Happy Fourth of July! 3

JISHOU, HUNAN — Since I don’t have easy access to baseball games, parades and big fireworks displays here, I have had a little time to contemplate our nation’s 233rd birthday. My mostly rambling thoughts follow. Roughly one-fourth of my ancestors were colonists in New York, New Jersey and New England. The rest of my family emigrated from Sweden in the late 1800s. So I like to think of myself as a representative of two kinds of American: the “founders” and the immigrants who came after the nation was founded. [The third kind are the original inhabitants. As as I know, there are no Indians among my ancestors, but my family research has turned up surprises before.] My great x 3-grandfather served in the New Jersey militia during the Revolution, and his in-laws — mostly seamen — served in the navy (or were pirates — the distinction is a bit murky). One was held prisoner in a British warship in New York Harbor. Unfortunately, we don’t know why they came to the colonies. My family has never been especially religious, though those colonial ancestors were Baptists and Quakers. It’s possible they came to the colonies to worship freely, or to take ...
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