Really, I’m Related….

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I have a friend with family down in West Virginia. Her obsession is a bit different than mine but still can lead to the same places. She loves to geocache. Off she goes with her gps tracking device, over hill and dale, climbing, digging and dredging around looking for some box or container hidden by another obsessed person.


This time her hunt in West Virginia took her to a cemetery. Cemeteries are usually my thing on vacation trips; I tend to plan my travel around them to some extent. After her return from her trip, we were on IM typing and I teased her “find any of my friends?” She typed back to me “Patrick Gass.”  The name rung a bell and I opened up my genealogy software and did a quick look. In the meantime she was typing about how he was the last living member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


I found him; he had died in 1870 in Brooke county, West Virginia. West Virginia had just become a state in 1863 splitting off from Virginia as a direct result of the Civil War. The only state created because of that war. I did a quick search to see if we were directly related and we were, he was my first cousin seven times removed through my dad’s side of the family. I asked if she had taken a picture of the monument, nope.


She continued to type, telling me about Patrick and his much younger wife. I typed back more info on him, his 7 children and where some of them had died. It suddenly seemed to dawn on her that I really AM related to the man. “Good grief… was he REALLY related to you?” She was impressed that I could trace the line back to him through 7 generations.


Her sister still lives in the area and volunteered to take pictures for me of the Gass stones that she can find. Seeing as I really am related to the man, I just may get a picture after all.


Patrick’s parents were early settlers to the Virginia area. Patrick joined the army and fought in many battles, losing an eye in one. He out lived his young wife, an age difference of 41 years between them, who died at her 37 after having 7 children. Before settling down to have children, Patrick joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition.


Patrick McClain Gass published his journal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1807. There was a bit of controversy surrounding his publication. Entries for Patrick Gas can be found at the University of Lincoln, Nebraska online. The thing that struck me the most was the number of animals they killed during hunting expeditions. I can’t imagine the amount of meat 4 buffalos and a deer would have on them. I’ll stick to pretty pink cellophane wrapped “fresh” meat from the grocery store.


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