What I'm Seeing Now

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Was He A Little Drummer Boy?

We moved to the Manassas, Virginia area in 1988.  We currently reside in Bristow, a couple of miles to the southwest.  This is an area rich in history. 

My family has been in the Washington DC area a long time.  One line arrived in 1737, others thereafter over the centuries.

One such line was the family of Thomas Wright of Bandon, County Cork, Ireland.  Born in 1805, Thomas married Catherine Mason Baldwin, born in 1807.  They were married in 1828 and had 7 children, all born in Ireland.  A family record states, "in the process of time [they] came to the United States of America and made their permanent home in the City and State of New York."

Thomas and Catherine are pictured to the right, along with their youngest daughter, Sarah Baldwin Wright, born 4 Dec 1846, who is sitting to Thomas's right.

They are my great, great grandparents, on the Harding side of my family.

I have felt a special connection to this family since moving here.

That connection involves this hill.

This is the hill at the intersection of VA Route 29 and Sudley Road, just across from the Stone House.

In my travels, I drive by this hill 4 or 5 times a week.

Since moving here I have always had a special feeling, if not a connection, with it.  I never understood why.

When my mother died decades ago, one thing I wanted was the family history records.  And I have involved myself in these records ever since.  I was not as interested in the "stuff" as I was in the family heirlooms and records.

A very interesting story I ran across in these records involved Catherine Mason Baldwin Wright.

It seems that the Wright's oldest son, George Alexander (13 Sept 1830) was attracted to, and induced by, the very active New York City recruiting office of the United States Army at the start of the Civil War. 

He enlisted.  And he did so, says the record, without Catherine's consent.  "She had not consented to his leaving home, and when she learned that George had joined the U.S. Army and had gone to the front to fight for the Union, she naturally grieved for her children."

The baby of the family, William, born 1848, "was her youngest child and greatly endeared to [Catherine]."  One day he disappeared. 

Irresistibly attracted by the romantic ideas of his brother George's joining the army, she was afraid William had also run off and joined the army.

The family's oldest daughter, Isabella Baldwin Wright (17 Jan 1832), preserves a significant event in family history.  She wrote that Catherine had a dream.

"She saw in her dream an open field, in the midst of which she recognized her absent boy, when suddenly as she looked a great ball of fire appeared moving toward her son rapidly, taking his head clean off from his body, and she awoke greatly terrified and affrighted."  [sic]

CAN YOU IMAGINE SUCH A DREAM?  CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW THIS MOTHER FELT?  THE DREAM GOES ON.

"At her urgent request an inquiry was set on foot as to the fate of William Wright, and the answer came back that William was killed at the battle of Manassas by decapitation by a cannon ball on the day she saw him in her dream."

I wonder - could her dream have been at the same moment as William's death?

Was William killed on the hill I feel the connection to?  Certainly I had those feelings prior to coming across this record.

I bet you already know what I think.

The record does not state the date of this dream.  So I don't know at which battle of Manassas this happened.  If it was the first, William would have been 13; the second, and William would have been 14.

WAS HE A LITTLE DRUMMER BOY?

From bottom to top that hill is about 1 mile long.  At the top is where Colonel Thomas J. Jackson made his famous stand that earned him the nickname "Stonewall."  This twenty-feet-tall statue marks the spot. 

William Wright "was buried on the battlefield after the battle of Bull Run, or Manassas."  Those graves were temporary, and very shallow.  Rains forced the removal of those bodies to more permanent locations, which marked and unmarked cemeteries now dot the area in and around the battlefield today.

I probably drive by my great, great uncle William often, and don't even realize it.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 23 commentsJay Markanich • June 27 2011 07:11AM

Comments

Good morning Jay.  What a truly interesting story. I believe in intuitions.  I'm sure your "feelings" are correct.

Posted by Cindy Edwards, CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677 (RE/MAX Checkmate) about 7 years ago

WOW! what a family history I know very little about my fathers side of the family thanks for the post I think I know what I'm going to do now

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 7 years ago

Great tale of family history entwined with American history. It sounds like William is letting you know he is close.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 7 years ago

Wow, now that is a cool story.  Talk about ties to the past.  Thx for sharing.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 7 years ago

Cindy - intuition or someone sitting beside me speaking very, very gently. 

Go for it James.  There is probably a genealogy center at the local Mormon Church.  All free.

I think so too Jim.  Maybe for a while now!

Thanks Debbie.  When I ran across that story all the weird feelings began to make sense.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, Quite the interesting bit of history you have there!  Wow on the dream part.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) about 7 years ago

Call it intuition, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe this can happen - the dream mirroring the reality, your sense of a family connection. I think it's wonderful that modern technology and some great archives can help us fill in the blanks. We carry a piece of each of our ancestors inside. Great story.

Posted by Anne M. Costello (Weidel Realtors) about 7 years ago

I wish I could communicate the chill up my spine when I first ran across that story Bliz.

Anne - I think there is a real connection there.  And yes, I think it is commicated by the Spirit.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. Your area, like mine, has a lot of history surrounding the, as some like to put it,  "The Battle of Northern Aggression" - LOL

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 7 years ago

That's the popular phrase for it Michael!  The term Civil War is not appropriate - perhaps War Between the States or War To Preserve the Republic, I don't know.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Listening to our little voices often invokes curiousity ...what a great slice of family history !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 7 years ago

Thanks S&D!  It is always fun.  We have a lot of colorful, and good, history in the family.  We've been here a long time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, what a fascinating story.  My wife and I love history, and have seen many historical sites in Virginia over the years.  I remember stopping by a battlefield site near Massanuten and reading a series of letters from a man to a woman leading up to his first battle.  You have managed to make history "real" for me today.

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 7 years ago

It's amazing what the bond between a mother and child will produce.......including the dreams.

You should spend sometime up on the hill. You never know what you yourself may just hear.

Enjoy the day

Posted by Don MacLean, Realtor - Homes For Sale - Franklin MA (Simolari & MacLean REMAX EXECUTIVE REALTY) about 7 years ago

Chris - thank you.  You might be speaking of the battle of Fisher's Hill, nearby.  I don't know.  That area was known as the "bread basket" of the Confederacy, so the Union forces were there abouts a lot.

Don - I have, from top to bottom.  Just feelings up to this point!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

What an amazing story. You are so fortunate to have this wonderful piece of history. So far, I have not found anything written by any members of my family from many moons ago... I shall keep searching!

Posted by Lydie Ouellet Dickinson, Realtor (Realty Executives Tri County, Bellingham MA) about 7 years ago

Thanks Lydie.  This was written by a member of the Baldwin family, probably mid 20th century judging from the last dates in the record.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay ~  I lived in a house on Sudley Road -- going straight from Manassas, the Stone House would be on the right.  It was built pre-Civil War and after pouring many, many dollars into it, I sold it to a retired military couple who turned it into a B & B.  This is an amazing story -- gives me goosebumps!

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) about 7 years ago

Tish - then you lived near my great, great uncle William too!  I think I know the house you are speaking about.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Very well written Jay.  I got chills reading it at the dream/nightmare part.

So sad for Catherine!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

Thanks very much Jeremy!  Imagine my chills the first time I read it and realized it was the hill that had been bothering me for so long!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

You're welcome.  I bet you had chills!  Wow!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

There are battlefield cemeteries here and there Jeremy, but many are unmarked and I don't know if there is a record of where they are!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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