Honor and Valor: Military Service as a Family Tradition

It’s Just a Family Tradition

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All families seem to have their own set of traditions. In mine it seems to be military service.

My husband was in the military. My son is in the military. My son in law is in the military. My Grandfather was in the military. I had an uncle who was in the military. My husband’s Grandfather was in the military. He had an uncle who was in the military. It goes on and on.

I often joke that my ancestors showed up for every war. We don’t get along with anybody.

In reality, the reasons for military service have been various. For some of my relatives signing up for military service, even during times of conflict, was the safer alternative to the major industries in their hometowns. Coal mining I’m looking at you. Some I am sure were seeking adventure, while others were motivated by financial means. Others still were called to arms to support a vision of something bigger than they could imagine at the time in conflicts such as the American Revolution and Civil War.

A part of Something Bigger

Though the reasons were various, generation after generation, members of my family have been called to serve as part of something bigger.

With the approach of Veteran’s Day I thought I would take a look back at some of the relatives who have been called to serve.


Roll of Honor

In no particular order here is a list of some of the notable service members related to either me or my immediate family. For privacy issues it contains only deceased individuals.

Elden F. Shuck

Elden F. Shuck

Elden, my maternal Grandfather, was a Korean War Veteran of the United States Army. He served as a cook. The Shuck brothers were notable in their Korean War service because so many of the family signed up for service together. Elden signed up to look out for his younger brother who also joined to help appease his Mother. At one point in time 3 Shuck brothers were together in Korea at the same place and the same time, an event which was recorded in the newspaper of his hometown.

Coal mining was a main industry in the mountain region of West Virginia where he was born and raised. At the time it was safer to enlist in the military than it was to go to work in the coal mines. After the military Elden went onto work in the automotive industry in Flint, Michigan. He raised 6 children with his wife, Sally. Elden is buried in the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, Michigan.


Fred Jacobs

Frederick Jacobs has the noteworthy distinction of having served in both World War II and the Korean War. Fred Jacobs was my husband’s maternal grandfather. Fred and his brother Charles “Bud” Jacobs both served.

Fred’s service record was lost in the records fire so there are more gaps than information about his years in the service. It is known beyond a doubt that Fred was injured in combat. He carried the scars of his injuries for the rest of his life. Legend and lore states he lay injured on a battlefield for days presumed dead before being rescued. Fred received 3 purple hearts during his service. He married and adopted one daughter. Fred is buried in Parkhill Cemetery in Paris, Michigan.


Leming “L.J.” Eckler

L.J. Eckler was a paternal 3x great grandfather. This ancestor of mine has made the blog roll in the past for the amazing things he had to survive during his service in the Army during the American Civil War. It would be a farce to not mention him on a military honor roll.

Leming served under the infamous George Armstrong Custer long before that fateful battle where the general made his fated last stand. L.J. survived the worst of the Confederate prison camps. He spent time at Andersonville Prison. Amazingly, L.J. survived the war and went onto live a long life. He has many descendants and is buried in the Almer Township Cemetery in Tuscola County, Michigan.


Daniel E. Adams

Daniel E. Adams was another of my 3x great grandfather on my father’s side. Daniel is noteworthy for the fact that he claimed to have served both under Jefferson Davis during the Mexican War and against Jefferson Davis during the Civil War. The claim is dubious. Some suspect it could even be a tall tale.

It is beyond question that Daniel served in the Civil War but questions remain about this service in the Mexican War. He would have been a child soldier if he did indeed serve in the Mexican War under Jefferson Davis. Daniel E. Adams is buried in the Smith Hill Cemetery in Otisville, Michigan.


Dexter Adams

While Dexter Adams was not a direct ancestor, he left no descendants and a significant bit of family lore. Dexter was the brother of Daniel E. Adams. One undisputed fact about Dexter Adams is that he was a musician who played the drums in the Army during the American Civil War. A second undisputed fact is that Dexter played the drums in the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln.

The more questioned information? Who has the drum sticks that Dexter used to play his drum during the funeral procession of Abraham Lincoln. There are at least two different branches of the family that I have heard claim ownership of the drum sticks. Dexter is buried in the Aventine Cemetery in Flint, Michigan.


First Five

This list is the start of my military roll of honor. These are some of my favorite or more noteworthy past service members hanging around my family tree. My family has a long and remarkable tradition of military service.

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