Charles FINNAMORE, Loyalist Soldier

Imagine that your father immigrated to the American Colonies from Ireland in the mid 1700s. You're born there; raised in a rough, pioneer-like environment.

At about the time you are becoming a young man, America declares independence, and war breaks out. Your father sides with the British, and you follow suit, joining the Loyalists. You're just a rank and file private--no control over your circumstances, shipped around here and there, always getting the worst of it. You face all the horrors of war, the confusion, destruction, and death. You watch some of your friends and family die, and know that you've had to kill other people's friends and family.

After two to five years of that, your side loses the war. Your family's property is confiscated. You're put on a boat with your fellow soldiers and shipped up the St. John River to Canada with nothing but the clothes on your back, and perhaps a knife and a gun.

You disembark near Woodstock, in a mostly untamed wilderness. There you are assigned plenty of property in exchange for your loyal service. But it's little more than an endless forest. You must carve a place for yourself, practically with your bare hands, in most forbidding conditions.

Little exists in the way of local government, practically speaking. No churches, no schools, no stores.

You find yourself a wife, and raise children, teaching them what you have learned of the full-time task of survival.

Is it any wonder that, 200 years later, your descendants find few written records of your life and death?

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13 May 2002
David J. Finnamore
Orlando, FL, USA
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