Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

The English in Me?
Louise M. Gouge


What a neat coincidence that my turn to blog this month falls on July 4, Independence Day! Why is that a coincidence? Well, I’ve been blogging here about the various branches of my ancestry, and for some time, I had planned to discuss my English heritage this month. As we all know, two hundred and thirty-seven years ago, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the delegates to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Thirteen American colonies were severing forever their governmental ties with England and declaring themselves the United States of America.


Unlike some of my family branches, my English lineage is well-documented. In 1665, an Englishman named John Jacob came to the Maryland colony as an indentured servant. We have the family tree that descends from John to my generation, including the approximate date (mid-1700s) when the name was changed to Jacobs (my maiden name) during the lifetime of one Jeremiah Jacobs. Some time ago, I found Jeremiah’s Revolutionary War record. Yea! I have bona fide Patriot in my ancestry! Long before July 4, 1776, Jeremiah was already in the militia, and he quickly joined the war effort on the American side.

Talk about internal conflict! I wouldn’t want to be anything other than an American citizen, born and bred, but I also love my English heritage. I loved my one visit to England, loved touring a real English castle, and wouldn’t mind being a main “upstairs” character in Downton Abbey. But I also love my freedom as an American, I love that this still is the land of opportunity, and I am beyond proud of my American heritage. My gratitude to John Jacob knows no bounds. He sold himself into indentured service so he could come to the colonies and establish a new life for himself and his posterity. My pride in Jeremiah for fighting to sever our bondage to England is over the top.

As a college English instructor, I have my students read the Declaration of Independence every semester because we must never forget how we got our freedoms and the right to become whatever we dream and work to become. Just listen to these remarkable words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (Read the entire text here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html)

In 1776, those were truly revolutionary words, revolutionary ideas. The Old World (Europe) was ruled by kings who considered themselves endowed by their Creator with a divine right to rule. Today the United States of America is a beacon of freedom to the entire world, and we must stand with all the Johns and Jeremiahs and Molly Pitchers who fought to make this possible so we can perpetuate our freedoms for future generations. May God bless America! The land of the free and the home of the brave!

The third part of my coincidence today is that I have a new book release. A Lady of Quality is set in Regency England. Yes, my main characters are wealthy aristocrats and nobles, but don't think these people didn't have their own struggles. Catherine Du Coeur is determined to uncover the truth about wealthy Lord Winston, who falsely accused her father of treason. But the closer she gets to the handsome young nobleman, the more she wonders how such a benevolent gentleman could have conspired to commit such evil. Baron Lord Winston has had little success in finding an accomplished aristocratic bride who is suited to his diplomatic aspirations. But when he meets Miss Du Coeur, a countess’s lowly companion, he finds that family connections are far less important than matters of the heart.



Do you have a special Fourth of July story? Leave a comment and be entered in my special drawing for a copy of A Lady of Quality. Entrants must be residents of the United States or Canada and must follow the rules and laws of their own state or province regarding giveaways such as this.

28 comments:

  1. Would love to read a story about a holiday, July 4th. I don't think I've ever read one on this holiday. It will be great to win this book. sharon, ca

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  2. When I was young we always had a big Fourth of July get together at my grandparent's house. My grandpa liked all the family getting together. Thank you for the chance to win.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  3. Thanks for your comments, Sharon and Angela. I know many people will be busy today, but I hope we get many entrants for this book. If you don't win, you can also enter on my website/blog, http://blog.Louisemgouge.com.

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  4. If my books are set in the summertime, be assured I will have a July 4th celebration in them. It's one of my favorite holidays, but now hubby and I sit at home and watch the festivities from all over the country on TV. The weather is too hot and we don't like the huge crowds, trying to find a place to park and the horrible traffic coming home.

    My favorite memory from childhood celebrations is having my mother's family getting together at Bonnie's house and having her absolutely fabulous chocolate cake that was about ten layers tall. :) (Really only four) Also the sparklers were my favorite as my cousins and I waved them in the air.

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    1. Martha, I hear you about staying at home and watching the festivities on television. With grandchildren living with us, though, we have no choice but to go out to watch fireworks in person. It's worth it, though, because it will make great memories for them.

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  5. When I was a child, the 4th was when my mother's family had a big reunion, and we would drive to the huge property that one family member owned and spend the day and night there. It was a great time of picnicking, wandering through the woods and playing with all the second cousins I only saw once a year, then doing sparklers at night. Now, with my own children, we still have to do sparklers every year! But we just stay home and watch the town's fireworks from our own yard. :)

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  6. Bethany, I love the sparklers. The big booming fireworks, not so much. LOL! What nice memories you have.

