Norwalk Reflector: 'Worthy of Remembrance' - book launch by local DAR chapter
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'Worthy of Remembrance' - book launch by local DAR chapter

By JUDITH LINDER-ASHAKIH • May 8, 2019 at 9:00 PM

The completion of an eight-year project to find, photograph and list Revolutionary War veteran graves in Huron County was celebrated this past weekend by the Sally De Forest Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) members.

The result is their book, “Worthy of Remembrance — Revolutionary War Soldiers Buried in Huron County.”

It was supposed to be a fun summer project in the sun by Sally Jenkins assisted by her daughter, Natalie Iafolla. They never expected it to turn into treks through storms, muddy lanes, hedgerows filled with poison ivy, briars and wasps too. They never expected to be led by the memories of elderly locals to discover lost, illegible tombstones in someone's back field. These graves are almost 200 years old, often hard to find, often no stone in sight. GPS co-ordinates didn't work either. "It's always something," as Guilda Radnor used to say.

This reception honored the dedication, persistence, and patience of the members whose research found many contradictory lists of soldiers who had lived in Huron County. Were they buried here or had they moved on? When a grave was found a brass marker was placed next to it; markers requested by Ann Stoddard which were provided by the Veterans Services of Huron County.

The search was for 170 soldiers thought to be buried in Huron County in 32 cemeteries plus several family sites. 14 were unknown sites. Another 52 weren’t found, however these possibly could be in Erie County. The Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions, 1997, Huron County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society reference book of graves was used extensively by so many researchers that the binding broke down, the pages are tattered.

Anna Bristol volunteered to sort and edit all the mass of material. In a three-year effort she computerized and managed to bring the collection to completion.

In 2018, thanks to the work of all these volunteers, 36 more flag holders mark the graves of local Revolutionary War soldiers.

"After 60 years of collecting historical facts, material continues to turn up,” local historian and Son of the American Revolution, Henry Timman said, adding records on hand need to be preserved.

"History isn't dead; it isn't even over," Timman said, quoting another historian, Barbara Tuchman.

He continues to find information on newly discovered veterans as documents come to light. Considering that in 1812 many records were destroyed by the British, some of which have been re-recorded from State records. Timman reminded us that the National Archives of the USA was not founded until 1935, accounting for the fact that many records will never be recovered.

Many thanks go to Henry Timman who donated a photograph of an oil painting of actual veteran, Abner Baker, born 1754, died 1845, from Northhampton, MA. Baker's portrait is uniquely rare showing him as an everyday soldier, since usually surviving portraits are of officers and generals. The photo of Baker's portrait is included in the new volume.

Volunteers worked long hours to collect reams of information such as the names and origins of veterans in eastern states, their length and type of service, as well as their connections to Huron County. Volunteers are LaVonne Ayers, Mary Ann Beaudoin, Connie Beebe, Diane Eswine, Susan Essex, Nancy Iafolla, Sally Jenkins, Laura and Paul Knott, Jodie Logan, Diane Meyers, Alice Schauss, Regent, Sandra Shope, Mary Stewart, Ann Stoddard, former Regent, and (deceased) Boyd Weber. They each received a DAR Chapter pin of recognition.

Lance Beebe, SAR, who's connection to the Revolution is through Robert Porterfield of Maine, appeared at the celebration dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform from Maine. As there was no standard uniform for all the states, Beebe wore a navy blue uniform and tricorn hat in period style. Beebe, who retired as a major from the US Air Force, put his own rank on his uniform, but in silver epaulets. Gold epaulets were only for General Washington.

Kyle von Kamp dressed in civilian garb of red frock coat, the style in the 1770s, which as a reproduction, has 18th century buttonholes. It's metal buttons are made from a mold of 1756 buttons from Ft. Mackinac, MI. His tricorn hat is of French-Indian War style.

von Kamp teaches eighth grade history in Willard. He explained that his students participate in the Revolutionary War by researching both on-line and other sources to write a personal history narrative of a chosen veteran from Huron County. Students dress in period clothing. They learn period crafts and trades. This is all in preparation for the upcoming 14th year event.

This year eighth grade student, Caleb Ousley, found the first error in the commemorative volume. Everyone chuckled at that, after all the warnings of Henry Timman about yet to be discovered information. The DAR members were so impressed that they presented teacher Kyle von Kamp with the funds from their spring fund raising to assist the students' encampment event.

On May 10 and 11, Friday and Saturday, his students will be staging the 14th Revolutionary War re-enactment and encampment. About 40 Willard High School students come to help out.

"There will be mock battles. Students will learn cannon and musket drills. One night will be spent outside in tents during the encampment. History buffs and general public are all invited to attend these events," von Kamp said.

The new volume is now available for sale for $20. Contact Anna Bristol at 419-872-0124 to order your copy. The DAR plans to donate a reference copy to each Huron County library.

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