My great Uncle Stuart Barret passed away on Saturday, October 12, and took with him some of that untold history. The brother of my late grandfather Bill Barret, Stuart was a veteran of the Korean War and a 5th generation descendant of Peter Francisco. He was heavily involved in the Society for the Descendants of Peter Francisco, and I was able to use the traced lineage from his Sons of the American Revolution membership to join myself and both my sons. He provided invaluable assistance with my research for Hercules of the Revolution and also appeared as a guest on my documentary.
I consider myself fortunate to have spent time with him discussing our famous ancestor, yet I know there was still more I could have learned.
I attended Uncle Stuart's burial at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia, the same place where grandmother Barret was laid to rest three years before. Both are now interred near Rosalie Francisco Barret, my great-grandmother, and Peter's great-granddaughter. It is her name that connects me to the Hercules of the Revolution.
The Pastor's homily was truly heartfelt. His personal relationship with my Uncle was evident. He spoke highly of him, and about his time serving along side of him in the United Methodist Church. After presenting the gospel message, he described Stuart's life as one that was in close fellowship with the Lord. These were things about Uncle Stuart I had never heard before.
After being at the burial and hearing about his faith, I greatly wished I had spent more time with him.
Following the service, I was able to talk with family members I hadn't seen in some time and some whom I had never met. Interesting how this place with its circumstances invites us to impromptu reunions of families both past and present. Each time I'm here, it's like I see things for the first time or in a new light. Maybe now I just have reason to appreciate them. This time, I noticed that Peter's descendants – my ancestors – are buried right off a street named Lafayette.
Maybe Uncle Stuart still has a few things left to tell me. As I said goodbye to my Uncle one last time on earth, I know also bid adieu to his treasure of memories and untold history, vaulted away forever from this life.
Thank you for leaving me a bit of your legacy, Uncle Stuart. It lives on.