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  7. Louise, the 4th of July has always been a special day for me--it's the day I accepted Jesus into my heart! So it really is Independence Day for me!

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    1. Wow, Patty, what a great memory! Indeed, a double Independence Day for you!

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  8. We've never had any big 4th of July celebrations. Usually just a small cook-out with family. With the 4th falling on a Thursday this year, and me having to work tomorrow I'm not doing much. I did enjoy sleeping in this morning!

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Sounds like a great celebration to me, Patty! We always to the family thing, too.

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  9. Louise, my special 4th of July stories are at the age of 9, the dear Lord stepped into my life and I am so blessed and thankful to have Jesus and be an American. I don't ever want to take either one for granted. Beautiful blog!!! Thank you for sharing!!! Thank you for the opportunity to participate in a giveaway.
    Barbara Thompson
    barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Barbara. Happy Salvation Day!

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  10. Fantastic Fourth of July blog, Louise. How neat that you can trace your family tree back to before the Revolutionary War. Your ancestors John and Jeremiah were true patriots. We all owe them and all the men and women who have fought, and still fight for our freedoms, a great debt of gratitude. BTW, Lady of Quality is WONDERFUL! Another Regency triumph for you, lady!

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    1. Thanks, Ramona. So glad you enjoyed it!

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  11. Louise, I think it is amazing and wonderful that you can trace your lineage back to an American patriot. Very cool, especially on this holiday! Thank you for your interesting post.

    I don't really have a 4th of July story that would be interesting to tell, but I have many fond memories--probably as many memories of this holiday as I do of Christmas. The Fourth of July was a very big celebration for me and my family. I love the memories of picnics by the lake, fireworks, travel, parades and the carnival that came to town every year. Good times!
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Thanks, Kay. Welcome to CFHS! How neat that your family taught you to celebrate our independence. What a great heritage!

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  12. No special 4th of July memories... I feel like I'm getting old because I get grouchy when people set off fireworks on my street until midnight because it wakes the kids up! ;) Since we have littles, we do special things during the day. :) Please enter me in the giveaway. tamara_wilkins@ymail.com

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    1. Thanks, Tamara. I'm not all that crazy about the noise either, so I understand.

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  13. My 4th of July memories don't go back very far. I was raised as an MK, with British parents, and we didn't celebrate July 4. We went to a boarding school with Americans but July 4 was on summer break.
    My most recent fun memory was watching the San Diego Bay fireworks from one of my coworkers homes overlooking the bay. It was fabulous! Could also see fireworks from all over the area.
    I'd love to win your book. As you can see, I also have a British heritage and became an American citizen in 1986 while in Florida.
    sharon, CA

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    1. Sharon, thanks so much for sharing you neat history. In 1992, I was in England on July 4, and my friends and I joked about the lack of celebration. LOL! Welcome to the U. S.

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  14. I always enjoyed going to the parade and grilling and spending time with my family. shopgirl152nykiki(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Veronica, I love a parade, too. This year I'll have to watch one on television.

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  15. We enjoyed fireworks set to music at Fort Ontario in Oswego, NY when our children were younger. It was a great day of festivities at a historic site including re-enactments, crafts and more music.
    Worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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  16. I just finished watching the PBS Capitol Fourth, so I'm all filled up with patriotic fervor.

    Happy Fourth, everyone. Thank you for stopping by. I'll draw a name in the morning.

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  17. Happy 4th Louise! My mother's side of the family is HUGE and all my aunts, uncles, cousins, cousin's kids (40ish of us!) get together at my aunt's house or one of my cousin's houses in the country where it's legal to pop firecrackers and have our own big fireworks displays while we stuff ourselves silly on great food that we top off with homemade ice cream--every year! (Oh, and I watched a special this morn on a local Christian station about Thomas Jefferson and how the Declaration of Independence was truly full of God and how much we've strayed from the lives of men when it was first written and how desperately we-the world-need to put God back in it!) I've been wanting A Lady of Quality since the scavenger hunt in May. Thanks for the oppurtunity to win a copy!
    kam110476 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  18. HI, Kam. Thanks for your great story here. What a great family heritage you have!

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  19. Great post, Louise! My husband is also descended from an Englishman named John Jacob, but I am pretty sure he's not the same as your John Jacob. This one lived 1630-1693 and immigrated to Massachusetts with his family as a 3-year-old in 1633. But I do have to wonder if we could go back a generation or two...maybe their fathers were cousins or something.

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