OXFORD — A special "Patriot Burials Marker" plaque unveiling ceremony was held at the Warn-TenBrouck Cemetery on October 9. The event honored nine Revolutionary War veterans who were interred in Warn-TenBrouck.
Among those attending the ceremony were representatives from the Binghamton Chapter of the Empire State Society Sons of the American Revolution (ESSSAR), Oxford Town/Village Historian Vicky House, descendants of the veterans, and the American Legion Honor Guard of Fort Hill Post 376. Era appropriate flags waved, and a thunderous rifle volley by the American Legion upon the hillside, along with two costumed historic figures, gave the impression that you'd stepped back over two centuries in time.
The event was officiated by Mark Burdick, SAR member. Vicky House, Oxford Historian, was the main guest speaker. Jeanne Ketcham represented the Tuscarora Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she donated the nine flag holders. SAR Finger Lakes Chapter and a War of 1812 Society member Wayne Thurston led the Pledge.
Adding historic color, Wayne wore an authentic period, patriot's fringed "Rifleman's Frock." Also in 18th century garb was George Cummings, who donned a full Revolutionary War uniform. George is a member of the Black Powder Guild, “Old Hickory Long Guns,” and lecturer with the Newark Valley Historical Society.
The nine patriots honored were John Bartle (1736-1808), Zophar Betts (1761-1842), John Fitch (1758-1824), Abraham Hollenbeck (1763-1844), Beniah Loomis (1751-1838), Luke Metcalf (1763-1835), John TenBroeck (1760-1851), Richard Warn (1741-1800, and Asa Wells (1756-1841). Richard Warn and John TenBroeck are the namesakes of the cemetery.
Vicky's speech brought to light the historic origin of the cemetery and detailed the lives of the veterans, both before and after they served. It gave everyone a glimpse of the men being honored as well as making them a reality to the guests, and especially to the relatives who came. It was an emotional connection for some. Their great-grandfathers, four times removed, were laid to rest in what was once the TenBroeck farm in South Oxford, first called the TenBroeck Burying Yard. These nine souls, along with their wives and children, will always be symbolically remembered with this historic marker.
Descendants attending were Brian, Neil, and Carson Bartle, and family, for John Bartle, Gerald French for Beniah Loomis, and Debby Wells for Asa Wells.
The "Patriot Burials Marker Program" is funded by the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. It's a special historic marker series commemorating patriots who fought in or were involved with the struggle for American independence, and who are interred in New York State. The program provides the ESSSAR chapters the opportunity to apply directly for historic markers for cemeteries where Revolutionary War patriots are buried. For more information, email SAR-Binghamton@hotmail.com.
For more history, Vicky House will be speaking at the American Legion Post 376 at 6 p.m. on October 25, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Her research will be a power point presentation titled, "The Unknown — The Story of the Unknown Soldier." Fort Hill Post 376 is located at 17 S. Washington Avenue.
For inquiries about the presentation, call the American Legion at (607) 843-8166. For more information on Post 376, visit oxfordlegion.com. This event is open to the public and refreshments will be served by the American Legion Auxiliary.
-by Jeanie Petersen, Sun Contributor