' History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage need not be lived again'
That is a quote from Maya Angelou, the Black American authoress and poet who died recently...
And I think it sums up how many people probably feel about their own personal histories and those of others who really did 'suffer wrenching pain'...
This Mormon branch of the family tree I'm researching has me enthralled and horrified...but the records kept by the Church in Utah are incredibly detailed, and make tracking the various members of the family down over the years simple enough, with the added bonus of many minor details...for instance, the birth certificates even have the names of the women who attended the mother in labour...
But it is the American Wars I was looking at today...especially that known as the Black Hawk War because one of the men from the original family was entitled to a special memorial in the form of a headstone because he'd fought in the Black Hawk War...and he'd been in the cavalry during the American Civil War as well.
I'll not attempt to describe the politics' and the reasons why behind the complex Indian tribal support or otherwise for Black Hawk...and certainly cannot attempt to describe the complexity of the involvement of the White Americans...politics have never been my forte. If you want to know more there is plenty of information on the web...
It was the awful skirmishes and loss of life on both sides which held my attention...the old people and women and children caught up in something they surely were not able to understand ...the White Americans writing out Treaties for the Indians to sign when they barely understood the wording...pieces of valuable land exchanging hands for a few dollars...and White Indian Agents murdered and their bodies mutilated...
The man who was the focus of my attention this afternoon, survived his time in uniform and went on to live to a ripe old age...he died from a stroke at the age of eighty-six and is commemorated on various monuments as well as having his own headstone.
I can't understand why men have the need to fight...can't quite grasp why a chap who was born in a small town in the Midlands of England and who was baptised as an adult into his new belief, felt the need to go out on horseback armed with a rifle with the express intent of killing his fellow man.
He must have had his reasons I suppose, and we'll just have to wonder what they were, unless someone somewhere has a diary he kept at the time...

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