Mound Cemetery Patriot Tour
A densely concentrated point where Marietta’s pioneer past intersects with the present is Mound Cemetery. Many of the Revolutionary War veterans who ventured west after independence found their final resting place in the leafy shade surrounding the Adena earthworks after which the cemetery is named.
Those veterans have some little-known history that precedes their arrival in the Ohio country, and anyone interested in learning more can accompany Scott Britton, the executive director at The Castle, on a quiet but intense tour of the grounds Saturday morning as a way of marking the Independence Day holiday period.
“We’ll be going through different aspects that revolve around the American Revolution and the founding of Marietta, the stories of some of the pioneer settlers and their military service for independence,” Britton said this week. “Some served at Lexington and Concord, from the start right through to the end. There are stories of mutinies, naval battles, things that aren’t part of your standard American History lessons.”
Britton said he conducts the tours about twice a year, with a different cast of characters each time, although he still hits some of the high points with every tour.
“One who is popular is Rufus Putnam. He was the leader of our founding group, and he was uniquely involved in planning an operation that forced the British to evacuate Boston,” Britton said. “He built fortifications overnight in the middle of winter. It was an engineering marvel that included bringing in cannons from the upper New York wilderness. The British went to bed one night and woke up the next morning looking at a complete fortification and artillery on Dorchester Heights.”
Putnam was a general in the Continental Army.
Another interesting figure, Britton said, was Josiah Munro, born and raised in Lexington, Mass.
“The family home is still there on Lexington Green, where the first shots of the war were fired. A large proportion of his family was there, and his uncle Capt. John Parker was leader of the local militia,” Britton said.
On Wednesday afternoon, a crew from the city strode about the otherwise silent grounds, trimming around graves, walkways and fences.
“We come through here every couple of weeks,” Grant Nolen, 19, said. “Trim it up, make everything look good.”
Derek Wheeler, 18, said he feels surrounded by history when working there.
“Some of these headstones, they’re over 100 years old,” he said.
“Sometimes, we’ll come across one that’s fallen over, and I’ll set it back up if I can,” Nolen said.
The Adena mound around which the cemetery is laid is the centerpiece of the grounds, shrouded by large trees.
“People are always intrigued by the mound, and it’s a credit to those who settled here that they set it aside for preservation,” Britton said. “They made sure this mound and some of the other earthworks were protected, and to this day, the best way to ensure something remains undisturbed is to bury your dead there.”
The Mound Cemetery Patriots Tour begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at the gates of the cemetery on Fifth Street near Scammel Street. The cost is $8, and Britton said the tour will last between an hour and 90 minutes.