Honoring the veterans of wars past and present with respect and consideration of their sacrifices and contributions to their country and communities is both a duty and a privilege. While this can be done anytime, Veterans Day provides a special opportunity to show this respect and to learn from the history of our veterans. Such history is all around us and if you look you may find some really interesting information about veterans that helped win America’s wars as well as shape the communities in which we live. Here is one such story I stumbled upon that I would like to share this Veterans Day.
I was doing some research for a personal endeavor a couple years ago. While in Utica Cemetery near Utica, MI I came across an interesting grave. The recently placed headstone reads;
5 CONN REGT
The inscription accompanying the headstone reads:
NATHANIEL SQUIRE & FAMILY WERE THE FIRST SETTLERS OF THE UTICA AREA IN 1817
How cool is that? One of the first settlers in the area that would become Utica, MI (in Macomb County 20 miles north of downtown Detroit) was Revolutionary War Veteran Nathaniel Squire. I searched for more information about him on the internet and found the locals had recently done a lot of work to get Squire recognition and arranged for him to recieve full military honors after 185 years at his resting place.
Local historians describe the Squire’s journey through the unsettled area as such;
“The family began its trek from the Vermont hills, stopping for a time in Canada, before reaching Michigan. Traveling by raft and canoe, they docked near Mount Clemens, transferred their goods to an oxcart, and continued their journey through a forest path. The Squires took refuge in an abandoned house near Frederick, present-day Mount Clemens, from which Elisha Harrington and his family had fled, fearing Chippewa attack. When the Harrington’s returned from Detroit after the War of 1812, the Squires moved on. Repacking their cart, Nathaniel, Jemima, and their sons Hiram and Thomas headed west through the woods until May of 1817, when they came upon the crossing of two Indian trails near the Clinton River. Today those paths are Cass and Auburn roads.Shelby Township history
As Jemima was soon to give birth, they built a shelter and cleared some land, planting corn, potatoes and buckwheat. By the time their daughter was born in July, the Squires had settled into their small, cob-roofed log cabin on the southeast corner of today’s Cass and Auburn roads.”
What an amazing journey and an interesting bit of local history. Stories like this are all around us. They add character to our communities as well as provide a way for young people to connect with those that came before them and learn of their sacrifices and contributions. On Veterans Day, consider checking out your local historical societies and veterans organizations to honor and to learn of the veterans that help shape your communities!