Sons of the American Revolution, Ohio Society Activities

Battle of Great Bridge Virginia, fought on 9 December 1775

The Battle of Great Bridge was fought in the present-day City of Chesapeake, just south of Norfolk, Virginia and at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay.

This was the first Virginia Battle of the Revolutionary War occurring just 6 months after the Battle of Bunker Hill and 8 months after the Battles of Concord and Lexington.

On that day, the 2nd regiment of the Virginia Militia stood up to the British Forces supporting the Crown’s Governor, Lord Dunmore.  The battle was short and decisive.  Great Britain lost many and retreated to Norfolk where further skirmishes occurred in the following weeks.  The Virginia Militia took only a few light casualties during the battle.

The Remembrance ceremony today was a joint effort by many from the State of Virginia, most notably, Virginia Societies of the NSDAR, NSSAR and NSCAR.

Many Chapters, Districts and State Societies joined in the Remembrance Ceremonies including three members of the Ohio Society placing wreaths in honor of our patriots serving on that historic day:

left to right – President Lee Wilkerson, Ohio Society; Compatriot Bob Bowers, Cincinnati Chapter; President Gary Duffield, Highlanders Chapter.

1st Lt. Joseph Catterline’s Grave Site in Fairfield, Ohio… Honored on 1 November 2020

On Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 2 PM the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (CCSAR) Honored Joseph Catterline (1741-1822) a Revolutionary War Patriot by marking his grave located at Miami Chapel Cemetery, 6210 River Road in Fairfield, Liberty Twp., Butler County, OH. Rain was predicted for the morning and disappeared with a gift of bright sun, but with a brisk wind by noon with gusts of 30 mph, as we set up the 8 flags and the podium behind Joseph’s Gravesite.

Cincinnati, Highlanders & Hocking Valley Chapter Members Participating in the Day’s Ceremonies

This was a Social Distancing Event, due to the existing 2020 Pandemic and protective masks re-quired as additional assurance of a safe event during the ceremony expected to be an hour in length. Our agreement with the City of Fairfield Parks and Recreation Officials and common sense both dictated such. Fairfield also required we reach out to Joseph’s descendants, which we’d already done as one of our CCSAR Compatriots, Charles Rogers had informed us of the interest to mark this grave by Descendant Thomas Foster Stander, CCSAR Member # 963392. We initially planned to honor this ancestor in late 2018. Unfortunately, Compatriot Stander died in 2019 and didn’t get an opportunity to be here and participate personally.

Presentation of Our National Colors

Before we began the ceremony, a few minutes was spent to acquaint our only guests, the Officials of the City of Fairfield, with who the CCSAR is and what we do. Some of them took advantage of our Web Site cincinnatisar.org and viewed videos of earlier Ceremonies for Grave Marking Patriots. The flags, uniforms, weapons and process preparing for the event being better understood, as the EMCEE gave direction to the Commander of the Nolan Carson Memorial Color Guard (NCMCG) to post the Colors, then Compatriot Robert Sturm led us all in the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag, followed by voicing the pledge to the SAR led by John Bredenfoerder, then the rousing Invocation expertly administered by OHSSAR Chaplain Dr. Ralph E. Bonniwell.

Ohio Society Chaplain Bonniwell & Past Cincinnati Chapter President Gunn

An introduction and welcome of Guests and Presenters began with City of Fairfield Officials: Mayor Steve Miller, City Manager Mark Wendling, Council Member & Park Board member, Leslie Besl, Park Board member, Gwen Richie, Director of Parks & Recreation, Tiphanie How-ard and Robert Schappacher with the Parks Department. We then identified those in the SAR and roles we have during our tribute to Joseph Catterline, concluding with Turner Lee Wilkerson, President of the Ohio Society SAR and the Cincinnati Chapter.

President Wilkerson began with Greetings from the 2000 + SAR members in Ohio and himself, then said:

Ohio Society & Cincinnati Chapter President Wilkerson

“Today we are celebrating a man’s patriotism and a remembrance of his willingness to defend a land in which he believed. As you enjoy fellowship and conversation with one another this day—I would encourage you to reflect on our rich heritage as Americans. Speak together, of the history of our great land and its people—and the fact that we are “one people” richly blessed by a Divine Providence.

Recognize that the rights and privileges we enjoy as American citizens are blessings that were earned by a WILLINGNESS to make the great personal sacrifices necessary to secure the liberties that we frequently take for granted today. Appreciate that our diverse origins and ethnicity produces an alloy that strengthens our culture and society.

On behalf of our Society, I want to thank the City of Fairfield for the care they are giving to the graves of our first military veterans. Mayor Miller, we are especially proud of the manner in which you and your team have expressed their passion and reverence for our Patriot Heritage and the preservation of our National Story for future generations.
All of us gathered here are the living legacy of the many Patriots like this brave soul we celebrate and remember today!”

