Colleen Kernan

Families researching: Chapin, Cook, Deering, Fennell, Fitzgerald, Kenney, Kenny, Kernan, Kuzel, Lynch, Whittaker, Worby

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Colleen Kernan As a young lad I had an opportunity none will have again.We,the Cook kids who grew up at Clarendon were told about the Revolutionary War by it's last soldier, our Great Grandfather,Lemuel Cook,who we more affectionately called granpa Lem.He would delight in telling us about his life and we were glad to listen.We'd watch for Lemuel to come to come out and sit in his rocker either on the front porch or under the big old elm tree in the front yard,as he always did on warm summer afternoons.We would watch for him to motion us to come over with his cane, he always knew we were watching and would run to see who would get there for the best seat.It would usually start with a question.Tell us about George Washington,what did he look like?He would say "Let me think on it",a gleem would come to his eye and he would begin to speak slowly and deliberately. I saw General Washington a few times ,said a few words to him and he back to me.I'll not forget .First time I set eyes on him was at White Plains or there abouts.I'd joined up at the first call and those first couple of years were hard ones.Our company was resting near White Plains after being pushed off the island and out of New York City and up river.My job was with Major Tallmadge bein' in the Light Dragoons we had horses to take care of.Mine was a good ole Bay I'd brought from home.I was caring for my horse and a couple of others that needed rubbing down and heard a commotion a ways down the road. I could see by the uniforms it was officers leading several companys of foot.One fellow sat in the saddle head and shoulders above the others.I knew it must be the General,we had heard how large a man he was.As they came closer all I could do was stand there with my mouth open.An officer in front gave me a dirty look like saying,'How come you don't salute?I whipped off a fancy one. The officers dismounted and went to talk with the Major I suppose.I went back to my horse,a while later the General came around the headquarters where I was ,to stretch his legs I suppose and said,"Is that your horse soldier?""Yes ,Sir,said I coming to attention.He put me at ease and asked my name,"Lemuel Cook ,from Connecticut, Sir".That's a right smart mount you have there Lemuel Cook from Connecticut"."He's done good by me, General"said I."Well ,you take care of him,you will be glad you did",with that the General went about his business. That's all there was to it,I'll never forget tho,all the things that must have been pressin' on him he took time for a kind word.He had the kindest look in his eyes I've ever seen.Got the chance to see him a few times more being in the quartermasters,they called us artificers in them days.Didn't see him again until some two,maybe three years later.We were going down thru the Head of Elk,things were better,we had been winning we knew we had a big battle coming up somewhere to the south.Scuttle butt was that the General had gone on ahead and would meet us along the way. We had stopped and I was minding my own business payin'no mind to no one when I heard a rich full voice say,Lem Cook, is that you?"I thought that might be you with that bay".I had whirled around with my eyes bugging out and mouth wide open again,amazed that he had remembered me. I finally managed a "Yes Sir","It's very good to see you Sir"."I admire the lines of your Bay,Lem,I have one like it at Mount Vernon","Yes sir,he's a little worse for wear but I've been keepin' your advice,my brothers made me promise to bring him back to the farm when the War was done"."That's what we are about, Private"and with that the General was gone as quickly as he appeared.I'd grown six inches since the last time I spoke we'd met,he must of recognized the horse than me.It seems as tho he still towered a foot over me.But I was ten feet tall after that,they all asked "How come the General knows you?"they all asked.I didn't tell 'em.We saw him again at Yorktown,which turned out to be the big one where we was headin'.Last time I spoke to him was at Danbury when he gave me my discharge,I was standing there with my brother,still have my discharge here someplace,but will have to tell you about that another time.The general had a look about him you don't forget,there's hardly any words to describe him.Those were hard days for the most part but there was some good things about them too. Note*Lemuel Cook was born 10 Sept.1759 in Connecticut.He died 20 May 1866 in Clarendon New York.Frank W.Cook who recorded this story was his grandson.
Dec 01, 2002 · posted to the surname Cook