Just found the following information about my 4th great grandfather on my mother's side of the family.
Jesse Davis was a Captain in the Revolution and served under the immediate command of General Washington, who in general orders commended him for bravery (Virginia Gazette Jan 23 1778).... Jesse's widow Nancy Melton was allowed a pension (W8652) and a Bounty Land Warrant (#2325) for 300 acres. Jesse also received lands grants of 5100 acres in Jefferson County and grants of 1700 acres in Nelson County, Kentucky (Virginia land grant books A:128; 4:536, 537, 608; 7:279; and 10:489)
Davis, Jesse (Va). 1st Lieutenant 11th Virginia, 17th November 1776; Captain 11th September 1777; Regiment designated 7th Virginia, 14th September, 1778; retired May 1779.
I also know that according to the 1810 Census that he owned 11 slaves.
I'm trying to understand the think of someone who put his life on the line for a document that reads, "We believe ... that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienably rights", could 'own' another person.
I know that I shouldn't judge (lest ye be judged) and that it was a different time and a different place ... but it is still hard to get my mind around.
And then, of course, is the fact that on my father's side of the family, very possibly, there are ancestors who were slaves, who were owned, who were property.
I wonder what all my combined ancestors would think of me?