MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Remembering and honoring on Memorial Day…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

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Civil War Memorial at Fairmount cemetery – Newark, NJ

Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, where, on my father’s side of the family my great great grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried. Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862. He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.

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My great great grandfather.

On my mother’s side a somewhat tragic story. My great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds. He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. He was sent home to Maine to die. He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine. Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.

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Indeed a tragic story and once my daughter Deb and I learned about it felt compelled to find their graves and honor them. Their small plot is off the beaten track in Rome, Maine we found it and traipsed through the brush to get to it. Worth the trip indeed.  This was very emotional in that Joseph (41), Martha Jane (36), Margaret (18), Adison (14) and Atwood (12) have become very real to us and we feel very close to them.  We weren’t able to bring them flowers but left 5 pennies to indicate we were there and remembering them.

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My great grandfather.
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Two years ago in 2019 I was contacted by a gentleman from Maine who had been visiting this grave site for many years. This is what his email said:

I found your web site while looking for more information On your great grandfather Joseph P. littlefield . I have a summer place on the camp road that goes beside the family cemetery I visit the family cemetery every year before Memorial Day to pay my respects to him and his family and to honor his service . I often wondered what was his life like. I’m the featured speaker at the Belgrade Me. town Memorial Service next week and I plan to include him I’m my remarks honoring his service to his country.Best Regards ,

It meant a lot to me to know that my great grandfather Joseph P Littlefield was being honored and remembered 155 years after he died.

Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.


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Challenge Your Camera: #4 Churches…

The Old First Presbyterian Church, the oldest church in Newark, NJ was established in 1666 by the founders of Newark, NJ. My 10 times great-grandfather Robert Treat from Bradford, CT was one of the founders of Newark and member of this church. It wasn’t until 2018 when I joined a walking tour of Newark that I found out the history of the church and my connection to it.

1644 Org. Brandford, Connecticut – 1666 Robert Treat Leads Settlement (my 10th times gr grandfather) – 1668 First Meeting House – 1745 Church Temporal Rule Ends – 1748 Princeton’s 1st Commencement – 1753 Charter From King George II – 1775 British loot manse – 1791 Present (3rd) Church dedicated – 1952 Chapel & (4th) Parish House.

Among the noted pastors of the Church was its 7th pastor from 1736-1755, the Rev Aaron Burr Sr father of Aaron Burr Jr, the 3rd Vice President.

One of these days I hope to get back there and take a tour of the inside of the church.

If you’re interested in the history of the Old First Presbyterian Church of Newark, NJ CLICK HERE

https://nowathome.wordpress.com/2021/01/26/challenge-your-camera-4-churches/