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Texas Tracers step back into history

Nov. 25, 2009 at 5:25 a.m.

The Texas Tracers in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, in front of the Governor's Palace. Front row, from left, are Laura Martin, Martha Jones, Donna Schultheiss, Mary Belle Meitzen and Ruth Ray. Second row, from left, are Ken Jones, Mary Ann Wright, Mary Beth Null, Bettye Pribyl, Liz Obelgonner, Nancy Obelgonner, Jackie Richardson and RosemaryTucker. Back row, from left,  Barry Martin, David Pribyl, John Meitzen, Russ Obelgonner and Joe Ray.

Last June, while sitting in the Salt Lake City airport, some of the Texas Tracers began brainstorming the idea of going to Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg. After returning home, I began working on plans to visit not only Williamsburg, but Jamestown, America's birthplace founded in 1607; the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg where many of our country's forefathers voiced their grievances against English rule; and Yorktown where British forces under the command of Gen. Cornwallis surrendered to Gen. George Washington, thus winning American independence from Great Britain. Since many Texas Tracers trace their lineages to Jamestown settlers and American Revolution soldiers, this was an opportunity to step back into history.

Our group of 16 stayed inside Colonial Williamsburg and took side trips to historical sites and two beautifully restored plantations along the James River, Shirley and Berkeley, where many famous American leaders, including Abraham Lincoln visited in years past. During the first four days of our trip we enjoyed sunny, cool Virginia weather. Luckily, rains from a Nor'easter and remnants of Hurricane Ida stayed away until the last day when some of us darted in and out of numerous colonial shops along the Duke of Gloucester Street and others researched genealogy in the Williams and Mary College Library located across the street from Colonial Williamsburg. Travelers included John and Mary Belle Meitzen, Mary Beth Null, Liz, Nancy and Russ Obelgonner, Bettye and David Pribyl, Joe and Ruth Ray, Jackie Richardson, Donna Schultheiss, Rosemary Tucker, Mary Ann Wright, Ken and Martha Jones.

On Veteran's Day, Colonial Williamsburg honored our heroes in the Capitol. Our veteran, Donna Schultheiss, was asked to sit up front beside generals, both current and American Revolution reenactors. Congratulations Donna.

While visiting Yorktown, David Pribyl and I were selected from the audience to participate in the preparation and firing of a cannon. David worked with the crew loading a projectile and appropriately I gave the orders. After making sure the cannon was aimed harmlessly at a tree, I yelled, "Fire!" Luckily it was on target. Such fun. In case you need a cannon fired during an upcoming event, contact Pribyl and Jones.

Before returning to the airport in Richmond, we toured the newly renovated Virginia Capitol. What a thrill to sit in the very same room where Patrick Henry and Robert E. Lee addressed assemblies of legislators. We were most fortunate during our tours to have experts guiding us through buildings such as the newly rebuilt Coffee House in Williamsburg and the Capitol in Richmond. When describing the wonderful time we experienced, does the fact we are planning to return in early December 2011 give you a good indication?


Many readers experience difficulty finding this column online. Here is the new path:

1) Go to

2) Click Viewpoints (upper heading center)

3) Click Columns (left column)

4) Click Your Life (left column); this site also includes past columns.

Happy Researching.

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