United States of America Founding Father and Educator Benjamin Rush in a letter written to John Adams concerning a visit to his family homestead. This is an excerpt containing what Rush said about his visit to the family cemetery, while there. I know the feeling behind his sentiment from doing genealogy, our family history thinking of the things my ancestors faced and overcame, and visiting the graves of my ancestors. It gives you a feeling of inferiority and awe for their stamina, strength, vision, perseverance and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father.
In walking over the grave-yard, I met with a head-stone, with the following inscription:
“In memory of James Rush, who departed this life March 16th, 1727, aged forty-eight years.
“I’ve tried the strength of death, at length.
And here lie under ground,
But I shall rise, above the skies,
When the last trump shall sound.”
This James Rush was my grandfather. My son, the physician, was named after him. I have often heard him spoken of as a strong-minded man, and uncommonly ingenious in his business, which was that of gunsmith. The farm still bears marks of his boring machine. My father inherited both his trade and his farm. While standing near his grave, and recollecting how much of my kindred dust surrounded it, my thoughts became confused, and it was some time before I could arrange them. Had any or all of my ancestors appeared before me, in their homespun or working dresses, (for they were all farmers or mechanics), they would probably have looked at one another, and said, ‘What means that gentleman by thus intruding upon us?’
“Dear and venerable friends! be not offended at me. I inherit your blood, and I bear the name of most of you. I come here to claim affinity with you, and to do homage to your Christian and moral virtues. It is true, my dress indicates that I move in a different sphere from that in which you have passed through life; but I have acquired and received nothing from the world which I prize so highly as the religious principles which I inherited from you, and I possess nothing that I value so much as the Innocence and purity of your characters.” Benjamin Rush; Philadelphia, July 13th 1812