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Daughters of American Revolution to dedicate marker for 18 veterans interred at Washington Township cemetery
Tribune-Review - 10/3/2022
Oct. 3—In September 2021, members of Poke Run Presbyterian Church in Washington Township installed two new headstones to replace worn away markers in the church cemetery for two Revolutionary War soldiers, Isaac Sadler and John McConnell.
Church officials had been contacted by the Omaha, Neb., chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, whose namesake is Sadler. The DAR told them it was possible that a dozen or more Revolutionary War soldiers were buried in the cemetery, which dates as far back ast 1787. That's the year on the headstone for Revolutionary War veteran John Guthrie.
In late October, Poke Run members will be joined by the local and Omaha DAR chapters in dedicating a marker to the cemetery and the veterans and patriots interred there.
"This has been almost a three-year process," said Doug Ross of Bell Township, who has been working alongside fellow church member Linda Gearhard Chicka of Saltsburg to provide as much information as possible about the veterans in the cemetery to the DAR.
"They were initially investigating 28 names, and ended up with 17 men and one woman," Ross said.
Chicka said the Omaha DAR chapter worked with the Massey Harbison DAR chapter in New Kensington to order new headstones for Sadler and McConnell from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
"They continued doing research on several of the names in a church history book we sent them, and they were able to validate and get approval through the national DAR for 18 veterans," she said.
The woman on the list, Mary Erwin Lochry Guthrie, was not a soldier but was married to two Revolutionary War veterans, Col. Archibald Lochry and, after Lochry's death, Capt. John Guthrie.
She is characterized as a "patriot" by the DAR because she paid the supply tax to support the war effort while living as a widow in Mt. Pleasant.
Validating a name requires proof that the person was paid by the government, either for wartime service, by way of a military pension or by way of property records.
"In the Revolutionary War, a lot of soldiers were volunteers or militia members," Chicka said. "About eight individuals on the DAR's list have headstones, and we know the location of their burial. As for the others, it's believed they're buried here because they were church members at one time."
DAR officials from New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Arizona and Omaha will attend the Oct. 29 dedication ceremony.
"It's a large stone being delivered from California with a plaque that's got all 18 names," Ross said.
The Omaha DAR chapter also will dedicate a separate marker at Sadler's grave, identifying him as their namesake.
The 1 p.m. dedication ceremony will take place at the cemetery, 1091 Poke Run Church Road, in Washington Township. With limited parking at the church, Chicka said plans are to run a shuttle from additional parking areas, and that attendees should arrive early.
Chicka said people planning to attend the dedication can call the church at 724-327-5563, adding that they are hoping to have an RSVP option up and running soon on the church's website at PokeRunChurch.com.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .
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