I want to talk about the many brave men and their families who make up the Veteran heritage that I have discovered during my genealogical inquiries.
My grandfather, George Ronald Slighte, was the first soldier in his family. Coming from a Canadian family full of sailors, his family moved from Port Hope, Ontario to Oakland, California while he was still a babe in arms. When Japan bombed Pearl Harbor, he only took a few days to get his effects in order with his bride, Margaret, before heading out under General MaCarthur in the Pacific theater.
George’s bride’s father, Orville Foley, had served in the Navy in the previous World War. My great-grandfather Foley was a known in our family as a bit of a scoundrel. His death records confirmed the family rumors weren’t entirely based on fiction. The extracurricular activities that Sailor Foley had engaged in during the war had left him with syphilis. He died of complications of that disease many decades later in California. My great-grandmother Hazel who had married Orville as a teen and given her heart to the boy become sailer, had her heart broken when her young husband came back with the disease and divorced him. My grandmother never knew her father and was raised by her mother and her family, the Brees.
My great-grandmother’s family the Brees were members of a different type of Army. Their service was in the Salvation Army. After having converted to the religion Yorkshire, England,, they helped to spread the assistance organization far and wide across the United States of America in the dawn of the 1900s. Lt. Col. George Bree and his bride Clara would eventually retire in the Los Angeles area. The Brees assisted men and women who were in trouble understand that they were still children of God who deserved another chance.
My Mother’s Side
As I began to research my mother’s side of the family years ago, I was disappointed that I hadn’t been more curious when I was younger. Both my maternal grandparents passed away before my interest in genealogy was sparked.
My mother’s father’s family came originally from the Gros-Réderching, Moselle area of Lorraine, France in the border region currently between Germany and France. Giggles were not restrained when I was looking it up and found that the area my family comes from is the intercommunality CC du Pays de Bitche.
When I looked back through my Rebman grandfathers, the first clue of active service to the United States was found in the 1930 census. George Warren Rebman, my mother’s father’s father, recorded that he was a Veteran of the Spanish-American war. George Rebman also registered for the draft in 1918 at the age of 42.
I have to admit I remembered very little about the Spanish-American War from history class. When I looked it up, I was surprised that my great-grandfather had fought in this 3 month war in 1898. He was 22 at the time and that was to begin a bit of an exploratory time of his life. He was briefly married and divorce in Cripple Creek, Colorado before Great-Grandpa Rebman was to land in Washington state and settle down with Great-Grandma Essie Maude. My grandfather, John Edward Rebman, was the third of their six children.
George Warren Rebman’s father was Andrew Rebman. My second great-grandfather Andrew Rebman was a Private in the Civil War who served in the 120th Illinois Infantry. Andrew was the first of my Rebman line born in America. He enlisted six weeks before his thirtieth birthday.
On my mother’s mother’s side, my FIFTH great-grandfather, Alexander Huston was born in Pennsylvania in 1745. He served Pennsylvania and the colonies in the Revolutionary War that was to see the birth of our great nation. He died in February 1814 in Montgomery Ohio at the age of 69 and was buried there with his family.
I learned a lot while researching this. Some of the research had been performed in the last few years by myself and others, but other pieces I actually was forced to seek out and verify today. This was a fun project, I recommend that everyone go through their family tree and find the heroes this Remembrance Day weekend.
For those who are interested in such a project, I personally used both Ancestry as well as Family Search in my research. My investigation was assisted greatly by the US 1910 and 1930 censuses both of which requested information about military service.
Good luck and I hope many happy treasures are uncovered for your family!