Ensign Jesse Doolittle
Born August 12, 1738 in New Haven County, Connecticut
Died February 9, 1793 in Litchfield County, Connecticut
Thank you to my eighth great-grandfather, Jesse Doolittle, and to the many other men and women who served the cause of American independence during the Revolutionary War.
Jesse Doolittle held the rankings of patriotic service (PS), civil service (CS), and ensign (equivalent to a second lieutenant).
Connecticut, the state from where my patriot great-grandfather hailed, was designated as the “Provision State” by George Washington during the American Revolution. Located between Boston and New York, and along the coast, Connecticut was strategically positioned for storing and moving all types of supplies – from agricultural products to ammunition.
Jesse Doolittle, a militia member, hauled gun powder from Litchfield County into Hartford. He also formed a committee to care for widows and orphans who lost their husbands and fathers in the war, was a surveyor of highways, owned a gristmill, and served as a selectman for three years in his Litchfield County town.
I have also learned that Jesse was a man of faith. According to Connecticut records, he persuaded a preacher from another county to relocate to Litchfield County and minister to a congregation there.
Connection on a Quantum Level
Connecticut was my home for almost three decades and, sadly, I didn’t even know about Jesse Doolittle until I moved back to Ohio last year and my cousin Brian began doing genealogical research.
Finding Jesse was fairly easy. There were no twists or turns. Just a direct path to this great-grandfather. I wish I had known about him earlier, because it explains a lot. Like my love for Connecticut and how I feel that Litchfield County is just as much my home as the Ohio county where I was born.
The Legacy of a Life Well-Lived
This week, as we celebrate America’s Independence, Ensign Jesse Doolittle, my Revolutionary War patriot, is on my mind -- a lot. I can’t help but wonder what my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather would think of 2018’s America.
I wish Jesse Doolittle knew how proud I am of him. As are other members of my family. Even if we don't always agree on the direction of the country, we do agree that having Jesse Doolittle as our patriot is pretty awesome. We are humbled by his service and the personal sacrifices he suffered (he lost his mill to a raging fire, suffered illness and died at a fairly young age). Our family's gratitude to Jesse Doolittle transcends politics.
If I could, on this Fourth of July, I would speak these words to my eighth great-grandfather: