The Sprague Connection
I got hooked onto ancestry.com . Both my parents have pretty good genealogy records, even if they are mostly just names and dates. Although we are not LDS, there are lots Kimballs who are, and have traced the family back to the Mesozoic era. My Mom's grandmother and g-grandmother traced the Everett and Delano families far back as well.
It can certainly be a lot of fun finding out some interesting characters in your family past. Like "Buckskin Harry" who ran away from home and became famous with Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show, and later joined Buffalo Bill for a year before finding religion.
Since my expertise is Florida/Seminole War history, I look for those connections. Buckskin Harry's Dad had orange groves near Ocala about on the site where Osceola's had his village years earlier. Then there were the Kimball's whom Josiah Francis and his warriors killed across the river from Fort Mimms.
But while looking over the Everett family line, I came across the name of Sprague. This family connection was just too good not to trace back. Fortunately with ancestry.com I was able to figure it out. It is not a straight connection, but we are distant cousins. Ebenezer Everett married Joanna Stevens; whose father Phinehas married a Sprague. (Half the fun of searching this out is the names they had back then.) Back down the line a bit, and I found where it branched off and finally found the connection.
So, I can now say that I am a distant cousin of John Titcomb Sprague! If there were any officer in the war that I wanted to be related too, this would be it! (Sprague photo below.)
Do you think that there is a resemblance?
Captain John T. Sprague wrote the book, "The Origin, Progress, and Conclusion of the Florida War" in 1848. This was THE only history book written about he Seminole War for the next 120 years until Dr. John Mahon wrote the next one.
Sprague was the aide-de-camp for Colonel Worth and compiled all the large volume of records from the war into his book. But another great thing was that he included a lot of eyewitness and Seminole accounts of the war that would have been lost otherwise, like Alligator's description of Dade's Battle, or Coacoochee's impassioned speech when he was captured. If Sprague were not there, these would not have been preserved and recorded in written history.
I can say with pretty good confidence that I am a good historian on the Seminole War. But to be distantly related to Sprague, the original historian of the war and an eyewitness to it, is icing on the cake.