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Archive for August, 2020

In memoriam

Early this year my longtime genealogy friend Paul died.

Paul was a descendant of people who had come to the Boston area and stayed. A number of his lines had been in Lexington here in the Boston area since long before the Revolutionary War, and his ancestor helped the wounded on that fateful first battle of the Revolution on 19 April 1775. One day in 2016 I was privileged to go with Paul to various spots in the Lexington area associated with his family, including visiting some of their graves. Here are a few of the things we saw on that day.

The remains of Ebenezer Fiske's well

The remains of Ebenezer Fiske’s well.

Historical sign at the approximate site of Ebenezer Fiske's well in Lexington, Masaschusetts

The historical sign at the approximate site of Ebenezer Fiske’s well in Lexington, Masaschusetts.

The remains of Ebenezer Fiske's house

The remains of Ebenezer Fiske’s house, where Dr. Joseph Fiske unsuccessfully tried to treat British regulars on 19 April 1775.

I too had had family in earliest colonial eastern Massachusetts, but mine had chosen to quickly leave in search of opportunities elsewhere. Paul had inherited letters from family members who’d gone to Kansas in the early days of white colonizing there, filled with comments about how miserable they were; and they eventually moved back to where they’d originated. Through each other’s families we saw the path not chosen, the family history that could have been.

Paul was well-known in area genealogy circles and I am sorry to everyone for the loss of our friend/acquaintance and the loss to our community.

I close with this thought from Paul’s and my puritan forebears (and other puritans), carved on many extant puritan gravestones in the area – “FUGIT HORA” (“TIME FLIES”):

Top of Elizabeth Hasting's gravestone at Old Burying Ground, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Top of Elizabeth Hasting’s gravestone at Old Burying Ground, Cambridge, Massachusetts: “FUGIT HORA – MEMENTO MORI” (“TIME FLIES – REMEMBER DEATH” or “REMEMBER YOU WILL DIE”).

In these uncertain times, treasure every moment.

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