Monday, November 19, 2007
Will Anyone Remember Me?
This photo is of Anna Mary Long Sell Thompson. She was my great great great grandmother. Born to German immigrants in what was then York County, PA on 12 Nov 1793, she was married to one Daniel Sell and had three daughters by him, Eliza, Hannah and Mary Jane.
Daniel died in 1822, right before Mary Jane was born.
She then married Joshua Frederick Thompson of Littlestown, Adams Co, PA and gave birth to James Thompson, Elias, Catherine, Isabella and Susannah Thompson. I can't figure out why she married Joshua, as he was a bit younger than she was and seems to have been a habitual drunkard, as she had him declared so in court in 1841. He's gone after that.
She was an active abolitionist, Her home just outside of Gettysburg, PA was used as an overflow house for runaway slaves when the other Underground RR homes were full. She was a good friend of the statesman Thaddeus Stevens, who was also an abolitionist.
On July 1 1863, General Robert E. Lee rode up the street to her home and decided it was a great place to make his headquarters for the coming battle. She cooked for the soldiers, baked pies that they took out of the oven before they were done. She had good things to say about Lee, that he was a gentleman who sat in a chair near the window reading his Bible. He gave Mary and her daughter a note for safe passage through the city, and they left to stay at her daughter's house in town.
The soldiers took the door off the house to use as a map table outside. Lee slept outside in a tent, but apparently had the runs, as he was seen going to the outhouse many times.
Mary and her daughter had been staying in the basement, due to the possibility of cannon balls and bullets entering through the windows. In fact, Mary, had just the night before, had delivered a grandson in that basement. After the war her home was used as a hospital, and everything in it and outside it was destroyed. Mary worked at the various hospitals in town, too, along with her adult daughters. She died in 1873 of consumption and is buried in the famous Evergreen Cemetery of Gettysburg, where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address.
My genealogical research has uncovered many stories about this strong woman who raised eight children. I feel like I know her, just a little bit. Many of her descendants remember her for who she was and what she did.
I sometimes wonder if any of my own descendants will remember me, or what I accomplished on this earth. If they will have a record of my life 134 years after I have moved on to heaven. I've tried hard to be a good woman, wife and mother. But the only parts of my life that ended up in the newspaper, I'd just as soon were forgotten.
Will I just be an entry into someone's genealogical software? Born, married, raised 17kids who lived, had four children die in childhood, and died in such and such a year. My life has been so much more than that. I bet I'm forgotten in about two generations.
Do you ever wonder the same thing?