Three Revolutionary War veterans whose burial sites were discovered in Fulton County two years ago will be honored for their military service in public ceremonies June 15.
The celebration will spotlight one of only two of the war’s Navy officers known to be buried in Ohio.
The Northwest Territory Chapter of the Ohio Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (OSSAR) will conduct “Patriot’s Recognition Day” ceremonies for William Holland, Phineas Brown, and Richard Tiney at their resting places in Fulton County’s Aetna and Edgar cemeteries.
The burial site of a fourth Revolutionary War fighter, Gideon Braley, was found in Fulton Union Cemetery in 2010.
The four veterans are among nine American Revolution patriots named on a list found at the Fulton County Courthouse in 2017, during OSSAR research of World War I soldiers. All had family locally but the others were buried elsewhere.
“That shocked me,” said OSSAR member David Lupien of finding the names. “I didn’t know they were going to be there.”
Lupien said recognition of the patriots is fitting. “These are our founding fathers. Without them, there would be no America,” he said.
The approximately three-hour program will begin at 1 p.m. in Edgar Cemetery, on Township Road RS, southeast of Lyons. The lives of Phineas Brown and Richard Tiney will be celebrated with the histories of their service and the presentation of wreaths and military honors. Weather permitting, the OSSAR Color Guard will fire muskets; otherwise, a salute will be performed by the Fulton County Honor Guard.
This ceremony will especially honor Seaman Tiney, the only Navy officer among the four patriots. Speakers will include 5th District Congressman Bob Latta and Ronald Keller of Montpelier.
Lupien said Tiney’s burial in the county is unique.
“This really shocked us. What are the odds you’re going to find a Navy patriot in northwest Ohio,” he said. “You don’t find Navy vets from the Revolution. There just weren’t that many.”
Born in Maine in 1762, Tiney was in his teens when he joined the crew of the USS Ranger at Portsmouth, N.H. During his first year on board he served under legendary naval commander John Paul Jones. The ship’s first mission was to deliver news of the American victory at Saratoga, N.Y., to Benjamin Franklin, who was residing in France.
Tiney served on the vessel until May 1780, when it was captured at the Battle of Charlestown. The crew members were held as British prisoners of war until that August, when they were part of a prisoner exchange. They were subsequently discharged from military service in Philadelphia, after which Tiney filed for his military pension: $8 – about $145 in today’s money – a month for life.
He eventually settled in the Michigan Territory, dying there at age 79 on April 12, 1841. The area became Royalton Township in Fulton County, Ohio, nine years later.
“He never knew it to be Fulton County,” Lupien said.
To his knowledge, Tiney is one of only two Navy veterans of the Revolutionary War to be buried in Ohio. The other, Commodore Abraham Whipple, is buried in Marietta.
Sergeant Phineas Brown, a member of the 1st Regiment of the Berkshire County Militia in Massachusetts from 1776-78, will also be honored at Edgar Cemetery. Born in Sandisfield, Mass., he lived his post-military life in what would become Fulton County, possibly as a farmer, until his death Jan. 30, 1841.
OSSAR members will travel to Aetna Cemetery, County Road 10-2, north of Winameg, at about 3:45 p.m. to similarly honor Private William Holland, a member of the 3rd Massachusetts Regiment during the 1780s. The Oakham, Mass., native later moved to local Pike Township, where he began practicing medicine in 1843. Dr. Holland died at age 91 on Sept. 17, 1857.
In 2010, Private Gideon Braley was honored at his gravesite, discovered by the OSSAR in Fulton Union Cemetery in Delta. Born in 1758 in Massachusetts, Braley fought in the Battle of Dennington in August of 1778, and died in what became Fulton County on Sept. 4, 1838.
Lupien said Fulton County residents should feel privileged to have the resting places of the Revolutionary War fighters nearby.
“They came (to the county) for the opportunity. It was a chance to have a better life,” he said. “And when you consider the odds against them, they never gave up.”
Citizens attending are advised to bring their own seating for the outdoor ceremonies. In case of inclement weather, all of the programs will be held at the Royalton Township Fire Department, 409 W. Morenci St., Lyons.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.