1 Nephi 1: 1, 3
...therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days. And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

^^That pretty much explains this blog.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Benjamin Lemaster: Revolutionary War Hero, Part I

          I usually spend July 4th writing about my ancestors. I am so grateful I got the genealogy bug when I did. One would think a stay-at-home mom would have enough to do with four children and a part-time job with the newspaper, but I know my ancestors in heaven urged me on, and I was glad to oblige. A lot of the people from whom I acquired all the information have now passed on, so it was Providence that I gathered it when I did.

          I am writing this post for my family—my children, siblings, cousins—so they will know of their proud heritage.  I got all the information from a collection of handouts I acquired from Katherine LeMaster Dendy, written by Agnes McNeill, entitled "Benjamin Lemasters and the American War for Independence."  I also gleaned from the internet and several Wikipedia pages for the battles.

          This information predates David McCullough’s “1776,” but it is jogging my memory. I read that book, trying to know what it would feel like to be Benjamin Lemaster.

          I posted an article by Meridian Magazine on my Facebook page today, July 4, 2016. It spoke a lot about George Washington, and it reminded me of Benjamin Lemaster, who fought in almost all of George Washington's campaigns.

          Benjamin Lemaster (or alternatively spelled LeMasters, Lemasters, Lemastres, Lemaitres) enlisted in the Revolutionary War Service in September 1776 in Berkeley County, Virginia, even though he lived in northwestern Virginia, in Monongalia County, a few counties over (we don't know why he didn't enlist in Monongalia County, near his home.) He was twenty years old. 

          His younger brother, Joseph, two years his junior, joined up as well in December 1776 and mustered into the 13th Virginia Regiment. They served together in the Battles of Brandywine and Germantown, and wintered in Valley Forge. 

          There was no training period for the recruits. It was presumed they knew how to load, shoot and care for their rifles or muskets. Their uniforms were the clothing on their backs, and their gear consisted of whatever they brought with them in their knapsacks.

__________OF BENJAMIN LEMASTER__________

September-October 1776: Enlistment
          Benjamin Lemaster enlisted in the First Virginia Regiment at Berkeley County, Virginia, now Morgan County, West Virginia, in September 1776. He was under the command of Captain William Lewis. He stated in his Pension Statement that he enlisted for three years, and he did end up serving for almost three years, but he most likely enlisted for a three-month term which was scheduled to begin October 1 and end December 31, 1776.

October 22-28, 1776: Joined the Continental Army at White Plains, New York
          The area was known as “white plains” because of the frequent presence of ground mist hanging over the low, marshy landscape. Benjamin no sooner got to White Plains then he found out what war was all about.
October 28, 1776Battle of White Plains
          Benjamin Lemaster witnessed the Continental Army reduced to shreds by the scarlet and white-clad British regulars. American troops retreated in a panic—not for the last time. “What have I done?” must have crossed his mind. It would have mine.
          In his Pension Statement, Benjamin recalled: I was enlisted by Lieut. Cup [Culp]a recruiting officer, for Capt Lewis company. I joined his company at the white Plain – which was attached to the first Virginia Continental Regt. Commanded by Col. Richard Parker and Genl. Muhlenburg’ brigade – Genl. Washington commanded at the white Plains. Lord Sterling commanded the division of the army to which I belonged. The British came out and attacked its right wing in which the Delaware troops suffered considerably. . .”

November 10-29 1776:  Retreat from Newark, NJ
          Benjamin was among 3,000 troops ferried across the Hudson to block a British strike into New Jersey. They took up positions at Newark on November 13. By November 29, they abandoned Newark, burned their tents (because no wagons were available to carry them), then destroyed the only bridge across the Raritan River, just ahead of the Hessians. Another retreat.

November 30, 1776: Camped at Brunswick, New Jersey

December 3, 1776: They reached Trenton and had five days to get across the Delaware River. For seventy miles up and down the Delaware, the Americans confiscated every craft capable of carrying a man across the river, then went into what they thought would be their last encampment. Their enlistment was up December 31. Benjamin was probably counting the days when he could start back for Virginia.

