A Snippet from History – Colonel Callis

I have read several blog posts on ancestry searches over the past few weeks where the authors found several interesting personalities and events. I did a two-week free trial run on one of the ancestry websites a few years ago and built a family tree. I managed to get some of the tree branches all the way back to the late 10th century before the trial lapsed. The list alleges that my ancestors include the English kings Henry II, John I, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III and Henry VII – a very interesting range of historical characters. That should put me somewhere in the line for the throne of England. Added to those kings is the name of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, a Welsh Prince of Wales from the 13th century. Scattered throughout the tree are several first-cousin marriages which would certainly explain a lot about my family in general. There are seven Civil War veterans – five on the Union side including one casualty and two on the Confederate side.

One interesting historical name shows up in the branch that I can confirm with some confidence through my paternal grandmother. William Overton Callis born in 1756 was a descendant of the founders of William & Mary University. In 1774, he was tutored, along with James Madison and James Monroe, by Parson John Todd. He was a member of the Continental Army serving with General George Washington at Valley Forge and at Yorktown; he rose to the rank of Colonel. Representing Virginia’s Louisa County he voted to ratify the Constitution in 1788; later he served as an elector voting for Washington in his second Presidential election. In the 1790s Colonel Callis corresponded with Thomas Jefferson concerning a property transaction then, in 1804, asked Jefferson for some help getting his son a commission in the Navy. He died in 1814; his final resting place is in Doswell, Virginia. So there you have it – a short biography of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, William Overton Callis!

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