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A Historical Lottery: Europe to Appalachia and Beyond - A Ramsey Family Through 1500 Years of Social and Cultural Change
by Richard T. Childress
This ambitious work spans 1500 years of history from the pagan Saxon area in continental Europe though England to lowland Scotland, Northern Ireland, and on to the American frontier. It draws upon published works that are summarized to describe the cultural, political, religious, and economic facets of European history that formed the values of millions of people with similar backgrounds as the Ramsey family.
The journey from Northern Ireland through the initial Ramsey immigration to Pennsylvania is detailed along with the subsequent migration through the Shenandoah Valley counties following the frontier into deep Appalachia in central West Virginia. More than genealogy or academic description of the subcultures encountered, the book humanizes the experiences with tragedy and triumph, local color, and detailed narratives of political and religious changes from the American Revolution through the Civil War and the end of the frontier.
The work contains never before published material on the Civil War in Appalachia that deeply affected the Ramsey family, collateral relatives, and the State of West Virginia. Included are photographs along with battle and migration maps. A section is also devoted to the Childress family, earlier migrants to the James River settlements, then to North Carolina and Virginia. The work includes colorful oral histories and substantial archival material from national repositories to local courthouses and historical societies. It attacks popular stereotypes of Appalachia while retaining its distinct character through time.
The work is intended to be a valuable contribution to descendants of the families within the book, but also a comprehensive reference work for Americans with similar ethnic origins in Europe that migrated with millions of others to the first American frontier.
It is supplemented with appendices covering military service, burial locations, pedigree charts, an extensive bibliography and a comprehensive index.
About the Author:
Richard T. Childress was born in Huntington, West Virginia, on November 22, 1942, and the son of Grover B. Childress and Zenna (Ramsey Childress. After graduation from the University of Cincinnati in 1964, he accepted a Regular Army commission and saw military service in the United States, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand and Germany. During his military career, he entered the Army’s Foreign Area Program as a specialist in Asian Affairs.
Mr. Childress is an internationally known Asian specialist, with in-depth knowledge of Asian culture and broad experience in national security, foreign policy, economic and commercial matters regarding Asia. As Director, Asian Affairs at the White House on the National Security Council staff, he was the senior White House advisor to the Secretary of State and official delegate to each Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting from 1981 through 1988. He led or participated in each United States policy delegation to Vietnam and Laos from 1982 to 1989, Mr. Childress was National Security Council representative on each U.S. Government interagency group in Southeast Asian Affairs between 1982 and 1989, and NSC advisor to two Presidential emissaries (Senator Paul Laxalt to the Philippines and General John Vessey to Vietnam). He was NSC liaison with the US-ASEAN Business Council, the US/ASEAN Center for Technology Transfer and the US-Philippine Business Council. Mr. Childress was a designated surrogate speaker for President Ronald Reagan.
Upon leaving government, Mr. Childress established a successful Washington- based consulting firm, Asian Investment Strategies, engaged by the U.S. business community focused on ASEAN. Its clients ranged from Fortune 500 companies to small and mid-size firms wishing to compete with international corporations in ASEAN. He cofounded a power development corporation, the Asian Energy Corporation.
Mr. Childress remains active in public affairs and public policy, and has been a speaker at Asia-related forums such as the Asia Society, Carnegie Foundation, Aspen Institute of the United States and various universities. He has appeared on numerous national network news programs and has been an expert witness on Asian affairs in many Congressional hearings. Mr. Childress’ honors and awards include commendations from Presidents Reagan and Bush, the Secretaries of State and Defense, and each Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs from 1982 through 1989. He has received humanitarian awards from several foreign governments for his work, from the National League of Families of American Prisoners of War and Missing in Action, and from SERTOMA. He is an Army PACE award winner. He is the recipient of 24 military awards and decorations including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf, the Bronze Star Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, parachutist wings and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Mr. Childress holds an AA and BA in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati, an MA in Asian studies from the University of Arizona, and has further post-graduate work at the University of Kansas and the University of Oklahoma. His military education includes 15 professional courses of study including officer basic and advanced courses, the Command and General Staff College and Senior Service College and a one-year study and travel sabbatical in Southeast Asia as an Army Foreign Area Officer. In addition, he has received formal language training and speaks Vietnamese, Thai and German.
Previous writing includes published conference papers hosted by CSIS, the Heritage Foundation, the Asia Society, the Stanley Foundation and the Aspen Institute. His work is also found in Reversing Relations with Former Adversaries, ed. C. Richard Nelson and Kenneth Weiserode, University of Florida Press, 1989; The Thai Challenge: Balancing the Superpower Triangle through a Period of Regional Change, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley, 1990. Unpublished academic papers include Protest and Executive Change, University of Kansas, 1972; The Prince and the Poppy: Politics and Narcotics in Southeast Asia, University of Arizona, 1976; Psycho-Social Element of Power in India, Strategic Appraisal, USACGSC, 1973; Inertial Change in India, University of Kansas, 1973; Southeast Asia, US Global Strategy Council 1993.
Mr. Childress is married to Elli (Grossmann) Childress. They have one son, Tyrone Richard Childress, who is married to Kristin (Vopicka) Childress and two granddaughters, Monique and Ainsley.
(2016, Hardcover, 776 pages)