At this point in the Ceremony Compatriot Larry W. Collins unveiled the grey granite SAR Marker and the Dedication: “We, the members of the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution reveal and dedicate this marked Memorial to the glory of God and in the recognition of the memory of this honorable Patriot of the American Revolution.” Was made by our Emcee.

Compatriot Gregg Ballman presented a short biography of Patriot Catterlin, accompanied by a reverent chime: Joseph Catterlin (1741 – 1822) is an ancestor of Thomas Foster Standish, Cincinnati SAR Member. Joseph served as a 1st Lieutenant in the in the 1st Regiment Somerset County, New Jersey Militia in the Revolutionary War, they were known as the Jersey Blues due to their blue coats and Pants. The records of the Adjutant General indicate his unit was active before November 1777. He was also a recruiting officer in New Jersey for the Continental Army. He was buried here in 1822 and his name is also on Panel #9 of the Butler County, Soldiers & Sailors and Pioneers Monument in Hamilton, OH.

2021 1st & 2nd Vice President Nominees George Stewart (left) and Greg Ballman (right)

Nine Wreaths were presented:
Ohio Society SAR by President, Turner Lee Wilkerson
Indiana Society SAR, by Michael Gunn.
Germany Society SAR by John H. Bredenfoerder
Cincinnati Chapter SAR by Robert E.R. Bowers
Hocking Valley Chapter SAR by OHSSAR Color Guard Commander Bob Hill & Al Gummere
Highlanders Chapter SAR, by Pres. Gary Duffield
Ohio Society Ladies Aux. by Shari Wilkerson & Carol Gunn
City of Fairfield by Mayor Steve Miller

l to r – OHSSAR President Wilkerson, Compatriot Bowers, OHSSAR VP Bredenfoerder, City of Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller, OHSSAR Color Guard Commander Hill, Compatriot Gummere and EMCEE Gunn

To conclude the ceremony, three rounds of musket fire was ordered by NCMCG Commander Jarard for each of 12 SAR members (Ballman, Bowers, Crandall, Stewart, Hill, Gummere, Bredenfoerder, Schmitz, Rogers, Bonniwell, Duffield, Crandall, and Adjutant Blum with Colors.


Taps were played by Robert Sturm. Then a SAR Recessional by George Stewart “Until we meet again, let us remember our obligations to our forefathers, who gave us our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, an independent Supreme Court, and a Nation of Free Men.”

Cincinnati Chapter Bugler Robert Sturm

And a Benediction by Chaplain Dr. Ralph E. Bonniwell ended the program.

Again, Mayor Miller, we are especially proud of the manner in which you and your team have expressed their passion and reverence for our Patriot Heritage and the preservation of our National Story for future generations. All of us gathered here today are the living legacy of the many Patriots like the brave soul we celebrate and remember today!

The Von Steuben Medal

Paul Alan Irwin was approved for the SAR Von Steuben Color Guard Medal by the National Color Guard Commander, Lou Raborg, on October 22nd.

Paul received his Bronze CG Medal in November, 2012, and his Silver GG Medal in April, 2013. Paul’s participation in the Color Guard has been exceptional since 2013, and he only started slowing down, but never stopping, in 2019 due to his wife’s and his own health concerns.

Paul has been present at 43 National and District events since 2013, far exceeding the minimum 25 National / District events needed over a 5 year period after earning the Silver CG Medal. Paul is the first to earn this award from the Hocking Valley Chapter. Congratulations to compatriot Paul Irwin for earning this distinction. Thank you for your many years of dedicated service to the Color Guard.

Congratulations and Well Done Compatriot Irwin

Battle of Point Pleasant Remembered

At the 10th hour of the 10th day of of the 10th month in the year of our Lord Two thousand and twenty, we remembered the Battle at Point Pleasant, Virginia (now West Virginia). Many SAR State Societies stood up to honor and remember the Patriots that fought and sacrificed to achieve vistory on this day in history–Monday, 10 October 1774.

Unlike past days of remembrance we were driven this year to honor our National History in a hybrid ceremony of remembrance in virtual reality and actual circumstance. The ceremonials were led by President of the Point Pleasant Chapter, Ed Cromley. the SAR State Societies of Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee were present along with numerous SAR, DAR & CAR Chapters from the aforementioned state societies.

The writer of this article, having participated virtually, cannot provide photos of the event. However at least three officers of the Ohio Society Chapters were represented:

  1. Ohio Society – Ohio Society President, Lee Wilkerson
  2. Cincinnati Chapter – Committee Chairman, Bob Bowers
  3. Lt. George Ewing Chapter – Chapter President, Scott Moody

Chaplain and Reverend Patrick Norman Kelly

Today, Monday, 5 October 2020 we buried our compatriot, Patrick Kelly, of Mount Gilead, Ohio of whom I wrote about a few weeks ago.

