Independence Day Memorial and Thoughts

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Image Source: https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=43684

 

The Revolutionary War Monument erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Smyth County Virginia holds particular importance for our family on our nation’s Independence Day.

The monument was built in 1996 by the Royal Oak Chapter of the DAR. The pillar memorial is located in Marion Virginia on the front lawn of the Smyth County courthouse.

Names of soldiers who fought for our freedom against the British Empire decorate the sides of the memorial topped by an eagle.

Inscription:

South Side

Dedicated to the eternal memory of the American Revolutionary War Soldiers and patriots from the area which in 1832 became Smyth Couty, Virginia, who sacrificed their lives and fortunes that we might have our freedom and independence.

East Side

George Killinger, Thomas Woolsey, Jr., Richard Williams, Elisha Dungan, Edward Crowe, Joseph Williams, James Scott, Phillip Greever, John Broady, Jacob Anderson, John Anderson, Jr., Henry Bowen, Samuel Buchanan, Justice Hubble, John Mercer, Richard Woolsey, James Houston, Moses Allen, Zachariah Hurt, Joseph Starnes, II, Jenkins Williams, Peter Groseclose, Henry Townsend, Edward Faris, Zachariah Blankenbeckler, Daniel Reamy

North Side

Henry Burkhart, James Buchanan, Nathaniel Harris, John Snider, John Shannon, Thomas Crow, Alexander Outlaw, James Crow, Matthew Bishop, Benoni Banning, Richard Poston, William Armstrong, William Humphries, Lily McIlhaney Bowen, Frederick Slemp, Zephaniah Woolsey, William Woolsey, Sr., Hugh Cole, William Reagan, Nathaniel Hurt, Nicholas Starnes, James Crabtree, John Hennigar, John Jamison, Andrew Hays, Joseph Atkins

West Side

Gen. William Campbell, Col. Arthur Campbell, Capt. Joseph Cole, Jr., Capt John Buchanan, Capt. Levi Bishop, Capt. Robert Davis, Gen. William Tate, Gen. William Russell, Capt. Arthur Bowen, Capt. Charles Bowen, Capt. John Campbell, Col. Robert Campbell, Capt. David Campbell, Lt. Patrick Campbell, Capt. Robert Bowen, Maj. David Campbell, Lt. Robert Sinclair, Capt. John Hays, Ens. William Hays, Capt. James Thompson, Capt. John Campbell, II.

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Image Source: https://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=43684

 

 

The fifth great-grandfather of my husband is listed, Frederick Slemp.

My ancestry included four names on the memorial. Lily McIlhaney (my seventh great-grandmother) and her sons Henry Bowen (my sixth great-grandfather), Capt. Arthur Bowen, Capt. Charles Bowen, and Capt. Robert Bowen. Also, the names Lt. Rober Sinclair and Gen. William Russell can be found in my family tree.

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Amid all the political chaos we find ourselves in today on our nation’s birthday, let us remember that 242 years ago political turmoil surrounded our ancestors. Many stood up for independence from Britain, many supported the British Empire and equally many remained neutral.

The Revolutionary War was not cut and dry. It was not colonists against the big evil British Empire. It was messy. Divided families fought against each other. It was a time of death, grief, and sorrow along with hope and determination.

The Bowen family, which was resoundingly patriotic, had divisions themselves. The Bowen brothers, who fought so hard in the war, had a sister (Rebecca) who married Jonathan Whitley a Torie, a British supporter.

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Bringing the Revolutionary War to present day, the lessons learned 242 years ago are still valid in our modern society. Many people believe history is irrelevant to what is happening today. Why study history? History is in the past.

They could not be farther from the truth. Those who do not take lessons from the past and apply it to the present are doomed to repeat history over and over.

Those who fought in the Revolutionary War were living, breathing, and dying human beings whose concerns were surprising close to our own. They sacrificed everything for what is being taken away from us now.

Divisions are forming in our country today. It is in the air. You can feel it.

However, before tensions in this country erupt irrevocably, take a moment to reflect on the past. Ask yourself, what can we take from history to minimize the damage to our families?

 

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

 

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Thank you for reading.

J. R. Findsen

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