December 8, 1776: In camp on the Pennsylvania bank of the Delaware River
          In his Pension Statement, he continued: “We retreated towards Brunswick crossed the River & encampted [sic] on the Delaware, where I was detached with others under Lieut. Kilpatrick to protect the people of Trenton from the robberies of the Hessians—on rejoining the army we took up the line of march and went to Trenton.”
          C. Leon Harris transcribed another statement made by Benjamin Lemasters regarding his pension [it was amazing the hoops he had to jump through to get his $80 per annum pension in 1832]: “The army retreated to Brunswick being persued [sic] by the British and continued retreating until they got to the Pensylvania [sic] shore of the Delaware river where the main body of the army remained during a considerable part of the winter. From this place he was taken under the command of Capt __ Kilpatrick (although he still belonged properly to Capt Lewis’ Company) across the Delaware river to Guard Trenton from the ravages of the British.”
          The way he told the story, he went back across the Delaware to Trenton before Washington and the others crossed on Christmas Day. 
          Bummer. I always pictured Benjamin crossing the Delaware River with George Washington. It looks like he preceded him there.

December 25, 1776Battle of Trenton
          The Continental Army re-crossed the Delaware River under the cover of darkness to fall on the Hessian garrison at Trenton, New Jersey. Washington wanted to be across the river by midnight, but didn't make it to the other side until three in the morning.
          Under the command of Adam Stephen, of Berkeley County, the First Virginia guarded the north of the town, while two other regiments performed the duty of fighting in the streets of Trenton. 
          Brigadier General Adam Stephen commanded 541 men. This brigade served as bridgehead and advance guard, and formed part of the center of General Nathaniel Greene’s line for the attack, along with Stirling’s brigade. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_battle_of_the_Battle_of_Trenton) Benjamin Lemaster was in this brigade.
          As a side note, I found out that Adam Stephen was chastised by George Washington—and not for the last time: About 2 miles outside the town, the main columns reunited with the advance parties. They were startled by the sudden appearance of 50 armed men, but they were American. Led by Adam Stephen, they had not known about the plan to attack Trenton, and had attacked a Hessian outpost. Washington feared the Hessians would have been put on guard, and shouted at Stephen, "You sir! You Sir, may have ruined all my plans by having them put on their guard." Despite this, Washington ordered the advance continue to Trenton. In the event, [Hessian Colonel Johann] Rall thought the first raid was the attack which [British General James] Grant had warned him about, and that there would be no further action that day. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton)  [Benjamin Lemaster was in this detached advance party, but not sure if he is one of these 50 men spoken of here.] 
 “The Hessian forces lost 22 killed in action, 83 wounded, and 896 captured. Colonel Rall was mortally wounded. In fact, all four Hessian colonels in Trenton were killed in battle. The Americans suffered only two deaths, from bare feet causing frostbite, and five wounded from battle, including a near-fatal wound to future President of the United States Lieutenant James Monroe[Imagine, our Benjamin serving with two future presidents of the United States!]
“Monroe was carried from the field bleeding badly after he was struck in the left shoulder by a musket ball, which severed an artery. Doctor John Riker clamped the artery, preventing him from bleeding to death. 
“Other losses incurred by the Patriots due to exhaustion, exposure, and illness in the following days may have raised their losses above those of the Hessians.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton)
          For the first time in his short career, Benjamin Lemaster had taken part in a successful action, but he had little time to enjoy it. Some Hessians escaped and ran twelve miles up to Princeton, a strong British garrison. 
          Knowing the British troops would not sit still for very long, Washington ordered his exhausted troops back across the Delaware in the worst possible weather conditions, and he took the Hessian prisoners with him.

          I had always imagined my ancestor, Sgt. Benjamin Lemaster, to be on the boat with George Washington, crossing the Delaware on Christmas night. Now I imagine him crossing back over the Delaware the next day. It looks like this boat is going west, doesn't it?

"Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze, 1851, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

 December 30, 1776: A Somber Plea
          The day before most of the enlistments expired, Washington had the troops assembled for parade, then rode among them with a personal plea that they stay for six more weeks. His pleas fell on deaf and frozen ears.
          David McCullough, in his book "1776," said the drums rolled, but no one stood forth. Washington offered them a $10 bonus if they would stay for six more months. The drums rolled again and still no one moved.
Washington turned his horse, dejected, and rode away, but then paused, and turned again to address the men. “My brave fellows, you have done all I asked you to do and more than could be reasonably expected. But this country is at stake, your wives, your homes and everything you hold dear. You have borne yourself up with fatigues and hardships, but we know not how to spare you. If you consent to stay one month longer, you will render that service to the cause of liberty and this country, which you probably could never do under any other circumstances.”
The drums rolled again and the men began to step forward. 
Our Benjamin Lemaster was one of these six-weeks men, and stood as a witness to the spiritual power of his commander-in-chief.

End of Part I.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

What Have I Done in My Life?

I did this exercise on Facebook back in April. I thought, as part of my memoirs, it would fit in well on this blog.
I will take some time to expound on some of my answers, too.

Got Fired 
     When I worked for an Ambler CPA firm, GBL&W (Glickman, Berkowitz, Levensen & Weiner), back in the 1970s, I suffered with mononucleosis and missed about two weeks of work. When I finally came back, I made my way through the pile of accounting statements on my desk that had been put there for me to type up (yes, electric typewriter). I assumed they left me the ones that were not urgent, since I wasn't there to do them. I started at the top of the pile. When I got down to the bottom of my pile, there were some papers with a note to "do this immediately."
     By that time, it had been about three weeks, I'm guessing. I took the note right away to the office manager and she blew up and said it should have been done weeks ago. I reminded her I was out sick, but it didn't seem to matter. (BTW, there was another secretary (Donna Ferraro) who could have done it in my absence.)
    Donna knew what was going to happen, so she (having been fired once herself) told me not to say anything, don't quit in a rage, let them fire me, etc. She said if I quit, I can't collect unemployment. I couldn't believe I would be fired for something that wasn't my fault.
     I did get called into Mr. Glickman's office. Donna gave me a knowing look. "Remember what I said."
     He fired me for "hoarding work." I had never heard of such a thing (I was only 21). Being an overachiever, I was mortified. Thinking that Donna told me not to say anything, I thought I couldn't let this go by without defending myself. The only thing I said was, "Mr. Glickman, when you hired me, you knew what I was capable of. I've learned a lot of new things here and taught myself the adding machine (now called a 10-key on our keyboards), and I barely make any typing mistakes on a proofread (we had to proofread each others' work). I've done exactly what I said I could do and more."
    And thus began my unemployment during the summer of 1976, the Bi-Centennial celebration of our nation's birth. I think I drove down to Philadelphia at least twice or three times a week to see all the sites. I had friends going to Temple University, so I visited them and hung out in the Fairmount Park section of the city, near the Art Museum.
    I even became an itinerant docent at places like the Betsy Ross House and the Liberty Bell, which had just been moved from Independence Hall to outside on the lawn in a little, kiosk-type building. I loved it! I brought my guitar down to the grounds of the Art Museum, along the Schuylkill River, and sang for passers-by, who sometimes sat down to talk with me. Great summer! The timing couldn't have worked out better!
     I even lived with my friend, Joyce Burkholder, for about a month to help her through a hard time. Best summer ever. Thank you, GBL&W.
T Gone on a blind date (Nope. Never.)
Skipped school  (Not in high school, but plenty in college.)
Watched someone give birth  
     I was present for the birth of Zachary Bourne, a few months before Zannah was born. Wendi Bourne was my best friend at the time. She attended Alex's birth in 1983, then asked me to attend Zak's birth in 1985. She was going to come to Zannah's birth, but got sick and couldn't come. I was also ready to be present at her first son's birth in 1981, but Sam was a C-section, so I didn't get to witness that. Only Rik, the papa.
Watched someone die (No, but I hear it's a beautiful experience.) 
Visited Canada 
     Niagara Falls. When we went to the Hill Cumorah Pageant one time, we took a day and drove to the Canadian falls. 
     That's it. No other place outside of the U.S.
T Visited Hawaii. (Nope. Bucket list item for me. I'd love to go to the church's Polynesian Cultural Center.)
T Visited Europe. (Nope. Except for Niagara Falls, I've never been outside the U.S.  But I'd love to go to Paris--and England--and Scotland.)
Visited Las Vegas  
    Yes! I just went there in April--thanks to Bonnie Meyerson, who wanted me to go to California. So we passed through Vegas on our way there and back. On our way there, we took the evening and went down some street (I can't remember the name now--the main street--the strip, I guess) to, what we thought was, the family-friendly area. Meh. Been there. Done that. Don't ever have to go again. It was so smokey in all the buildings, my throat got sore. Bleh!

Visited Washington DC 
     Many, many times. My first trip there, that I recall, was my eighth grade school trip in 1968. We took a bus down and sang "My Girl" the whole way. When were there, I don't believe there was any agenda. We might have gone to the Capitol building. I don't recall. At some point, we were released to go and do and see. My friends and I had so much fun on the lawn of the mall. I remember doing cartwheels on the grass. Then we found this historic merry-go-round. I don't know if it was in operation at the time. I do remember getting on it. I don't remember paying any money, though I know the prices are very high nowadays.When I returned home, I learned that my beloved grandfather had died. What an ending to a day that started out as thrilling and exciting.
     Our LDS temple in the Philadelphia area was the Washington, D.C. temple, though it was located in Kensington, MD. I guess I could count all those temple trips, but I've been in D.C. at other times. I stayed there while my kids were at EFY at SVU. I dropped them off, then stayed in a Marriott in Reston and took the train into DC to go to the NARA (National Archives) to do family history research. That was at the same time Zannah was in the MTC and heading for Texas. After NARA, I took some time to explore the city and all the new monuments. The WWII monument took up a city block (maybe more). I went to the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial and saw all the other war memorials in that area. There wasn't enough time in a day to do the whole city. I believe I went to the temple the next day.
     I love that city. I would love to see it again, but now that I live in Utah, I don't have a reason to go there. Makes me sad. I will just have to have it in my memory.
Visited Asia (Nope. And no desire to.)
Visited Africa  (Nope. And no desire to.)
Visited Florida 
     Let me count the times. That's where my mother, my sister and her family, and my brother and his family live. My grandmother lived there for many years and we visited her back in the 1970s. Every time I leave, I say a silent prayer that I hope I never have to live in Florida. Too humid!
Visited Mexico (Nope. No desire to.)
Visited Australia (Nope. But it would be fun to go there. I hear New Zealand is fun, too.)
Seen the Grand Canyon in person 
    For the first time, in October 2015, I traveled down to Kanab, UT for a writing conference, and it was only 45 minutes from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I had to go, right? It was an adventure! My first time in Arizona, too. I never visited the southern rim, which is more popular, but I can say I visited the Grand Canyon. Gorgeous!

Flown in a Helicopter (Nope)
Been on a cruise 
     Once, in 1990. I loved it. I would like to go on a 7-day cruise. The one I went on was 3-day.
Served on a jury (A mock jury, but that might not count. But I loved it. It was so interesting.)
Been in a movie (Only a friend's home production. I wonder what ever happened to that.)
Visited L.A.  (I visited the state LA, too) I actually visited Hollywood. I wonder if I drove through LA. Come to think of it. Maybe I never visited LA. Hmmm... But I visited Hollywood! Bucket list--check!

Been to New York City 
     I've been there many times. I love that city. Broadway!!!
Cried yourself to sleep
Played in a band 
     So many good memories of my years in the band Syren, with Wendi Bourne, Jay Mitlas, Henry Farkas and Ray Taglialatela (I can't believe I remembered his last name). We had another drummer after Ray quit. Tom, something. I loved every minute of performing in the band, from about 1978-1981. We sang original songs written mostly by Wendi, and some by me, and did lots of covers, like Steely Dan, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Brown, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy Buffet, and more. Good times.

