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Beech Grove DAR chapter dedicates local pioneer cemetery, Revolutionary War patriots

Beech Grove DAR chapter dedicates local pioneer cemetery, Revolutionary War patriots

The Samuel Bryan Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was able to proudly present Round Hill Cemetery with signage from the Department of Natural Resources, designating it as an Indiana Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1831. With colors posted by the Greenwood and New Whiteland Honor Guard, guests were seated at the headstones of Revolutionary War patriots, John George and Edward Hall. The guests settled in while watching the chapter flag blow softly and then listened as the history of this cemetery was shared.

A gathering of almost 50 guests and dignitaries descended upon Round Hill Cemetery. Welcomed by Samuel Bryan chapter members, many dressed in period attire, guests were able to participate in a multi-faceted program. Regent Patricia Moy opened the program with greetings, and Chaplain Rainey led the group in prayer. Following the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and American’s Creed by Donita Roberts and Historian Jennifer Lutes respectively, Regent Moy introduced our distinguished guests. They included State America 250! Chair Charlotte Blair, who also brought greetings. Additional greetings were brought by Anthony Green, state president of Children of the American Revolution. 

One of the highlights of our program were the presentations of Patriots John George and Edward Hall. Dressed in period attire, DAR-lings John Lauman and Mike Chilson truly brought these patriots stories to life. While Regent Moy was giving her greetings, a far-off individual kept peeking from behind a tree, watching what we were doing. Soon after, guests were led down a 36-count, flag-lined path to the first gravesite, where they were intrigued to hear in first-person context, Edward Hall’s experiences as a spy in George Washington’s service. Apparently, he still had his spy tendencies and was the gentlemen peeking from behind the trees. Once Edward Hall was honored, another patriot joined us with his military drum and led the guests back down the flag-lined path, while drumming in the quiet cemetery, to the next headstone. Having examples of drum cadences by John Lauman portraying John George, a documented drummer boy for General George Washington, brought us closer to the feel of the battlefield.   

To spark some American history after the cemetery dedication of the pioneer sign, and the placement of wreaths honoring the patriots’ graves, a small bit of recent history was shared with all in attendance. Guests were offered coins as they walked the paths to both patriots’ graves. We shared with them that ceremonies honoring those brave men and women who gave their lives and fortunes for our freedoms are conducted at multiple times of the year. Flowers, flags, parades have been seen honoring them, but have you ever noticed coins on military headstones? We wanted them to embrace the meaning behind coins on military graves. 

According to an article by the Department of Military Affairs, the custom of leaving coins with the deceased can be traced back to the Roman Empire. The custom gained popularity in the U.S. during the Vietnam War as a way to honor the fallen during a time of upheaval and political divide over a controversial war. The coins were a way to quietly honor service members and communicate a message of respect for family members. Not only was this a way to let the deceased service members family know someone was there, but the denomination of the coins each has a distinct and significant meaning. All guests placed coins at each grave and felt the connection between the patriots and their stories. Several made comments that they needed to remember to bring coins each time they went to a cemetery. 

An actual descendant of John George, Samuel Bryan Chapter Member Sharon Allman, in honor of her ancestor John George, was presented flowers from the chapter.  

Wreaths were placed by multiple guests in attendance. The cemetery event was closed out with a rifle volley and TAPS by the Greenwood and New Whiteland Honor Guard. Members of the Honor Guard included Wendell Adams, Tim Morris, Doris Boger, Al Kessinger, Mike Tomes, David Sowder, Don Worthington, Don Metcalf, Irvin Kliethermes and Bob Tuttle. 

The event was followed with a soup reception, organized by Kim Shepherd. Guests were delighted to visit the “funeral-themed” tables. Each table focused on a specific tradition of funerals, such as gravestone meanings, flower choices, or jewelry made of the deceased’s hair. The conversations based on these details were quirky and amusing. The chapter was also able to share the premiere of our “Stories in the Stones” video produced by Paula Kaster and members of the chapter, which enthralled the guests by the tales presented and applauded enthusiastically at the conclusion. The video created is available on YouTube under the chapter name. 

Our Recording Secretary, Gina Abney, was given special thanks for her technical skills for video production, written program development, social media presence and press releases. Jen and Eric Eisberg, whose photography skills continue to amaze and impress us all, provided photos and drone footage of the event. 

DAR is proud to provide recognition in the community to encourage historic preservation of Marion County and Perry Township. 

For DAR membership inquiries and other questions about the Samuel Bryan Chapter, contact them by emailing samuelbryanchapterdar@gmail.com. Their website is samuelbryanchapterdar.org.  

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