A Revolutionary challenge

Supporting history

The Legal Genealogist is about to put her money where her mouth is.

Here’s a challenge to my readers. As this post’s title says, it’s a Revolutionary challenge. And, no, the capital letter there isn’t a mistake.

Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective, is trying to raise funds for an extraordinary project: to bring the faces and the stories of Americans who lived in the Revolutionary War era — and lived on long enough to be photographed — to life in a film called Revolutionary Voices.

And she needs our help.

There’s an outfit called Kickstarter where folks involved in the creative arts can ask for and receive support from the general public for projects that otherwise would never see the light of day.

Contributions aren’t tax-deductible, they don’t buy an ownership interest in the ultimate product.

You do it because you think the project is the right project to be done and the person doing it is the right person to be doing it.

There’s no doubt that Maureen is exactly the right person to be doing Revolutionary Voices. She’s an internationally recognized photo identification and family history expert, author of books and magazine articles on the subject, who’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Hallmark Television, The View, Better Homes & Gardens, the Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, MSNBC, PBS Ancestors, and more.

The projects she’s taken on have been ambitious, but none more ambitious than The Last Muster, now two volumes published by the Kent University Press (volume 1: 2010; volume 2: 2013). It’s a wonderful project and the books are described by the publisher this way:

A remarkable work of documentary history, The Last Muster is a collection of rare nineteenth-century photographic images—primarily daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and carte des visite paper photographs—of the Revolutionary War generation. This extraordinary collection of images assigns faces to an un-illustrated war and tells the stories of our nation’s founding fathers and mothers, updating and supplementing research last collected and published over a century ago.

In her comprehensive introduction, author Maureen Taylor explains how she came to this project and collected the images. She also describes her exhaustive primary source research involved in dating and identifying each image and investigating the story and genealogy of each subject. The array of seventy images is expansive and includes veterans, loyalists, Native Americans, African Americans, children who witnessed battles and aided soldiers, and women who nursed the wounded and even took up arms themselves. Although the faces that gaze at the reader are old and wizened, the stories they tell are of youthful bravery in the young days of the republic.

The Last Muster is a much-needed contribution to the history of the American Revolution, the early Republic, and the history of photography. Through these portraits and the accompanying narrative, readers will have the opportunity to relive the Revolutionary War.

Wonderful. Absolutely stunning. And — at $45 a volume in paperback — not going to reach a fraction of the people this story needs to reach.

And that’s why this is exactly the right project to be done: putting the stories with the faces, going behind the images to the history, and telling it in a compelling way in a form that will reach a vastly wider audience than could ever be reached with the printed word.

You can read about and hear the whole story of this film on the Kickstarter page for “Revolutionary Voices”: A Last Muster Film. Or just click on the image above to watch and listen.

You’ll find that making a film like this is an expensive project. To put it mildly. The production costs will be somewhere in excess of $200,000. To begin shooting, the project needs $27,500. And Maureen and the production company she’s team with have asked the genealogical community, and everyone else interested in history, to support these efforts.

So here, dear readers, is the challenge. I’m going to make my own pledge to support Revolutionary Voices. And for every one of the first 50 readers who joins me, I’ll kick in an extra $5 to the project.

That’s right: I’m putting $250 of my own money where my mouth is, over and above my own contribution.

And all you need to do to take up this challenge is make your own pledge at the Kickstarter page for “Revolutionary Voices” — the minimum is $1 — and then tell me you’ve joined in.

You can do it in the comments to this post. You can do it on Facebook (add my name, Judy G. Russell, to your post). You can do it on Google+ (add +Judy G. Russell to your post). You can do it by email. You can do it in your own blog, linking to this one.

You can do it any way you want.

But do it. This is a project worth doing.

Let’s help get it done.

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81 Responses to A Revolutionary challenge

  1. Linda Vert says:

    I’ve accepted your challenge and contributed.
    Thanks Judy, a great cause.

  2. Very nicely done Judy! I have contributed $10. And will share your page. :-)

  3. Chris Staats says:

    “You’re a backer of Revolutionary Voices”: A Last Muster Film”
    I’m in like Fitzsimmons (I don’t have any Flynns or Flints).

  4. Judy, thanks for the heads up about this project, and for your pledge. Just made my contribution. I recall seeing the PR about this book, and thinking, “How amazing!”

  5. Judy G. Russell says:

    One more on Facebook. Five down, 45 to go.

  6. Drew Scott says:

    I contributed $25. I can’t wait to see the film!

  7. Count me in…I just made my contribution. As a retired history teacher and a D.A.R. member, this project sings to my heart! Thank you for telling us about it.

  8. Linda Deppner says:

    Just made my contribution, too. Woohoo!!

  9. Gloria Carbaugh says:

    I’m in. Tweeted it, too. Thanks for letting us know!

  10. Judy G. Russell says:

    One more at Facebook, eight down, 42 to go. Thanks, Betty!

  11. Laura G. Prescott says:

    I’m in, Judy! I sent $25 via Amazon. $10 for each of the Rev War photos I’ve given to Maureen, plus $5 for the magnet. (I like magnets.) Thanks for doing this! It’s a great project. Congrats, Maureen!

  12. Laurel Baty says:

    Hi Judy,

    I just made my contribution. Thanks for letting us know about this.


  13. Dave Lucey says:

    I’m in, can’t wait to see the movie, hoping she’s found some pictures of my RW ancestors!

  14. Judith Bunn Brock says:

    What an exciting project! Count me in!

  15. Teri Tillman says:

    I’m in! Thanks, Judy, for letting us know about this important project.

