Friday, July 3, 2009

Poetry: A Toast to the First and the Fourth of July

A Toast to the First and the Fourth of July
for David Van Every (1757-1820)
©July 2009 - John Newmark

For two years my fourth great fought
for the creation of our nation
then in seventeen seventy seven
he deemed his disloyalty a disservice
and joined the other side.
Finally, he and his family fled to Canada.

His motivations are unrecorded.
Beyond his appearance on muster rolls,
a few brief mentions elsewhere,
we have nothing. No inkling
of the wherefores behind his decision
either in seventy five, or seventy seven.

In July’s opening barrage
of national celebrations
I honor both of his decisions -
whatever the reasons, and his willingness
to fight for what he believed
even when those beliefs changed.

I've previously blogged that I only have Loyalist direct ancestors and no Revolutionaries. I've learned that's not exactly true. My fourth great grandfather, David Van Every, was a Revolutionary who became a Loyalist. Though I do note he was 18 years old in 1775, and 20 in 1777.

I think about the decisions I was making at that age. My 4th great grandfather left one side of a war, and went to the other; I left one college and went to another. There's a long story behind my actions; I'm sure there's an equally long story behind his.

While there's no certainty, one researcher suggests there may have been a familial reason David (and his brother, Benjamin) initially joined the New York militia.
David and Benjamin Van Every perhaps had decided to join the New York Militia, as it was in this Regiment that the cousins of their father, McGregory Van Every had been serving: Martin as a Lieutenant, Cornelius (1730 - 1815) as an Ensign and later as a Lieutenant, and Rynier as a Captain. However, soon after deserting from the New York Militia, both David and Benjamin transferred themselves to Butler's Rangers, within which they fought for the duration of the American Revolution, David as a Sergeant and Benjamin as a regular soldier.

"Warner Cemetery: an important piece of Canada's heritage worth preserving," Robert Collins McBride, The Loyalist Gazette, March 22, 2000.

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