A Personal Example Of Discovering Connections Out Of The Past


“Realize that everything connects to everything else” – Leonardo DaVinci

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” – Herman Melville

Discovering connections with others is a natural delight in this life.  For instance, in a conversation with a new acquaintance, you find you have a mutual friend.  This connection can provide common ground on which to build a relationship, or at least is good fodder for that conversation.  It makes it more personal. 

Connecting the dots in the past, even relationships from generations ago is one of the reasons genealogy research and programs such as Finding Your Roots are so popular today.  In the recently published book His Sword A Scalpel, I discovered an unexpected relationship.

His Sword A Scalpel

The book chronicles the life and military medical career of Dr. Charles Stuart Tripler, my husband’s fourth great-grandfather.  Published by the Michigan Civil War Association, Dr. Tripler’s role as the first Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac is documented with stunning detail. 

As a key member of Dr. Tripler’s staff, Charles Ravenscroft Greenleaf, M.D., his association comes up in Appendix XXI.  He was a young doctor at the time of his association with Dr. Tripler but went on to have a distinguished career in the military.  Dr. Charles Greenleaf was the grandson of Simon Greenleaf an American Lawyer and jurist.  The Greenleafs were an old Massachuchuttes family as far back as the mid-1600s. 

Discovering Connections Influencing Today

Simon Greenleaf was a Professor at Harvard Law School and is an important figure in the development of that Christian school of thought known as legal or juridical apologetics.  It is this focus that led, in the 1980’s the founding of Simon Greenleaf School of Law, now Trinity Law School, where my husband received his Masters in Christian Apologetics.  

Discovering ConnectionsAt the time, we had no idea that there had been a previous connection to the Greenleaf family.  To us, the name Greenleaf was some distant formidable figure inspiring a place where my husband’s calling and skills were honed.  

Discovering Simon Greenleaf’s grandson served under Dr. Tripler as Medical Director in the Civil  War Peninsula Campaign makes it more personal.   Dr. Greenleaf’s obituary, mentions the relationship:

” He (Dr. Greenleaf) was selected as Assistant by the distinguished Medical Director of the Army of the Potomac, Charles S. Tripler, and served under him through the Peninsular campaign….”

Rescuing one’s stories can open up doors to discovering connections otherwise lost.  It adds depth to one’s life, rather like a well-woven tapestry or masterpiece painting.  It adds beauty otherwise buried.  

What story will you capture?  The Free legacy PDF will help you start.  Please comment below, or email me at: ncullen@cfaith.com


I am a former air traffic controller, pilot, Aircoupe owner, married 42 years to a great guy. We live in a 125+ year old historic Victorian, enjoy cats, vintage anything, precious friends. My passion is Giving Lost Stories A Voice – Giving Found Materials Fresh Form and Purpose!

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