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Chaplain Patrick Norman Kelly 1933-2020

The day started out foggy and a little chilly, but by noon the fog lifted and the temperature began to rise to a nice 65° and the sun came out revealing a lovely landscape of changing colors.

I car pooled with three compatriots from the Hocking Valley Chapter. At the funeral home in Cardington, my friends Matt and Sharon Hardman met us, as well as Ohio Society President Lee Wilkerson and his wife Shari, and 5 more compatriots from the Cincinnati Chapter, including our Ohio Society Chaplain, Pastor Ed Bonniwell.

Ohio Society Color Guard… l to r Al Gummere, Jack Bredenfoerder, Dan Schmitz, Mike Gunn, Bob Bowers, CG Commander Bob Hill, Charles Bundy, and Bob Davis

We stood vigil over Patrick’s casket, two at a time, during the hour of visitation. We posted the Colors, and rotated the guards every 10 minutes.
At the cemetery in Lexington (near Mansfield) we came to Present Arms, and after prayers and Eulogies, we fired a seven (7) musket, three volley salute. I think compatriot Pastor Kelly would have been pleased.

Compatriots Mike Gunn & Dan Schmitz standing watch

As the Color Guard Commander, I can never say enough good things about the guys from the Cincinnati Chapter, and my own Hocking Valley boys. I am proud of their dedication to our country, the SAR, and our Revolutionary ancestors. The guys from Cincinnati drove a good three hours to give an honorable ceremony of farewell to our Compatriot Kelly.

The Kelly Family and Friends gather Graveside

Our State Chaplain Ed Bonniwell’s never failing eloquence and booming voice echoed across the grounds as if the Lord himself was speaking to us from the heavens. And I guess he was, using Ed as his instrument.

The SAR Funeral Service begins…
Ohio Society President Lee Wilkerson flanked on left by Hocking Valley Chaplain Matt Hardman and Ohio Society Chaplain Dr. Ed Bonniwell to the right
Day is done … Gone the sun … From the lakes … From the hills … From the sky …
All is well … Safely rest … God is nigh

After we fired our muskets, we went to “Mourn Muskets” as Taps was played, and then a bagpiper played Amazing Grace. Afterwards, we had lunch with the family and friends of Patrick at the church where he last pastored, St. John’s Lutheran Church outside of Mount Gilead. It’s a beautiful little country church built around 1870.

There were pictures of happy times in Patrick’s 86 years of life. He pastored for 50 years and was an SAR member for 30. I’m so happy I was able to meet Patrick a few weeks ago, and that we were able to award him the Good Citizenship Medal a short time later before he passed away. And I think all of us were honored to have fulfilled his wishes for an SAR vigil and ceremony. Such a decent man deserved that honor. I have no doubt he is with Jesus now.

An Evening at the Shoreby Club with The Western Reserve Society

September 23rd Ohio Society President Lee Wilkerson, 2nd Vice President Troy Bailey with his bride Christine and Past Ohio Society President Steve Hinson had an opportunity to visit Western Reserve Society members at their first face-to-face gathering since the Pandemic began back in March. It was a grand evening for a reception on the shores of Lake Erie and a most congenial evening with friends enjoying a great dinner!

The evening was hosted by Will Ross, Secretary of the Western Reserve Society. The evening was opened the traditional manner of the SAR with Prayer, the Pledge to our Flag and the Pledge to the SAR. Greetings were shared by President Wilkerson and Past President Steve Hinson who made several awards carried over from the previous year. Finally, we introduced this year’s raffle prize to be awarded at the Society Annual Meeting in May 2021. The Ohio Society Ladies Auxiliary is again raffling off a King Size quilt.  Proceeds will support Youth Program awards. The quilt has been pieced together (see photo below) and in process of being hand quilted.  It features a Log Cabin derivative and nine patch squares creating 1 inch strips and squares. 

As the dinner began we had the opportunity to witness WRS 2nd VP Keith West induct newly minted Compatriot Douglas Payne as seen in the photos below.

All in all a great evening and lot’s of fun for everyone. I’ll look forward to a return visit!

Ohio Society President and First Lady Visit Camp Charlotte Chapter Meeting

On September 22nd President Lee Wilkerson and First Lady Shari Wilkerson attended Camp Charlottes first face-to-face meeting since the Pandemic began. Camp Charlotte President Rick Hartinger provided a most hospitable time before and during the meeting. Offering the floor to the state president to make a make an award to an unsuspecting member of the chapter.

