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The Spirit of Adventure

Historians believe it was the concentration of successive frontier men and women that developed the character that is now considered distinctly American. The atmosphere of faith in themselves and their religion and hope for the future drove them to overcome the hostile environment they encountered and to establish each new colonial and frontier community. Progress and success prevailed everywhere on the frontier, influencing both men and institutions. It provided an upward social mobility that was confirmation of their hope for progress.

Incentive and opportunity were there. A man had only to see the opportunity, and apply himself, to achieve wealth and social status. This was welcome and strange to each wave of new immigrants from Europe, where one had to be born into elevated social status and wealth. Later even native born Americans saw the same opportunities in each new land frontier. This cumulative belief finally developed into America's famous notion of "Manifest Destiny" of the 1800s which induced thousands of Americans and immigrants to move out the Indians and the Mexicans and settle the west for themselves.

Actually, few Easterners or immigrants could go west; most lacked the skills or wealth or spirit of adventure to grapple with the primitive wilderness. Martin Tichenor was one of those men who embodied this spirit, as were many of his descendants. Starting with his grandson, Joseph Tichenor, four successive generations of Titchenals; Moses, David, John R. and his brothers, William R. and David Jackson, and John's son William H. Titchenal all followed in his footsteps.

While I have assumed all of my ancestors were drawn west by opportunities for profit and advancement. The historical reality is that the Tichenor (Titchenal, Tichenell, etc.) families after once settled in New Haven and Newark, migrated in every direction. Their migrational patterns were within the states and local regions as well as along now-forgotten waterway routes.

Even in the old world, in nations such as England, there were clearly established migrational patterns stretching back to the Middle Ages. People often settled along the water ways and canal systems. Foreign families often grouped close together in same settlements for ethic or religious reasons. Sometimes they bought and sold property just because they wanted to move. I am sure my ancestors had all of those reasons for their moves.

In writing this saga of continuous faith and hope, I have speculated about the characteristics and personalities of each Titchenal generation and their wives. I tried to place each generation into the historical perspective of America and the communities where they lived in order to provide clues to the thoughts and actions of these ancestors.

Living as we do in the twentieth century, it is hard to imagine the life and conditions under which they lived. I have read and included excerpts from William Strauss & Neil Howe's book "Generations" to help illustrate the life of each generation. I have read other history books about events and conditions and included these references in this story in order to allow the reader to speculate along with me about how our ancestors lives changed and progressed.

I wish one or more of my ancestors would have left journals describing what they did and why, particularly how they felt about themselves, America and the local happenings at the time. As it is, we must assume their life was like that of most Americans during those years. Maybe they did what little they could to make life fair for every one, and it had some small effect. There was little they could do as the accepted religious teaching and beliefs at the time thought of Indians as savages and black slaves as acceptable.

Writing this story, has given me new admiration and a close feeling of knowing my ancestors personally, as well as a new sense of American history. Even though only a few of my Tichenor-Titchenal, etc. ancestors were important enough to be recorded as part of American history, never-the-less they were very much a part of American history and had many a close encounter with American historical events.

It is exciting to know that many of my ancestors were very much a part of the forging of America. They fought in the wars, they started over many times, clearing the wilderness, building new homes, help start new towns. It is amazing to realize with all the problems they had to face, yet they continued to have enough faith and hope for each new move.

It has been said, "Any history (family history included) is a phenomenon living descendants invent and create to establish who they are; based on what they think their ancestors were in the past. The history of events can never reach a complete objective truth, because each generation or person has to rewrite history, adjusting it to their own expectations and experiences."

While this story is based upon facts uncovered in the search for our genealogy history. I had to fill in my thoughts where factual information or word of mouth history was not available. I must admit, as I tried to illustrate what I thought was the mood and conditions of the time and place they lived, this family history was also invented and created to establish who my ancestors were.

As I read over this total story of my ancestors, It became noticeable as America expanded each generation of our family was separated from their family and previous generation. This is contrary to today's popular nostalgic belief families of yesteryear always stayed together and supported each other throughout their life including their old age.

The frontiers always sounded adventurous and exciting, and the frontier seemed to develop individual self confidence and character, but it rarely developed a family of healthy, contented and secure, close family members. Certainly not the TV and movie families portrayed in the 1950s. Even though the reasons for separation were very different, the lives they lived were not that much different from the single parent and separated families highly criticized today.


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