  16. Judy G. Russell says:

    One in via email — #16, 34 to go.

  17. Angela McGhie says:

    I’m in! I posted a link to Maureen’s project on Facebook earlier this morning.

  18. Judy Kellar Fox says:

    I’m in, too. This is going to happen!

  19. Judy G. Russell says:

    Two more via social media, three via email — we’re down to 27 to go in the challenge.

  20. Concetta says:

    I’m in. $12 :-)

  21. Well done, Judy! This is defiantly a worthwhile project. Too bad all of my Revolutionaries (that I know of) died long before photography was invented… anyway, I am now an official backer of “Revolutionary Voices”: A Last Muster Film.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Thanks, Becky! I don’t think mine made it to the age of photography either… but I can hope! You’re now #25 — half way there!

  22. Wendy Grant Walter says:

    I made a contribution yesterday before your challenge (as Wendy W). Does that count? And what a wonderful idea, Judy!

  23. Judy G. Russell says:

    One more just in via email — #27, 23 to go!

  24. Judy G. Russell says:

    Two more on social media — #29, 21 to go!

  25. LisaGorrell says:

    I’m in. It’s a worthwhile project and I can’t wait to see it.

  26. Great idea, Judy! I’m taking you up on your offer to build up the fund.

  27. Kay Haden says:

    Added my $50 just now.

  28. Stan Mitchell says:

    Add one more pledge!
    And thanks for spreading the word.

  29. Pam White says:

    I’m in, too, Judy. Heading to make my contribution now.

  30. Judy G. Russell says:

    Two more by email, one on Facebook. #37 — 13 to go!

  31. Shelley Murphy says:

    I donated as well! Let’s do this….thanks Judy, I just tweeted it as well.

  32. I am in too, Judy! Thank you for your generosity!!

  33. Gus Marsh says:

    I made a small donation, thanks for spreading the word.

  34. Cinamon Collins says:

    Done! I also Tweeted, Facebooked, and will bring it up this Thursday at our DAR meeting. Thanks Judy!

  35. Judy G. Russell says:

    One more via email (thanks, Joan!) — #43 and there are only seven to go!

  36. Carolyn Barkley says:

    Made my donation today…2 March.

  37. Amber Goodpaster Tauscher says:

    Hi Judy!

    I’m in and will bring this up at my local APG meeting tomorrow as well as post it on Facebook!

  38. Judy G. Russell says:

    One more from Facebook (#46 — thanks, Barbara!) — only FOUR TO GO!

  39. Judy G. Russell says:

    Another by email (thanks, Arlene!) — #47, THREE TO GO!

  40. Judy G. Russell says:

    Yet another by email (thanks, Carolyn!) — #48, TWO TO GO!!

  41. I’m pleased to support this, Judy. I’ve just contributed and posted to Facebook.

  42. Char White says:

    I’m in for $10.

  43. I agree, Judy, this is a great project. Count me in–I just made my pledge!

  44. Keith Bouldin says:

    Congrats on being over the top.
    I’m in … great project.

  45. David Negus says:

    My wife, Carolle, is an immigrant to the United States. She arrived here with her family when she was five. She learned English only after she arrived in the US. Still she has ancestors who served in our War of Independence. In honor of two of her 4th and 5th GGF, Clement Gosselin and Germain Dionne, I have made a pledge to Kickstarter for “Revolutionary Voices”.
    Clement (1747-1816) and Germain (1731-1787) were from the Ile d’Orleans in the St Lawrence River north of Quebec City. When the Revolution started, New France had just recently been conquered by the British during the Seven Years War. Clement joined the American forces in Quebec in December 1775, and on December 31, participated in the American attack on Quebec City. In March 1776, Clement became a Captain in Major Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment.
    In May 1776, the Regiment retreated from Canada to New York. Clement stayed behind to spy on the British. In 1777, Clement was captured by the British. After his release, Clement went to New York and rejoined the Regiment.
    Clement served in the Continental Army until the end of the war in 1783. He was wounded by wood shattered by a cannon ball at Yorktown. In 1783 he was discharged as a brevet major.
    After the war he married for the third time to Catherine Mounty, the daughter of Francois Mounty, an officer in the First Canadian Regiment. It is due to their daughter Jane’s attempt to receive a pension due her mother for Clement’s service, that we know the details of Clement’s service.
    Louis Gosselin, Clement’s older brother, also fought in the attempt to take Quebec. He was captured in 1776 during the retreat from Quebec back to New York. He remained imprisoned for two years, until he escaped. On 4 March 1778, he was made an Ensign in the 2nd Canadian Regiment. He was at Yorktown, and served until the end of the war. Both Clement and Louis were sent back into Canada on occasion, to spy on the British.
    Germain Dionne was made a lieutenant in the 2nd Canadian Regiment, and also served at Yorktown, and was discharged at the end of the war. Unlike his son in law, he returned to the Ile d’Orleans, where he died in 1788.

    NARA M804.Revolutionary WarPension andBounty-Land WarrantApplication Files. Clement Gosselin. W16655.
    Allan S Everest, Moses Hazen and the Canadian Refugees in the American Revolution, Syracuse University Press (1976) pp 122-123
    Military History of Clement Gosselin ( 6/12/1747 – 3/9/1816) http://www.pasocietyofthecincinnati.org/Cinnweb/OrigMembers/..%5CNames%5COfficer138.html

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      David, that’s a wonderful story of your wife’s ancestors! Thanks for sharing it, and for supporting this project!

  46. Pingback: Revolutionary Challenge | A Worthington Weblog

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