“He was a good man. Make sure that it says so on the patrol report.”*
Veterans Day was once known as Armistice Day. The term comes from an armistice between Germany and the Allied Nations on November 11, 1918. World War I actually ended on June 28, 1919, during the Treaty of Versailles. The first Armistice Day was acknowledged on November 11, 1919.
On June 1, 1954, Armistice Day had its named changed to Veterans Day, so that the veterans of WWII and all the men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces would be honored.
So take some time today to think about your ancestors who served their country in the Armed Forces. A favorite fighting ancestor of mine is Moses Wheeler who fought in the French and Indian War. He was a soldier on the frontier as early as 1746,
and was one of the company of Capt. Stevens in his celebrated defense of the Fort at No. 4…and was also with Hobbs in his terrible encounter with Sackett…[Wheeler] was a very large man, yet of good proportions, and was said to have been, in his prime, the strongest man in the cordon of forts on the frontier. One time Wheeler and five others were detailed to take a cannon to the top of Hoosac Mountain. It appeared to some of them a hard task and they stood around it a long time earnestly discussing the way in which it should be done. At length, tiring of their suggestions, Wheeler threw up his arms, at the same time exclaiming “Stand aside boys, I am going to take the cannon up the mountain myself,” and swinging it upon his shoulder bore it to the place which had been designated for it, pausing only once for rest upon the way.
It is related that the reason of his pausing as he did was to get a drink from a spring which he saw bubbling up beside his path. As soon as he saw this he flung his cannon from his shoulder and throwing himself flat on his stomach, the more readily to get at the water, he commenced drinking, as the soldiers expressed it, “like a horse.” Thinking he would kill himself they warned him to desist, but as he gave no heed to their admonition three of them seized one leg and two the other and drew him forcibly away. He thought it rather hard usage but concluded on the whole it was best to submit to it. After resting awhile he again resumed his cannon and bore it to its place, when he found that he had burst his shoes open which were new when he started from the foot of the mountain, and his pantaloons were such a wreck that they were good for nothing afterwards. The officers and soldiers were, however, so pleased with his exploit they they clubbed together and very generously more than made up the loss. After this he became quite a hero to the Indians, who, whenever they came where he was, always wanted to see “The Strong Man.”
(History of Charlestown, New-Hampshire by Rev. Henry H. Saunderson, 1876)
If this story sounds a bit familiar, it is because James Fenimore Cooper based a character in The Deerslayer on Moses Wheeler. In the 1957 movie he was played by Forrest Tucker.
Is it any wonder that 240 years later we named the boy after this ancestor?
If I had a copy of The Deerslayer, I would surely watch it tonight. I’ll find something suitable. How about you?
*John Wayne in Operation Pacific