Mound Cemetery program celebrates Revolutionary War patriots
Surrounded by sunshine and blue skies, representatives from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution honored pioneers and patriots during their annual gathering on Thursday in Marietta.
“Our ceremony today is for our Revolutionary War Veterans of the Northwest Territory,” said Tony Durm, president of the Marietta Chapter of the SAR. “After the war many of them migrated to what became the Northwest Territory and lived and died here … this is to honor their service and their sacrifice.”
The ceremony was held at Mound Cemetery, which is a burial location that is rich in foundational American history. According to local historian Scott Britton, Mound Cemetery has the most officers of any Revolutionary War cemetery in the United States.
Largely due to the pioneering and persistence of many of those who lay to rest in the cemetery today, the Northwest Ordinance was created in 1787 and opened the possibilities of expansion and freedom of all into the west.
“Of those 19 officers and the other 20 soldiers and sailors buried here, along with the descendants of countless more of those veterans that settled in this county, they give us a connection to the monumental events and battles of that struggle,” Britton said.
There are a suspected 37 Revolutionary War veterans buried in Mound Cemetery specifically, and many more throughout Washington County as a whole. The nearby Oak Grove Cemetery is also home to several key war heroes.
Many of those buried at Mound Cemetery played key, pivotal roles in events that established American independence in addition to rebellious battle, according to Britton, ranging from presence at the Boston Tea Party to the crossing of the Delaware River with Gen. George Washington.
Famous American Commodore Abraham Whipple is among the buried, and according to Britton he led one of the first open rebellions against the British. When contacted by King George, who sentenced him to death for treason, his witty response was, ‘Sir, always catch a man before you hang him.’
Other notable figures in both national and local history that are buried in Marietta include generals Rufus Putnam and Benjamin Tupper. Putnam went on to be appointed Surveyor of Western Lands and led the expedition that founded Marietta in 1788.
Ohio’s Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard Commander Robert Hill led the musket salute, and several different chapters laid down floral wreaths in honor of the buried soldiers. Honorary flags with names attached rippled in the wind.
“It’s not just veterans, it’s not just patriots, it’s people and they are really the ones that made this happen,” Durm said. “Marietta is the first footstep outside the original 13 states, so this is literally where the entire expansion of the United States began.”
With the smell of gunpowder in the air and applause from those in attendance, the ceremony began the festivities of honoring the nation’s heroes this Memorial Day Weekend.