PORTSMOUTH—a local family uncovered generations of military service dating back to the French and Indian War with the help of national and local records.
Ralph Scott II, owner and president of the Ralph F. Scott Funeral Home Inc., is a man of many titles. ‘Family genealogist’ is one that he recently earned.
Although Scott knew of the more contemporary military enlistment of his immediate family, he never could have realized just how deeply their legacy of military enlistment ran.
When his son suggested that Scott visit the library to confirm a relative’s enlistment in the Civil War, Scott was reluctant at first. “I said, ‘I don’t want to do that, Ralph.’ So 9,300 people later in my Ancestry.com file, that was the start of it,” Scott said.
Ancestry.com is an online genealogical research tool where, with a subscription, users can access a massive library of public records and over 100 million family trees to trace generations of their lineage. The service allows users to connect with others who share common ancestry as well, and DNA profiles are also available for a more in-depth experience.
From his son’s request, Scott said he found that the relative in question [Thomas Moxley Scott] not only served in the Union Army in Virginia but is buried in Soldiers’ Circle within Portsmouth’s Greenlawn Cemetery. He was interred in 1917 according to Scott’s findings.
The family’s military record preceded even his service, much to Scott’s surprise.
“It began with my fifth great grandfather in Connecticut, in the French and Indian War. He was a member of the light horse cavalry. His name was Joseph Munsell and he was in the Connecticut militia,” said Scott.
From there, Scott watched as public records unfurled and his family’s military legacy stretched across the centuries.
“[Munsell’s] daughter married my fourth great grandfather [Benjamin Burt], who is actually buried in Wheelersburg’s cemetery. He was born 1761 and he was in the New York State Militia. He was present at the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown. This was all documented in his pension file. He died in 1849,” Scott said.
While Scott isn’t sure what initially brought his ancestors from New England to Southern Ohio, the records he found indicate that he wasn’t alone in his relocation.
“There was a lot of people leaving New England [for] the Ohio country. Ohio country in the early 1800s was California in the 1940s,” Scott said.
“My great great great grandfather [Robert Bard Scott] was [Burt’s] son. He was in the War of 1812 from Scioto County. Three of his boys actually were in the Union Army in the Civil War,” Scott said.
The stretch of time between the Civil War and the Spanish-American War meant a lull in military records as well. But Scott was able to trace records from World War II, which indicate that his uncle served in the Navy, in the Aleutian Islands.
From there, the family’s storied legacy of military service continues.
“My sister, Rosalind Scott Horn, joined the Army in the Korean war, she was a Sergeant. My brother joined the Air Force right after the Korean War ended. I joined the Air Force in 1961 right out of high school, and I got out just before the Vietnam war erupted. I married a girl who was an Air Force vet, my son was an Air Force vet, my brother in law is an Air Force vet, and one of his sons is an Air Force vet,” said Scott.
As the Memorial Day holiday approaches, this legacy is especially present in Scott’s mind. However, the pride he feels is present all year round.
“I’m very proud of my family. It’s just that simple. I’m very proud of its military connection, and of how we’ve basically been here for 228 years,” Scott said.
Scott hopes that those observing Memorial Day will continue to appreciate the people who have volunteered to serve their country. And he wants young people to know that enlistment is worth considering for their own futures.
“I would encourage people to join the military. You learn that it’s not all about you. It broadens your horizons, they send you to different places in the world. It’s a growing experience, especially for somebody young. I was five days out of high school at PHS when I found myself in San Antonio, Texas at Lackland Air Force Base. It’s a growing experience and something that I think makes a person a better person. It shows that you have to work to get to where you want to go and it will teach you how to do that if you let it happen,” he said.
Above all, Scott is proud that his family has volunteered so much for the country he loves.
“I’m so proud,” he said. “My chest gets a little bit larger when I think of all these brave men and women who have served this nation”
Reach Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931 or by email at [email protected]
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