As you read my column this week, please know I am on a little vacation. Yes, I have been fortunate to traverse the beautiful hills of North Carolina.

Mile by mile I am reminded of my family who originated from the area, especially my ggggggrandfather, William Johnson. He mustered at the young age of 17 to join the Continental Army at the Salisbury Courthouse.

There are times when I think about the young soldier as I travel the very ground where he could have marched and I can feel his loneliness and as well the fright he must have suffered.

It is recorded down through time that battles are fought by young soldiers, most not yet out of their teens. I have read that the sound most heard, as the soldiers lay dying on the battlefield, is a call for their mother. But I know my patriot Revolutionary War soldier did not die in battle.

Even these 200 plus years later, I wonder how a young kid, such as he was at the time, could leave the safety of a loving family to go to war, maybe never to return.

In addition, my gggrandfather, great grandfather, grandfather, father and son answered the call as well. I am blessed that they all returned.

William Johnson did return to his North Carolina home after the war and eventually, in old age, travel with a granddaughter to settle in Newton County, Mississippi. He is buried in the Beulah Baptist Church Cemetery located in the Little Rock Community in Newton County.

This is my second trip to North Carolina within the last five years and always I have the young soldier on my mind and in my heart.

Perhaps he is aware I am traveling near his birthplace and I am thinking of him? I like to think so.

So yes, I am on vacation, wandering the hills of North Carolina, soaking up an atmosphere, which for me, rings of a patriot family who once sent their young son off to war.

Oh, I suppose I could have gone to the beach this week. But why? I mean the blazing sun and sticky sand will be there for next year.

But this year, my heart drew me to North Carolina, where my family once made a difficult decision to send their boy off to war.

I’m nothing if I’m not a good granddaughter, always have been. Respect for family is everything.

Anne McKee is a Meridian native and Mississippi historian. She is the Director of the annual Rose Hill Cemetery Costumed Tour. See her website

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