2019 Blue Water Chapter News & Announcements

BWC Assists with DAR Grave Rededication

The Nipissing Chapter of the DAR held a Rededication ceremony on June 2 in the small rural Webster Cemetery south of Imlay City.

From his home in Massachusetts, Beriah Howard had served several times during the War. At one period, he was a soldier at West Point during the time that Benedict Arnold was attempting to give secrets to the British. After the war, members of his family moved to western New York and then on to Michigan. Beriah was living with his daughter, Lavinia, when he died in Lapeer County on 27 July 1840. His was one of the first burials in Webster Cemetery.

Four members of the Blue Water Chapter participated in the MISSAR Color Guard that assisted with the ceremony. The Guard marched in and presented the colors to open the event. Nipissing Regent Pamela Hotary hosted the ceremony, introduced guests, and gave a brief history of the Chapter. Blue Water Chapter Secretary James Wade stepped out of the Color Guard briefly to serve in his role as Almont Historical Society President and presented a biographical sketch of Pvt. Howard. Following the unveiling of the plaque, the Almont American Legion offered a 21-gun salute. Immediately following, Color Guard Commander Gerald Burkland and Vice Commander Norman Palmer offered the MISSAR Sword Salute, the highest honor the Guard can bestow.

Members of the Mark and Henry Schell Chapter of the NSCAR helped as flag guards and by playing taps. Following the graveside ceremony, participants were invited to a reception in Dryden at the Village Hall.

Click the photo above to enter the gallery and learn more about the event.

Photos courtesy Sue Raya

Article by Robert Eager

SAR Patriot Grave Marking Through the Years

Oaks Chapter President John Raya and his wife, Sue, (pictured above) were guest speakers at the May 21st Blue Water Chapter meeting. Sue spoke briefly to the membership about the newly formed MISSAR Ladies Auxiliary before John presented a lecture on how the SAR has recognized the graves of Revolutionary War Patriots in the past and how Michigan chapters are dedicating and rededicating graves now.

John brought an interesting collection of historical markers that he has acquired, including one of the original style markers that was first adopted by the Massachusetts Society in October 1893. He has made a practice of searching antique stores and eBay looking for old markers that have been removed from cemeteries.

John told the gathering the amazing story of how a visit to one antique store in Arizona resulted in a patriot rededication ceremony in Massachusetts. The dealer remembered that he had an item in the back that turned out to be an early style, twelve-inch, cast iron grave marker. Through research, John was able to trace the serial number to the grave of Captain Joshua Bentley who had been buried in the Old Burying Ground in Groton. Captain Bentley, besides his other service during the war, most notably rowed Paul Revere across the Charles River the night of 18 April 1775 so that Revere could make his famous midnight ride. The marker had been missing for 75 years and presumed stolen.

On 5 May 2018, John and other members of the Michigan Society traveled to Groton to return the marker to Bentley’s grave. A joint ceremony featuring attendees in period dress and a regimental group that fired musket volleys honored the occasion. Guests included descendants of both Bentley and Paul Revere.

John also spoke about ceremonies being held in Michigan to either dedicate or rededicate graves of Revolutionary War patriots. He has organized several of these and provided insight into the steps that need to be done and showed example of programs that he has helped to organize. He gave us a couple examples of patriots buried in the Blue Water area that we might like to investigate. Someday our chapter may organize a gravesite dedication program for them.

Also pictured, Theresa Strongarone looks on as chapter members, Cal Jewett and Jack Wilton, examine the 1893 style SAR Patriot Marker.

Article by Robert Eager

Certificate of Appreciation for The Dorsey House

At their May 21 meeting, officers of the Blue Water Chapter presented The Dorsey House Restaurant with a Certificate of Appreciation. The Dorsey House has been the regular meeting location for the chapter since it was formed in 2016. Members of the chapter have appreciated the way the Dorsey House has been able to accommodate their needs and provide a charming historical setting.

The historic Dorsey House, originally built in 1847, served as a half-way house for those traveling by horse and buggy between Port Huron and Yale. The original wooden establishment was demolished in 1995, and a beautiful new building was raised using steel, mortar, and brick.

Pictured above, L-R: Chapter President Gary Pastiva, Vice President Calvin Jewett, Dorsey House Manager Jamie Peters, Secretary James Wade, and Registrar/Genealogist Bob Eager.

Article by Robert Eager

Registrar Bob Eager Receives Roger Sherman Medal

State President Ken Goodson was on hand Tuesday, April 16th, for the Blue Water Chapter meeting and took the opportunity to present chapter registrar and trustee, Bob Eager, with the Roger Sherman Silver Medal.

This medal may be awarded to a compatriot in recognition of, and in appreciation of, outstanding services rendered to a State Society. He must have served as an active officer for a minimum of two years, as an active committee chairman for three years, or as an active member of a committee for four years.

This medal is named after Founding Father Roger Sherman (1721-1793), who was the only person to sign all four Congressional papers of the United States: The Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution.