Thank you, Puryer Reeves
The question posed on a radio broadcast today, Memorial Day, 2012, was: “What would you say to a military person who is now dead.” While I have living and dead in my close family who served in World War II, my mind flew back to a man named Puryer Reeves. He was born in 1750 in the state of Connecticut. He is distant kin to my husband so there is no bloodline connection, but I am very proud to have even a slip of paper that tells me he loved the Colonies and fought for Independence.
I stumbled over his name one late evening while scouting around in archives of Ancestery.com. Puryer had been traced back from a cousin of my husband through the paperwork preserved by an organization called, the Sons of the American Revolution. Once I found the written documents from closer generations, I couldn’t stop and kept printing off information.
Today, I would say, “Puryer, thank you for your vision that the struggling Colonies could, and should, be free from the enslaving taxation and rule of a monarchy. Thank you for believing that a republic-democracy would work. Thank you for surviving the conflict in which you served from 1775-1781, and then passed down to your son, Manesseh, patriotism that kept our country’s roots of freedom.
According to stories passed down, “family lore” Puryer was the son of Benjamin, who came to the Colonies from England, first on a King’s order to keep control over the colonists. Benjamin saw that the King was wrong, and turned coats. If that family story is correct, I also stand amazed once more at the hand of God on the founding of the Colonies into an established republic.
Today, surviving ancestors of Puryer live in Iowa. The name, Reeves, is found on headstones in a graveyard in Oldwine, IA. If I lived close to there today, I would walk out into that cemetery, kneel at the grave, and give heart-stirring thanks that God allowed me to be born in America at the cost of men like those in the Reeves family.
If any readers are studying genealogy, you can find Puryer Reeves in:
Record of Conn. Men in mil. and Naval service during Rev. War, 1775-1783. Vol 144, p. 167
I found the record July 23, 2011, so this is my first chance to write of him on Memorial Day.