Heart of a Southern Woman

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Present at the Birth of the Our Country, William Langhorne, 1721-1797, –52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #25

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St. Johns Church, Richmond, Virginia

St. John’s Church, Richmond, Virginia

Newspaper archives make genealogy come alive! They make history come alive! That’s one reason I love my subscription to genealogybank.com. The articles I have found there have made my ancestors real for me! Normally searching the archives for specific relatives, the other day, on a whim, I opened genealogybank .com and entered the family name I was currently researching, Langhorne, then entered “oldest” to search for the oldest articles they had on the family. Bingo! Several small things from 1771–came up, but then I found this– the first real newspaper article. It came from the Virginia Gazette in Williamsburg Virginia, Issue 1234, pages 2 and 3, Saturday, April 1, 1775.  It is an article about the gathering  of the Delegates of the counties in the Colony of Virginia at a Convention held at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia,from March 20, 1775-March 27, 1775. During this meeting the Delegates chose their representatives to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. More about the Second Continental Congress itself in a minute, but let’s look at this local, Virginia meeting first.

Second Continental Congress

A depiction of the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia on May 10, 1775 from Wikimedia commons.

Look who was present just among the  Virginians — George Washington (my fourth cousin), Thomas Jefferson, Peyton Randolph, John Tabb, Robert Lawson, John Nicholas, Bartholomew Dandridge, Thomas Walker, Richard Bland, James Mercer, Carters, John Harvie, Thomas Mann Randolph, Francis Lightfoot Lee, Henry Taylor, Archibald Cary (my first cousin), James Scott, Henry Lee, Richard Lee, Thomas Nelson, Patrick Henry, and many more.  Most important to me in this moment, is that my  fifth  great-grandfather, William Langhorne was present at this immensely important meeting with all these august leaders of our colony of Virginia, where they charted a course for our future! He had actually been present at all of the Conventions in Virginia so far.  This one however, is when Patrick Henry gave his famous speech saying, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” The delegates  not only elected Virginia’s representatives to the Second Continental Congress at this meeting, but they laid out a plan for Virginia to fight the Revolutionary War, how it would raise the armies, organize them, arm them, and how the citizens would help with everything from ammunition, to conserving wool to make clothes for the soldiers! The detailed plans they made are clearly laid out in the newspaper article below. Chosen to represent the Colony of Virginia at the Second Continental Congress were the Hon. Peyton Randolph, Esq. George Washington, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Edmund Pendleton, Benjamin Harrison, and Richard Bland, Esquires. (this can be seen in the write-up from Saturday, March 25, 1775)

 

Screenshot 2014-06-23 13.23.32 Screenshot 2014-06-23 13.24.18  Screenshot 2014-06-23 13.25.00

 

This explanation from Wikipedia about the Second continental congress explains it much better than my paraphrasing could do:  The Second Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that started meeting in the summer of 1775, in PhiladelphiaPennsylvania, soon after warfare in the American Revolutionary War had begun. It succeeded the First Continental Congress, which met between September 5, 1774 and October 25, 1774, also in Philadelphia. The second Congress managed the colonial war effort, and moved incrementally towards independence, adopting the United States Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. By raising armies, directing strategy, appointing diplomats, and making formal treaties, the Congress acted as the de facto national government of what became the United States.

When the Second Continental Congress came together on May 10, 1775 it was, in effect, a reconvening of the First Continental Congress. Many of the same 56 delegates who attended the first meeting were in attendance at the second, and the delegates appointed the same president (Peyton Randolph) and secretary (Charles Thomson).[2]Notable new arrivals included Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania and John Hancock of Massachusetts. Within two weeks, Randolph was summoned back to Virginia to preside over the House of Burgesses; he was replaced in the Virginia delegation by Thomas Jefferson, who arrived several weeks later. Henry Middleton was elected as president to replace Randolph, but he declined. Hancock was elected president on May 24″

 This is not a story about the Revolutionary War, but about getting ready for war, getting ready for independence and the amazing feeling we can get when we realize this was not just statesmen and their rhetoric, but our grandfathers, our cousins. You might want to read a former post Genealogical Find of the Day where I wrote about this same William Langhorne and his service as the Aide-De- Camp to Marquis De Lafayette. He was a busy man in those years, yet he married Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook and had  nine children to carry on his legacy, a legacy of service and leadership. I may never experience a July 4th celebration again without thinking of our grandfather William Langhorne, and all the men who were brave enough to declare our independence, craft our Constitution, and fight for our independence! Thanks to all of them! 

 

Maj. William Langhorne

Birth 1721 in Gambell, Warwick, Virginia, United States
Death Sep 1797 in Gambell, Warwick, Virginia, United States

Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

4 thoughts on “Present at the Birth of the Our Country, William Langhorne, 1721-1797, –52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #25

  1. Helen, what a wonderful find! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  2. Thank you Cathy! Coming from another genealogy blogger, your comments are greatly appreciated! Helen

    Like

  3. Pingback: Peyton Randolph, — Marked for Death by the British for His Role in the Continental Congress–52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, #26 | Heart of a Southern Woman

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