Syren, from left: Henry, Wendi, Jay, Ray, me, 1979

Recently colored with pencils (That's a given)
Sang karaoke
Swam in the ocean  (Jersey Shore and all the way down the east coast to Florida)
Paid for a meal with coins only 
    While living in Boulder, my roommate and I took a midnight walk up Baseline to Chautauqua Park. It was winter. We sat in the gazebo for awhile, freezing our buns off, and hoping wolves or bears wouldn't eat us (I was 19, remember?). I only had one pair of shoes--hiking boots. It's how I rolled in those days.
     On the way back down to our apartment, we were starving and stopped at an I-Hop on Baseline and had some pancakes. We pooled our change. I think we had enough. I don't remember. Maybe not. We were poor and on food stamps at the time, as many other transient Boulderites were. I was probably in between temporary jobs. I don't know why we thought we could go out for breakfast, except we were starving! I guess each of us thought the other might have some money. Ha!
Boulder Flatirons. View from Chautauqua Park.
Made prank phone calls 
    "Is your refrigerator running?"
    "You better go catch it!"
    Ah, the days before caller-ID. I loved sleepovers so we could make prank phone calls.
    "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?"
    "You better let him out!"
    (Confession: at the time, I didn't know who or what Prince Albert in a can was . . . )
Laughed so much you cried
Caught a snowflake on your tongue
Had children (Four)
Had a pet 
   1.  Tippy, a fox terrier. She joined the family before I was born. She didn't live very long, though.
   2.  Winky, Pinky's son. He was our Tobelmann family dog for about 15 years. Part Pekingese, part fox terrier (at least we think the father was the fox terrier down the street.)
   3.  Ginger. Irish Setter. She got brought into the marriage. When she was old and ready to die, she finally calmed down.
   4.  Tosh, my beloved pet dog. Part Labrador and part Golden Retriever, she looked like a black Irish Setter, so lithe, but a tad smaller, and whom I will be so happy to see again in heaven. The best dog ever born.
   5.  Rusty, our Knight family cock-a-poo. He lived to be 13.
   6.  Tobey, my black phantom poodle. He's now almost three years old. He was born on National Dog Day.
Rapelled down a building/tower
     Not a building or tower, but in Boulder, I climbed many a mountain, and scaled down many a cliff--but. I. didn't. use. no. ropes. No rappelling required. I remember going back there and looking at all the places I scoured without ropes. I thought, "If my kids ever did that, I'd kill them!"
     In Boulder Canyon, there are now signs placed strategically warning of the fine for climbing the cliffs and boulders there. Danger, Will Robinson! I can't believe I was that adventurous. I can believe I was that stupid, as a 19-year-old.
This is me in 2010 as I visited my beloved Boulder and Boulder Canyon again.

This is the sign there now. It's right at the bottom of the place my friend and I climbed
that fateful day we got stuck in the canyon overnight. Did I mention I was 19?

