Letter: Ancestors worked to build nation with free speech

From: Doug Logan


I am proud to have attended the Show Up for Solidarity with Charlottesville event on the steps of Columbus City Hall on Sunday night. I believe that the family history I have discovered over several years of genealogical research gives me a unique platform for condemning the vicious thugs who are trying to steal our American heritage.

My ancestors started arriving in North America in the 17th century. They included Congregationalists, fleeing what they considered oppression by the Church of England. Others were Huguenots, French Protestants escaping real oppression by the royal government and the Catholic Church. Still others were Germans, trying to get away from lands that had been ravaged by the Thirty Years War between Protestants and Catholics.

The Logans themselves were Ulster Scots — a group that James Webb, in his book “Born Fighting,” credits with providing the blueprint for American character. If any family can claim a proprietorial interest in the United States of America, it is mine.

The Nazis, the KKK and the other white supremacists do not represent the America my ancestors built.

I bought a book called “Ulysses Underground” at the Grant birthplace in Point Pleasant, Ohio, about Grant’s family connections to the Underground Railroad. An appendix to the book told the story of an escaped slave who settled in Ohio and took the name Joseph Logan, choosing a name from the membership list of the Presbyterian church in Greenfield, Ohio. A few pages later, the writer made the point that escaped slaves often took the name of people who had helped them.

If somebody named Logan helped an escaped slave in Greenfield, Ohio, around 1830, that Logan was either my great-great-great-grandfather, his brother or their father, because those are the only three Logans listed in the 1830 census for Fairfield County, Ohio.

Three of my great-great-grandfathers and one great-grandfather served in Ohio regiments in the Civil War. One of the two greats, Benjamin Perrin, was killed in action at the Battle of Millikan’s Bend in Louisiana. His record indicates that he was detached from the 68th Ohio, serving with the 9th Louisiana Volunteers (African Descent). Family tradition was that he was an officer, although the author of a book on the battle told me Perrin was not named among the officers of the regiment killed in action. It could be that his commission was pending on the regiment’s filling out its enlistments, or he could have been serving as a first sergeant, who had to be literate.

My ancestors built and fought and died for a nation where people can hold different opinions, a country where people can say whatever they want to say. They did not build a place where people have a right to drive cars into crowds. The president of a nation my ancestors made should condemn the attack in Charlottesville instead of trying to avoid alienating the criminals who conspired in that crime.