Reese from my bio dad’s side
This is my 4th great-grandfather Jessie Harrison.
Jesse was born in Huntington Mills, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania on May 24, 1818. His parents were farmers.
Jesse joined the Union Army on September 20, 1862. There is no other information available, but I assume in Wilkes Barre. Records indicate battlefield promotions. He was mustered into the 143rd Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Company I. (and here) as a 1st Sergeant on July 1, 1863, the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant the same day. He was wounded in battle and died on August 20, 1863, at Camp Letterman Hospital, where 14,000 Union and 6,800 Confederate soldiers were treated.
515 members of the 143rd fought at Gettysburg, 21 were killed, 141 wounded, and 91 reported missing.
Jesse is buried at Scott Cemetery in Luzerne County.
Jesse married Phoebe Tubbs in 1836. They had 7 children, 3 of whom served with Pennsylvania troops during the war. My 3rd great-grandfather James (1840-1916) served as a Private in the Co A 22nsd Pennsylvania Calvary. After the Civil War, he ended up in Wood County, West Virginia where he married Martha Jane Yorty. Their daughter Lovie May Harrison married Charles Austin Hedrick, and their daughter Violet Florence Hedrick married Lawrence Reese. Their son Jack Jennings Reese is my father.
Private Frank Lawrence, 12th Gloucestershire Regiment from my bio-mom’s side
Private Frank Lawrence, 44384, died a German POW on October 21, 1918, less than one month before the armistice was signed. He had just turned 19. He is my 2nd cousin, once removed.
Frank was born in Bedminster, Somerset in 1899. (I believe it was actually Clevedon). He was the son of my great-grandmother’s brother Walter Lawrence and his wife Sarah Winterston. His parents along with his sisters Beatrice and Winifred and brothers Hebert, Harry, and Walter survived, as did many cousins, including my biological grandfather, Courtnay Granecome who served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a pencil pusher in various military hospitals in England. I have no pictures of Frank, but he is memorialized in England and Belgium.
According to the Clevedon Civic Society World War 1 Casualty List (no longer online): Frank Lawrence, aged 19 of 9 Strode Road, Clevedon went to France in April 1918. Three weeks later he was wounded and captured. He died in the German Hospital in Antwerp as a result of poor medical conditions when the Germans deserted the city. He is buried at the Schoonselhof Cemetery, Antwerp. Plot IIa, 47.
St. Andrews Church Honor Roll in Clevedon lists the following information: Frank Lawrence, 19.2th (Service) (Bristol) Battalion. Private 44384. Born Clevedon. Enlisted Taunton. Formerly 68185 Devonshire Regiment. Died 21st October 1918. Aged 19.
The Adopted are the keepers of memory that was denied us at birth
When we learn, we will never forget
(No, it will never be X!)