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Meet the Author: Connie Curts

Connie Curts began genealogy research more than 45 years ago. Her published articles and public speaking topics outside her profession include historical and current events, profiles, and research techniques. The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) continues circulating her 1984 research on famously photographed Cheyenne elder, Wolf Robe. Her past and present affiliations include the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B), and New England Historical and Genealogical Society (NEHGS), National Genealogical Society (NGS). Her lineage has been accepted by the Society of the First African Families of English America (SOFAFEA) and by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). Her often-patient husband, Brian F. Lawrence, is her valued personal content editor and copy editor.

Her article Fused Legacies of Two Forgotten American Patriots: Benjamin D. Brooker and Caesar Russell, two formerly enslaved men from different states, served in the Continental Army, and reclaimed freedom over 30 years before President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was born. They were stationed in the same military departments and, at times, were assigned to the same restructured regiments. Evidence is unclear whether they met while in uniform, but when Brooker’s sons married Russell’s daughters, these two “Forgotten Patriots” of the American Revolution jointly bequeathed to their descendants the legacy of political freedom, personal freedom, and self-determination. This article focuses on Brooker, who started his seven-year military service as an 11-year-old drummer boy and was furloughed less than three months before the final signing of the peace treaty. Russell enlisted five years after Brooker and served past the end of the war, which will be the topic of a future article.