Memorial service held for Patriots of the American Revolution

Scott Britton, local historian and member of the Marietta chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, gave a historical account of Commodore Abraham Whipple and his part in the Gaspee Affair in 1772.

The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) held a memorial service for the Patriots of the American Revolution and the Northwest Territory on Thursday at St. Paul’s Church on Fifth Street, having to move indoors from Mound Cemetery due to weather.

The ceremony opened with a welcome and greeting from Doug Pettit, president of the Marietta chapter of the SAR, and the advancing of colors by a combined group of the Ohio Society SAR (OHSSAR) Color Guard lead by Commander Robert Hill. This was followed by an invocation from Chaplain Robert K. Grumbling and welcome by Marietta Mayor Josh Schlicher.

A special greeting by OHSSAR President John H. Bredenfoerder was also given in which he thanked the Marietta chapter members, and all those gathered from around Ohio, for their participation in the event Thursday.

“If we don’t do what we’re doing,” Bredenfoerder said, “this can fade into the past of history. It’s our duty to make other people aware of the sacrifices that our ancestors gave, and the ideals that they’ve set forth in our country.”

Keynote speaker and local historian Scott Britton then gave a detailed history of Commodore Abraham Whipple’s — and other Marietta pioneers that included John Brown — involvement in the Gaspee Affair of 1772, in which Whipple led a group of the Sons of Liberty in the boarding and burning of the HMS Gaspee.

Photos by Douglass Huxley Members of the Sons of the American Revolution during the retiring of the colors Thursday at St. Paul’s Church in Marietta.

This was the first armed and open act of rebellion by the American colonies. He stated that John Paul Jones, a junior officer to Whipple, is known as the father of the U.S. Navy, but Commodore Whipple “is the grandfather of the American Navy.”

He ended with a quote written on a monument located in Oak Grove Cemetery which says, “Names pass away, but deeds live on.”

“In this modern time,” Britton concluded, “let us be the rightful inheritors of all that they have done and sacrificed for freedom.”

The ceremony wrapped up with a retiring of the colors by the OHSSAR and a benediction by Grumbling. A musket salute was scheduled but postponed due to rain.

Once the rain cleared there was plans to continue with the salute, a tour of Mound Cemetery, a procession to Oak Grove Cemetery and Mitchel Varnum’s grave, ending at the Northwest Territory Museum at Campus Martius and a visit with Color Guard members and a chance to learn more about area patriot and pioneers.

Members of the Son of the American Revolution talked with one another during the memorial service Thursday at St. Paul’s Church on Fifth Street.

Douglass Huxley can be reached at



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