T Gone zip lining (I think that bus has left the parking lot)
Been downhill skiing 
     Yes. Many times. Many accidents. Klutz. *shrugs*
Been water skiing/jet skiing 
     Yes. My one and only time water skiing at my cousins' in Florida. It was probably 1970 or so. I fell into the water and the bottom of my two-piece bathing suit ended up around my ankles. *blush* Thankfully it didn't come all the way off!!
Been camping in a tent 
     Too many times to count. It was our MO until Jewely was born. I couldn't hack it after that--getting up in the middle of the night to nurse and change diapers. Not my idea of fun anymore.
     But, until then, I loved camping. Many a time, in Boulder, I climbed mountains and slept in a sleeping bag under the stars at the top of the mountains. No tent. (I mentioned I was 19, right?)
T  Driven a motorcycle (Nope. But I was a frequent passenger in my younger days.)
T  Jumped out of a plane (Does it count if it was already on the ground?)
Gone to a drive-in movie 
     The first time I went with a friend. I was in fourth or fifth grade. We saw "A Hard Day's Night." I think that was the name of that Beatles movie. What was the name of the other Beatles movie?  
     And, of course, while dating . . . 
     My family never went to a drive-in. My family never really went anywhere. Everywhere I went was usually with a friend.
R Done something that could have killed you 
     See above, when I reminisced about Boulder.
T Done something that you will regret for the rest of your life
TRode an elephant
TRode a camel
REaten just cookies or cake or ice cream for dinner  (or all 3)
Been on TV 
     When I was about five, my mother surprised me on my birthday. She had gotten tickets to go to the Bertie the Bunyip show in Philadelphia. Children sat on bleachers during the puppet shows, and there were monitors there. I remember every time I saw myself on the monitor, myself turned away. It was a children's TV show, like Happy the Clown. I was on that show twice. The second time, I believe, was with my friend, Louanne Ross, for her birthday the next year.
     For those who don't know what a bunyip is: 

Lee Dexter with Bertie the Bunyip

There was Bertie, Sir Guy de Guy (the fox), Fussy and Gussy, and I don't remember them all.
Been in the newspaper 
     I've been in the newspaper many times, then wrote for newspapers. The photogs, when I was a reporter, were fond of taking pix of me at my interviews. I remember when Linette (Messina) Kielinski took one of me trying out belly dancing as I interviewed the teacher at Community Ed. Fun times.
     I was in the newspapers during high school for achievements and because I was in all the stage performances. Ah, to be back on stage again. That was my best time in high school. If I could only go back to do that, I would be a happy camper.

I loved singing in District and Regional choruses.
I attended two as a junior, and two as a senior.
Singing! Tra-la!
I performed a medley from "Showboat" to win the talent competition
in the 1971-72 Chester County Junior Miss Pageant.
I made my ball gown and accompanied myself on the piano via reel-to-reel tape.
"Cotton Blossom" "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" "Make Believe"
I did a little waltz to "After the Ball" before the finale of "Old Man River."
Me and Fred Martin as Curly and Laurey in "Oklahoma!" in 1971.
"People Will Say We're in Love"

Bloody Mary in "South Pacific," 1972
I think I was saying a bad word in this picture.
I sang "Bali Hai" and "Happy Talk"
I am not an alto . . .

     The last one is my favorite: "Bloody Mary, portrayed by Miss Tobelmann, was most effective in the difficult performance of walking, talking and singing." LOL!!
     Bless my dad for saving all these clippings for me. He was the family historian before I took over.

Stolen any traffic signs
Been in a car accident (Nothing major)
R  Stayed in a Hospital
     Four kids, and wisdom teeth extraction. In those days (1977), the only way insurance would pay for it was if you stayed in the hospital. It was a catastrophe. I contracted an infection, had a fever for many days, and was sick for about three weeks. I was bruised all the way down to my belly button.
Donated blood  
     I donated, and I ran several Blood Drives for our church in Doylestown when I was Public Affairs Director.
Had to pay a fine in the past 12 months (Not in the last 12 months)
Eaten snails (No desire to)
Gotten a piercing (only ears)
Gotten a tattoo
Driven a standard car
?  Ever owned your dream car (I have no idea what my "dream" car is, but when I got my Pontiac Sunfire in 1999, I had minivan envy until we finally got another minivan in 2002. I feel safe in them.)
Been Married 
Been divorced 
Fell in love 
Paid for a stranger's meal (I'm ashamed to admit this. If I did, I don't remember.)
Driven over 100mph
Worked in a bar  (Does playing in a band in a bar count? I got paid . . .)
Been scuba diving
Found a dead body
Lived on your own
Rode in the back of a police car
Written or published a book/story/poem/song 
     I was published every week when I was a reporter. I've never had any of my short stories, poems, songs, or books published, though I have won awards. I have written them, just not published them.

All, in all, I believe I've had a Wonderful Life!

I can see there are still lots of places to go and things to do. How about you? Can you check off all of these? Let me see your list.