During our lifetimes, we cross paths with many different people. Most are regular folks, simply living their own lives as best they can. But sometimes, if we are fortunate, we get an opportunity to rub shoulders with people who might be considered more noteworthy… people destined for great things; men, if not for whom, the world would be far different.
My sister-in-law’s 4th great grand uncle, Joshua Short, had not one such encounter. Remarkably, he had two… with men many consider to be the two greatest Presidents ever to hold the office.
Joshua was 24 years old, living in Pittsylvania County, Virginia when he enlisted as a private in Captain Peter Dunn’s Company, Colonel Hendrick’s Sixth Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line in the Revolutionary War. He fought in the battles of Brandywine and Germantown and spent that infamous winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge under the command of General George Washington who, of course, would go on to become the first President of the United States.
He was discharged in 1778, most likely due to injuries received during that brutal winter. After the war, he settled in Kentucky where he founded the Good Hope Baptist Church in 1796. The church is still operational and some of his descendants continue to attend its services.
In the early 1800s, he moved to Illinois to be closer to some of his children. And, in 1836 at the age of 84, when he decided to form his last will and testament, he sought out the services of a young lawyer who penned the document by hand and signed it as a witness. The lawyer’s name was Abraham Lincoln, who would eventually become the 16th President. Joshua’s will can now be viewed at the Menard County Courthouse in Petersburg, IL.
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