My dad would have been 100 today. That seems striking to me but marking a parent’s 100th birthday will happen to many people. I just come to it a bit earlier than most of my generation because Dad was 35 years older than me.
I was going to mark his birthday by getting a headstone. He doesn’t have one. And his ashes are lost. Unbelievable. His “companion” was this woman, Donna. I remember when she was just the gal who worked the soda fountain at Mesa Drug. After Dad died she had his ashes. I’ve assumed his ashes were scattered on her cemetery plot after she died. I checked just to be sure. It turns out Dad’s and Donna’s caretakers don’t have any idea what happened to his ashes. So, rule out a headstone.
Sons of the American Revolution
My next thought is to do a Memorial Application for Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). That’s doable. I didn’t think it would be since I’m not a blood relative, but I checked. They tell me it shouldn’t be a problem. It will take much longer than a headstone, but that’s fine. It is what it is.
I think Dad would like this. He would never have joined himself. I don’t think it would have occurred to him. He did Shriners, Freemasons, Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse, and church. Even so, I recognized instantly that he would be gratified by his kind of memorial. His father and grandfather were both named George Washington Place. Growing up, Grandma Place told me, “It’s [your dad’s] heritage; remember that.” He felt the same.
When I was a kid the lamp beside my bed was Washington praying before the Battle of Valley Forge. It had belonged to Grandpa Place then to Dad. I wish I still had the lamp. It was cast bronze, which means it was hollow. It got crushed in one of my moves. I found this picture of it on eBay.
The first step to starting the application process was to check whether Dad’s Revolutionary War ancestor is already in the SAR or DAR databases. Thomas Place (1732-1814), of Hinesburg, Vermont. Nope, not there. This is going to take awhile because it will mean doing the whole line from scratch.
And, while I think I have the right line, I’m not 100% certain.
When I was first getting started in genealogy, Dad was surprised. He said his [some female relative] already did “all that” when she joined [some lineage society]. I thought I remembered the relative was his cousin Laura when she joined the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). But I can’t find that he had a cousin Karen and there is no DAR record of this line. As I look now, maybe it was his aunt Julia (Place) Perrin in Bay City, Michigan or his cousin Julia (Place) Shephard in San Diego, California when she joined Mayflower Descendants.
Dad told me he was a descended from Lt. Gen. Solomon Place (War of 1812), who was supposedly made a Freemason by George Washington himself. That can’t be quite right. Dad seems to have been descended from the General’s cousin. And, if the General was inducted into the Masons by George Washington then Washington must have been at the very end of his life and Solomon Place must have been still relatively young. Washington died in 1799 when Solomon Place was only 29, and hadn’t yet even started his military career. My impression hearing the story was that Dad was struggling to remember and knew he might not be getting it exactly right.
So, I’ve begun. I have these preliminary pieces. A year from now I hope to have a completed SAR Memorial Membership for my dad.