When Rick Reynolds was a social studies teacher at O'Rourke Middle School in Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District, he had a history buff's dream come true when he found out that one of his ancestors played an integral part in our country's formative years.
I decided over the course of the last 15 years to pretty much research his life and know everything I could about him, said Reynolds, now retired and the Town of Ballston historian.
The "he" Reynolds vowed to discover was Samuel Meredith, treasurer of the United States under Presidents George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the late 1700s.
And according to a note in an old Reynolds family Bible, Meredith wasn't just keeper of the nation's financial records but he was also Reynolds' great great great great grandfather.
"It's pretty amazing that here I was social studies teacher for 37 years and I'm related to somebody that was really quite famous," said Reynolds. "He did an incredible service to our country and I like to think that I'm kind of carrying on that tradition and doing a service to our community."
Reynolds helps Meredith live on in about the best way possible: reenactment.
"I dress like him, I speak like people would have spoken in the 1790s," said Reynolds.
Reynolds takes his Meredith character to classrooms and community venues to share with audience members what life was like in colonial America. His next appearance will be Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m. at the Town of Ballston Community Library.
"I want them to know what life was like a long time ago. I want them to take and relate to what life is like today because I truly believe history is not about the past, history is about the present because everything we are is because of what we were," said Reynolds.