Many celebrate Independence Day with fireworks and barbecues, but a trip to area cemeteries will reveal graves of soldiers who fought the British to secure that freedom.
July 4, 1776, marks the day 13 colonies proclaimed independence from England, which ultimately lead to the formation of the United States. In the area, four known veterans of the Revolutionary War are buried.
Timothy Brown was born in the state of New Jersey in 1760 and enlisted at 16 years old as a substitute for his father, according to an article published in The Washington Press on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 1903. While scaling a wall, Brown was shot in the thigh and applied for a pension on June 2, 1818.
Brown lived to be 92 years old and died in Iowa in 1852, just after the state was officially established in 1846, according to the article. He was initially burred in Todd Cemetery in Grace Hill, now abandoned, according to FindAGrave.com.
His remains were exhumed in 1903 in a ceremony conducted by the Daughters of the American Revolution, local veterans and the Women’s Relief Corps. He was reburied in the veterans circle in Elm Grove Cemetery in Washington, according to the 1903 article. A monument was erected in 1907 and was paid for by the state of Iowa and citizens of Washington, according to the inscription on the stone.
“If Brown could have foreseen all that, he would have suggested that his name be changed from Timothy to Clover, for he was in clover, and the tallest hero we have,” the article reads.
Samuel Lewis was born in Maryland on Sept. 17, 1766, and died in Brighton on Dec. 21, 1851, according to FindAGrave.com. According to his gravestone in the Hillcrest Cemetery, Lewis was a revolutionary soldier. His son, William B. Lewis, was born in Kentucky in 1806 and settled in Brighton in 1844 on a stretch of land north of the Skunk River, according to Bryan Kendall, the head commissioner of the Washington Historic Preservation Commission.
William B. Lewis was elected to the state senate in 1860, and his home was located near Ivy Avenue in Brighton Township Section 9 until 1906 and was likely torn down or moved by 1920, Kendall said. Portions of the Lewis’ land were next to land owned by Henry Lowe, the son-in-law of Timothy Brown. In 1850, Timothy and Samuel where living with family on their respected properties.
Born in Baltimore, Md., on Christmas Day in 1763, Charles Shepherd enlisted in Yorktown, Pa., in 1777 and served for three years and nine months as a matross, a soldier of artillery, on the Pennsylvania line. Before he was discharged in Trenton, N.J., in 1781, Shepherd took part in Gen. Sullivan’s western expedition.
By 1840, Shepherd’s name appeared in the Iowa Territorial census, marking him as a resident of Henry County and living with his wife and a son. His other two sons were registered as living in Jefferson County.
Shepherd died in September 1844 in his cabin near the Skunk River in Trenton Township, according to Daughters of the American Revolution James Harlan Chapter member Pat White. As reported in the Nashua Reporter on Dec. 12, 1901, the local DAR chapter petitioned the state legislature for a monument over Shepherd’s grave. On Sept. 18, 1903, The Ottumwa Daily Courier reported the stone came at a cost of $500 and a large dedication ceremony was performed at his gravesite in the Forest Home Cemetery.
Jacob Wiley was born in 1753 and served in the 12th Albany Militia in New York. On Sept. 16, 1846, he died at the age of 93 and was buried in plot 35 in the Pioneer Cemetery in Cedar Township in Jefferson County. The plot is south of the Cedar Creek Bridge, according to FindAGrave.com.
A monument was erected in 1929 on the side of the road by the Log Cabin Chapter of the DAR. Wiley is thought to be the only known veteran of the Revolutionary War buried in Jefferson County.