In the Prologue, Gertrude summarizes the Cody family history, their emigration to colonial New England, the struggle to make a home, their role in the Revolutionary War and subsequent migration to New York State, Upper Canada, and Ohio. She recalls the rigors of that pioneer life and the sacrifice and isolation that inspired our ancestors to write letters that still survive, reminding us of their fondest hopes and dreams.

Then, as if with second sight, as though the letters themselves were speaking through her, she poses the universal questions that all parents ask themselves,  that is how to  help the children  learn what is

expected of them as adults and should they strive just for their own personal gain, or work together for larger goals. Individual profit or collective benefit? Duty or desire? The answers lie within.


They came to this new land in small sailing vessels. They befriended the Indians and sought out sections of land as "land grants" from King George. Later, four or more fought in the Revolution. They traveled west on plank roads and sometimes drove over the frozen lakes to find families already settled, 300 or so. lt was as though they got needed vitamins when they dug plantains and dandelion greens for food. Their early letters have no stamps, only the post office man’s seal. All over America there are the descendants of those who built our country. But my family never destroyed letters. I inherited a trunk full. Some are scarcely legible.   A voice said in my 89 year old ears:   "You are the last one in this line of the family and you still have your eyesight-tho dim—the next generation may say ’let’s just dump the letters in the burning pile.   Why bother!   We have enough of today’s history to worry about, with new, heavier problems."   "No, No."   said the voice within me, "At least you can read and leave a condensed account of what the ancestors did. How can you tell the ones to come, in the future, what is expected of them unless they learn what kind of people made up their background? Did they accomplish good, or live just for their own gain? So this short, short account is written through greatly disciplined hours so that you can tell your descendants what their ancestors did, in sacrifice and struggle to build this country which we hope you will maintain. America is so needed. We must continue to make it a Pattern of Concern and Courage for the whole world.   My love to all of you who, through self-denial, will have a part in the Greater Future of Maintaining America, U.S.A. which those who came in small boats and drove on plank roads, fought and died to build.


The International Cody Family Association