Friday, November 11, 2011

Gen. James Clinton

My latest look at the confluence of national and family history is up at FrumForum for Veterans Day: "James Clinton, Revolutionary War Hero." Excerpt:

Previously at FrumForum, I wrote about two early American political leaders: DeWitt Clinton, New York governor and mayor and key figure in the nation-building achievement of getting the Erie Canal built; and George Clinton, governor turned vice president, whose efforts to limit federal power culminated in an independent (and erroneous, in my view) decision to terminate America’s first central bank.

Now, I take quill to parchment again, this time regarding James Clinton (1736-1812), a Revolutionary War general who was DeWitt’s father and George’s brother.

Though less remembered today than the other two, James struck important blows for American independence. For me, these figures are of interest for family history as well as national history. James and DeWitt are direct ancestors of my wife, and our son is named DeWitt after his great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

Veterans Day, which honors veterans living and dead, would be a suitable time to remember James Clinton. Although he had some involvement in politics, he was primarily a military man. One historian described him a few decades after his death as “a plain blunt soldier, born upon the frontiers, and who spent no inconsiderable portion of a long life amid the toils and perils of border wars.”

Whole thing here.

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