Your Heirloom

Time Travel Tour to Your Ancestors Create a Family Monument

Beyond the Time Travel, the family will always treasure the monuments the tour creates from family history books to actual granite monuments provided free of charge by Veteran Affairs!

Numerous events in your family's history are worthy of memorialization, and Time Travel Tours will assist you to select and enshrine those moments.

One of the most accesible moments to create a monument for, is your family's participation in the Civil War. The Federal Government provides a beautiful headstone free of charge to any family who wishes to honor their past military service. Few moments are more important to a family then the moment they won their own freedom. Many families have not had the chance to research their history to the 1860s, but, with the huge overrepresentation of African Americans in this grand act of liberation Time Travel Tours is certain we can find a family relative in every family tree. The United States Colored Troops made up over ten percent of the Union or Northern Army even though they were prohibited from joining until July 1862, fifteen months into the war. They comprised twenty-five percent of the Union navy. Yet, only one percent of the Northern population was African American. Clearly overrepresented in the military, African Americans played a decisive role in the Civil War.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. ... Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.” To ensure the sacrifices of your family's heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance. The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.

With Time Travel Tours, your family can have a granite center to the focus of your memorial day commemorations for centuries to come.

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Descendents of Stephen A. Swails gather for a photo with re-enactors from the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. For more than a century, Lt. Stephen Atkins Swails has lain in an unmarked grave in Charleston, S.C., his life story largely forgotten. But recently, local historians held a long overdue ceremony honoring the life of the extraordinary African-Descent American soldier and statesman. Swails was a member of the famous 54th Massachusetts Regiment, one of the country's first African-Descent fighting units, famous for storming Fort Wagner in South Carolina. The unit's story was told in the Hollywood film Glory. He was one of a few Northern soldiers who decided to make a new life in the very towns where they'd just done battle. After he was discharged, the New York native moved to Kingstree. And less than two years later, Swails rode the new voting power of emancipated Americans of African-Descent to the state Senate on the Republican ticket. It was a victory that the area's enslavers certainly did not welcome, and with the end of reconstruction he was run out of town at the threat of death. His family was now able to come down and honor him with a befitting monument for all time.

When Henry Benjamin Noisette escaped slavery and volunteered to serve in the United States Navy in 1862 he became not only a veteran of the Civil War, he became an American hero. The men and women of African descent who volunteered for the Union where not fighting and dying for Country. They fought for a more noble cause than flag or country, they fought for Freedom. But what made them heroes is that it was not their own freedom that they were fighting for but the freedom of 5 million men women and children who were living and dying as slaves in this United States of America. And what truer definition of a hero can you have than a person who would lay down his or her life for another. In joining the US Navy, Henry would encounter none of the prejudice to black men enlisting that prevented service in the Army until after the Emancipation Proclamation. African-American sailors had served with distinction in the Navy during the Revolutionary war and the War of 1812. The Secretary of the Navy endorsed enlistment of former slaves in 1861. Henry joined almost 19,000 black men and 11 women who served in the Union Navy during the Civil War, seven of whom would earn the nation highest honor. Of the 19,000, 800 were killed, wounded or captured in battle and 1000 died of disease Henry was discharged from the Navy in June of 1863 at the rank of 1st Class Boy. He would return to Charleston after the war and work as a carpenter and help found the first post war Housing Project, and organized one of the first post war African American Cemetery socities, and encouraging his younger brother Louis Noisette to join the war effort as a 13 year old drummer boy in the 33rd USCT in 1865. His residence was at 6 Ogier Street. He died on October 3, 1911 at the age of 70. The descendants gathered to dedicate a USCT Veteran's grave marker for Henry Benjamin Noisette on Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, 2010 during a ceremony in Charleston, S.C. The gravestone in the Friendly Charitable Association Cemetery was unveiled by Robert and Roberta Frasier, 61-year-old twins who are Noisette's great-grandchildren. Citadel cadets sang the Navy Hymn to close the ceremony.

Descendents of Louis Noisette gather to commemorate his Civil War Service. Carmen Sims, right, from California, is the great-great granddaughter, and Taja Harper, 13, left, and Nia Harper, 8, front, also from California, are the great-great-great granddaughters of Louis Noisette, a United States Colored Troops Civil War soldier, who is dedicated with a grave marker at Laurel Grove South Cemetery on Sunday. The marker is the first Haitian-American Civil War marker known in the nation. Photo: Hunter McRae/Savannah Morning News The marker is located in Laurel Grove South Cemetery. "We are here to celebrate Veterans Day and all those who have served, including Louis Noisette," said Lex Musta, a worker for Time Travel Tours. On March 29, 1865, Louis Noisette enlisted in the 33rd Regiment Company F of the United States Colored Troops as a drummer. The unit had just helped liberate Charleston, S.C., the capital of the first state to succeed from the Union. After he enlisted, Louis Noisette fought to liberate his mother and sister in Savannah. "I remember that he wore the drum corp uniform, that is, I remember the cap and jacket, and that they were kind of bluish," said Louis' mother in a testimonial. He died in February 1881 and was buried in the family plot in Laurel Grove South in an unmarked grave. The grave remained unmarked, until Sunday. "I've learned a lot of things about my family that I didn't know anything about," said Paula Noisette, Louis' great-great-granddaughter. Members of the Savannah State Glee Club Alumni sang two spirituals during the ceremony. As the melodies floated between the trees and over the headstones, more than a few of the people gathered wiped away tears. After the ceremony, the family went to First Bryan Baptist Church where Louis Noisette attended as a child and some members of the family are still parishioners. Barry Noisette, Paula's son and Louis' great-great-great-grandson said "We had learned about the Civil War (in school), the whole thing gave me a different point of view." With Time Travel Tours's help, the family had a reunion in February 2006 in New York City, and has continued to hold them, with its next planned for August 2015. "I'm very proud to be a part of this family," Paula Noisette said. "It has brought us all together."

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