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Nuggets of Patriotism - Determined Volunteers Unite for Freedom


Please enjoy the second story in our series, Nuggets of Patriotism.



By Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub | July 5, 2024


Today's Patriot stories - Determined Volunteers Unite for Freedom


The word patriot comes to us from a Greek word meaning “of one’s father,” and from the Latin word for “father.” This word showed that unified people who fought on the same side during wars in Europe, were considered “fellow countrymen.”


Today the word patriot in the United States means those who pledged to each other their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor for other, “fellow countrymen.” They were united to wrest control of the colonies from England. They were united to wrest control with the only power available to them, physical rebellion. 


Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), are descendants of specific patriots who rendered service to the cause for freedom. Following are stories that some DAR members have shared of their patriot ancestors.


Private Jesse Ray, Private William Proffitt, and Captain Benjamin Greer


Toward the end of the Revolutionary War, General George Washington proclaimed to his own army that the “spirited, hardy, determined volunteers who crossed the mountains, served as proof of the spirit and resources of the country.” DAR member, D.G. has three great-grandfathers who were among those “spirited, hardy, determined volunteers.”


One volunteer, D.G.’s great-grandfather x4 (4 greats), Jesse Ray, smelted iron with his father to provide the colonial army with pig iron. Pig iron was used for tools during the Revolutionary War. He ultimately decided to volunteer for the army, and served in various skirmishes and battles of the war. 


Jesse, along with two other of D.G.’s great-grandfathers, Captain Benjamin Greer and Private William Proffitt, were part of a group who became known as the Overmountain Men, a loose band of 900 farmers and hunters from North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee, who fought in the battle of Kings Mountain, South Carolina in 1780. Thomas Jefferson called this battle, “The turn of the tide of success.”


These southern men were originally reluctant to pick up arms for the Patriot Cause, but when British Major Patrick Ferguson threatened to bring his army across South Carolina “to march over the mountains, hang their leaders, and lay their country to waste with fire and sword,” those mountain men got angry.


The Overmountain Men and their fight for American freedom are commemorated in the “Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail.” This trail encompasses four states and is eighty-seven miles of  walking paths. Along the way there are stories of these Overmountain Patriots.


Kings Mountain National Military Park near Blacksburg, South Carolina also houses a tribute to the men who fought there.


British forces worked to dismember the men in the mountains who were

not at the forefront of the American Revolution, but who, instead, kept

to themselves until the antagonistic British forces came after them.


Just as there are forces that would work to dismember fair, honest

and open elections.


Michigan Fair Elections is on the forefront of working for election integrity

and freedom, just as the ragtag group of Overmountain Men, who had no

formal military training, worked so that each of us today lives in a country that is founded upon freedom.


Ensign Dewalt Mechling, Private Martin Bash, and Jacob Rugh


K.N, another member of the DAR, descends from three Pennsylvania Revolutionary War patriots. Founded by Quakers with the belief that taking up arms is antagonistic to God’s ways, Pennsylvania had no military organization. Originally, there “appeared spontaneously in certain localities volunteer companies.” Revolutionary War Overview (pa.gov) 

 

K.N,'s first patriot, Dewalt Mechling, came to serve the colonies against the British when volunteers in western Pennsylvania formed a band similar to one twenty years earlier, that fought with Native Americans against British control of their lands.

 

Although Dewalt’s father came to Philadelphia from Germany, and signed a declaration of allegiance to King George II of England, Dewalt broke with his father in 1774, and moved to western Pennsylvania in an area called Hanna's Town, not far from present-day Pittsburgh.

 

Residents of Hanna's Town heard of the battles in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, and passed the Hanna’s Town Resolves, taking a stand against British oppression. The Hanna’s Town Resolves are one of the most direct challenges to British authority prior to the  Declaration of Independence. These Resolves also declared the establishment of a local militia, and Hanna’s Town served as a recruitment center for the county militia.


The flag of the county’s militia featured a rattlesnake ready to strike the British Union Jack and featured the words “Don’t Tread on Me.” This is now the official flag of Westmoreland County (Gadsden flag).

 

Dewalt enlisted as an ensign during the Revolutionary War and served on the 8th Continental line of Pennsylvania Regulars, taking part in the New Jersey campaign where he was severely wounded in service to the colonies’ quest for freedom - a stark contrast to the oath of allegiance his father had pledged to King George III in 1728.

 

In one of the final conflicts of the Revolutionary War, Hanna’s Town was attacked and burned in 1782. The town never recovered.


* * * * *


The second patriot of K.N’s, Private Martin Bash, was born in Germany and served as a ranger on the frontier under Captain James Clark. When the colonists were settling various areas of what is now the United States of America as British colonists, Britain was fighting the French who had claimed some of the same land.

 

It is through these conflicts that Private Martin Bash started his service as a ranger.  Not in the forefront of either our minds or history, these patriots known as Rangers, served in a different capacity than the militia. These men “ranged” between fixed frontier fortifications as reconnaissance to provide early warning of hostile raids. They became scouts and guides. Private Bash first enlisted as a ranger to guard against Indian raids and later he used those same skills to guard against the British.


* * * * *

 

K.N.'s third patriot, Jacob Rugh, also served as a ranger and maintained a stockade with supplies for the Continental Army. His service ended at age 22, when the war ended, but he continued a life of public service, serving several terms in the Pennsylvania legislature.


Once the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was free from British rule, it drafted its own Constitution, established its own Legislature, and a representative election system. The citizens of Pennsylvania took advantage of their newfound privilege and responsibility - voting. In 1776, Pennsylvania allowed any adult male who paid taxes to vote and run for office.


As British forces worked to defeat and destroy the Pennsylvania men

who enlisted to protect their land and lifestyle they had built in western Pennsylvania;


as Rangers kept a watchful eye on the land and lifestyle they worked

and paid for;


as the taxpayers of Pennsylvania from 1776 onward were equally

privileged and responsible for voting in their self-government;


volunteers from Michigan Fair Elections emulate the work of these

Pennsylvanians to protect election integrity safeguards.


Don't miss the next installment of Nuggets of Patriotism - Choosing Freedom over Comfort.



Want an opportunity to learn more about our Founding Fathers? See below.


 

Elizabeth Dallam Ayoub serves on MFE’s Communications Team. She started her career working for an international company, transitioned into teaching French and Latin while her children were young, and then became a Michigan attorney.


 


Meet the Men Who Made America

Founding Fathers 101


America's Founding Fathers Collection

from Prager University


PragerU has assembled a team of renowned historians and scholars to guide you through the lives and legacies of America’s most influential Founding Fathers, including George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Alexander Hamilton.


Sign Up HERE.


 

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Mark your calendars to attend Election Integrity Network's outstanding national working groups. Consider also serving as liaison to report to MFE's Task Force Coalition on our Thursday meetings.


Below is the schedule for National Working Groups July 9-11. A link to the full National Working Group Calendar for July is HERE  (All meetings are noted in Eastern time.)


Tuesday, July 9


Wednesday, July 10


Thursday, July 11


Click on the monthly NWG Calendar to register and join any meeting.


 

Mark your calendar for this month's meeting of Pure Integrity Michigan Elections:


 

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of the Michigan Fair Elections. Every article written by an MFE author is generated by the author or editor alone. Links embedded within the article, however, may have been generated by artificial intelligence.

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