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"Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cynthia Howerter Shares About Her Ancestor - Revolutionary War Colonel John Kelly


Colonel John Kelly - Pennsylvania Historical Marker


No matter where a person lived in America during the Revolutionary War, difficulties were commonplace. My fourth great-grandparents, Sarah and Colonel John Kelly, lived in the Pennsylvania frontier on land they purchased from the Penn family. They worked hard to build a life and home for their growing family.

In early July 1778, word reached Sarah and John that British and Indians were attacking and massacring settlers in Pennsylvania’s not too-distant Wyoming Valley. Two days later, the enemy descended upon the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, the area the Kelly family called home.

Sarah and John understood that the price of staying in one’s home during Indian attacks was often a person’s life. Unable to take possessions, Sarah and her children—four-year old John and two-year old James—left their house. Taking a final look at their large log cabin, Sarah wondered if the British and Indians would burn it to the ground.  

With John leading the way, the young family hurried to the Susquehanna River—several miles away. There, Sarah and the boys climbed onto a hastily built raft and paddled to the middle of the river where they hoped enemy arrows and bullets could not reach. Sarah and her small sons floated downriver, either to the safety of Fort Augusta or further south to where Harrisburg now stands. They remained in exile for an extended period--until peace returned to the area. John, a Colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia, remained behind and commanded a group of rangers charged with protecting the area from enemy attack.

Over two hundred years later, my husband and I faced leaving our house during difficult circumstances. After my husband lost his job during the severe 2008 recession—with no sign of new employment on the horizon—we made the heartbreaking decision to sell our house rather than risk running out of money and not being able to make the mortgage payments. We faced possible homelessness until a relative offered to allow us to live with them.  

During our two years of unemployment, our future appeared hopeless. At times, I despaired of ever returning to a good life. I often thought of Sarah and John whose trust in God sustained them when their world turned upside down with no guarantee of survival. Their faith and perseverance in the face of life-threatening dangers encouraged me to keep going in spite of the overwhelming odds against my husband finding another job and our family buying another home.

Eventually, the British and Indians stopped warring on Pennsylvania settlers, and Sarah and John returned home where their lives continued and prospered. And when God deemed the time right, not only did my husband find a job, but He provided another house for us.


Cynthia Howerter's new book (available for pre-order), God’s Provision in Tough Times—co-authored by La-Tan Roland Murphy—is an anthology containing 25 true stories about the ways God provided for each of our 17 writers during difficult times. God’s Provision in Tough Times is available for pre-order at Amazon.com. Colonial Quills founder and writer Carrie Fancett Pagels contributed a story to the book.

12 comments:

  1. So happy that things worked out for you. About two years ago, my husband lost his job and then had a small stroke. We had to move from our lovely townhouse into a small 2 bedroom apartment with our son, who agreed to take care of our finances until we could get back on our feet. Long story short, I am happy to report that my husband not only completely recovered from his stroke, but God helped him to find a full time job that he loves. We still live in the same apartment, but we no longer need our son's financial support. I am sure that God will get us into a better place one day, but for now, I praise Him for all He has done for us....God bless.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Debbie. God doesn't make things easy on those who love Him, but the wisdom in your last sentence makes my heart soar - "I praise Him for all He has done for us." I know you and your story are a blessing to many.

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  2. Compelling stories from both of you, Cynthia and Debbie. Amazing. I can't say I've had the same 'forced change of address' but when I look back at different times of turmoil, I now remember the good moments so much clearer. I've been unemployed on and off for three years and even now employment is part time and there's a designated end to it. But, like you, once you've been on the other side of enough trials, you learn to trust. God is in control and I'm so thankful for that.

    Cynthia, what an amazing story and legacy from your ancestors. How wonderful to have a plaque dedication John Kelly's patriotism and service

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Debra. Unemployment is so difficult, but you've already conquered it with your trust in God! Know that God never wastes our difficult times.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this story about your family. I was privileged to be able to read God’s Provision in Tough Times and found it so applicable to many folks as they deal with trials. Well done, Cynthia!

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Janet! I'm glad you enjoyed our book - God's Provision in Tough Times - and pray that God uses it to touch the hearts of many people.

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  4. Wonderful post, Cynthia, and thank you for sharing. Your ancestor's story, as well as your own is very inspiring. And I do love stories about family! I look forward to reading God's Provision in Tough Times! Thank you!

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed my ancestors' story. Colonel Kelly and his Sarah were incredible people. It's always an honor to tell others about them. I hope you enjoy "God's Provision in Tough Times" and that it will touch your heart and bless your life.

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  5. Cynthia, what a great post! Thank you for sharing both stories.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kay, for reading my article! I'm glad you enjoyed both stories.

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  6. Colonel Kelly was married to my fifth great-aunt, Sarah Pollock (Poak).

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