My father, Daniel Richard Posten, would be 100 years old by now. I considered writing about him for this week’s blog post but couldn’t seem to bring myself to do so. Why? I couldn’t identify a specific reason at first. Then, I realized that Dad died 20 years ago this month. An anniversary of sorts. The words don’t flow easily. So, I begin with some basic genealogical information about Dad and the men who lived before him.
The next generation of Dad’s male ancestors are:
- Thomas Posten (1782, New Jersey – 1854, Pennsylvania)
- John Mills (abt 1811, New York – 1891, ? New York)
- David Fulkersin (ca 1775, New Jersey – abt 1819, ? New Jersey )
- Adam Shotwell (1778, New Jersey – 1830, New Jersey)
- Nathaniel Richards (1759, New Jersey – 1831, New Jersey)
- Thomas Ostrander (1745, New York – 1816, New York)
- Anthony Desire LaCoe/ LeCoq (1780, France – 1883, Pennsylvania)
- Ira Ash (1794, Connecticut – 1873, Pennsylvania)
Dad’s family roots began squarely within three of the original 13 colonies – Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. These three colonies, plus Delaware, are known as the “Middle Colonies”. In general, once settled in Pennsylvania, men remained in the same locales with their families for decades. Descendants from all lines still reside in Pennsylvania. Countries of origin haven’t yet been positively identified for our Posten, Richards, Fulkerson, Mills, and Shotwell lines, although we (myself, my brother, our cousins) suspect that most of the original immigrants came from England. Original immigrants are known for the LaCoe (France) and Ostrander (Holland and Germany) ancestors.
I cannot claim any famous or notorious persons as a direct ancestor. The men primarily worked as farmers to support their families. By the late 1800s, some moved to urban areas. In a documentary, they would probably be described as “average” Americans with some participating more actively in their communities and churches than others. Nothing extraordinary except a desire to provide for their families and leave a strong legacy for their children.
My dad was such a man. Raised near small towns in northeastern Pennsylvania, Daniel, one of six children, completed high school in 1935. He joined the United States Army Air Corp and learned to repair airplanes. His military service extended through the end of World War II. After leaving the Army, Dan worked as an airplane mechanic with American Airlines. Apparently, he inherited a gardening gene from his mother; his vegetable garden provided a steady supply of food for us. Carpentry, a hobby for Dan, was listed as the occupation for some of Dad’s ancestors. My siblings and I each inherited, and cherish, one or more pieces of furniture made by Dad. He and mom insisted that we complete high school while encouraging us to obtain both formal and informal education after that. Dan retired in 1981 and bought a small acreage in Oklahoma. The backyard family garden enlarged to about one acre. Later, he and mom moved to Arkansas to be near their youngest daughter (me). About a year before his death, Dan and Eunice moved back to Oklahoma, where Dan died in 1998 and Eunice died in 2007.My siblings and I inherited more than just DNA. We inherited a sense of pride in a “job well done”, a work ethic, a desire to make life better for our children and faith in God. We were taught that citizenship includes both rights and responsibilities. We recognize the value of education whether that education is academic or technical. We volunteer in our local communities. Don’t let me mislead you with this almost idyllic description. Our family was, and is, not perfect. But, we do take pride in our family history.
Our family history (most of it, anyway) is as old as the history of the United States. Our family is not unique in this respect. Ordinary people doing ordinary things yet creating something extraordinary – a sense of family in America.
This entire post is a reflection on fathers, including my own. My genealogy work has given me a more profound sense of how deep our American roots are. And, yes, I did write about my Dad, even though that was not my initial intent.
© Susan Posten Ellerbee and “Posting Family Roots” blog, 2017-2018. Excerpts and links may be used when full and clear credit, including appropriate and specific direction to the original content, is given to Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots. Unauthorized use or duplication of material without the written permission of the owner is prohibited.