Unbeknownst to Compatriot Scott Barthelmas, Rick Hartinger had submitted a memorial member application for Scott’s deceased brother, Capt. William Jennings Barthemas. Capt. Barthelmas was an F105 Thunder chief pilot that was shot down in July 1965 over North Vietnam while on a bombing mission. As the result of his courageous service, Capt. Barthelmas was awarded the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, multiple Air Medals, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal.

Capt. William Jennings Barthemas Jr.
F105D Thunderchief

As a veteran of the War in Vietnam, I was deeply honored to have been asked to make the award.

Allen County Patriot Remembrance Day

Northwest Territory ChapterSaturday September 12, 2020

The NWT chapter commenced the day’s remembrance ceremonies in Bluffton, Ohio at the Shannon Cemetery.

The Program was kicked off at 10 am at the gravesite of Patriot  Joseph DeFord (P-146398 ) who served with the 5th Maryland Regiment.  Members of the DAR and American Legion were present and participating in the ceremony.

This second Remembrance event was held for Patriot William Rodgers (P-280934) of Capt. John Reid’s Company, Colonel William Washington’s 3rd Continental Dragoons.   Patriot Rodgers fought with his unit at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina.

The Perry Township Trustees assisted in obtaining a granite veteran’s Administration Marker and had it installed and assisted in the dedication and unveiling of the marker. The Keynote speaker was Perry Township Trustee, Norm Capps with remarks by Kevin Cox and Greg Kessen and Natalie Scott.

The final Ceremony and remembrance of the day was at the Ash Grove Cemetery for Patriot Simon Cochran (P-135524) of the 13th Virginia Regiment.

Each ceremony was performed with reverence and respect for the Patriots and received military honors from the Ohio Society Color Guard.

You will be able to find the video clip of our Perry Township program by typing or copying the following URL into your search bar


Compatriot Over-watch for Former Chaplain & Chapter President Patrick Kelly


A recent photo of Patrick N. Kelly, courtesy of The Morrow County Sentinel newspaper. From an article on Patrick’s involvement in a patriot grave marking ceremony for Alexis Lemmon in October, 2018.

Three Hocking Valley Chapter compatriots, Bob Hill (Ohio Society Color Guard Commander), Al Gummere, and Paul Irwin traveled to Woodside Village Care Center in Mount Gilead, Ohio on Friday, August 28th. There they met Cincinnati Chapter and Ohio Society Chaplain Ed Bonniwell to present awards to an ailing compatriot, Patrick Kelly, age 86.

Earlier last week, Chaplain Ed visited Patrick, and a few days later, Matt Hardman (President and Chaplain of the Hocking Valley Chapter) and Bob Hill visited as well. All enjoyed meeting Patrick, his wife Shirley, and his loving daughter, Karen. Patrick suffered a bad fall a few months ago and his injuries have not healed properly. He and his family know time is running out and he is growing weaker, though he perked up during visits from his compatriots. Bob was quite surprised when at the end of their visit, they all joined hands in prayer and Bob expected Matt to lead, but it was Patrick who immediately led in prayer, and a good one!

Patrick once served as the Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in North Woodbury, and 8 other churches in his career. He joined the SAR under his patriot ancestor, Reuben Frisbee of Connecticut…yes, the same family line that invented the frisbee! He was an active member and Chaplain for nearly 30 years in the Centennial Chapter (as well as a past President), and the former Henry Knox Chapter. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by the Ohio Society in 2007, a Distinguished Service Certificate, the Roger Sherman Medal, Silver Color Guard Medal, and a 20-year Tenure Pin.

The facility caring for Patrick is very strict on the number of visitors allowed inside. So, Ed went inside to do the presentation, and Patrick’s daughter, Karen was there. Bob, Al, and Paul formed a small Color Guard outside Patrick’s window where he could see them. Patrick’s son, Dave, stood outside with them. Although rain was threatening, the Lord held it back for the ceremony.

All involved knew it was an important gesture for Patrick and family to do this ceremony for him. Bob wasn’t expecting to get misty-eyed, but tears welled-up when he saw Patrick through the window, laying on his bed wearing his Continental Army jacket and tricorn hat, and he gave the Color Guard a salute.


The Bronze Good Citizenship Award Presented to Compatriot Patrick Kelly

The Color Guard came to Present Arms as Pastor Ed, with his booming voice and eloquence, awarded Patrick the Bronze Good Citizenship Medal, and the Army Colonel’s Chaplain Insignia. When the time comes, Patrick has requested an SAR vigil at his viewing and a graveside ceremony. It will be an honor to fulfill his wishes.


Hocking Valley Chaplain and Ohio Society Associate Chaplain Matt Hardman during last week’s visit with Patrick, and his wife, Shirley


Chaplain Ed Bonniwell with Compatriot Patrick Kelly immediately after the awards presentation


Compatriots at the Awards Presentation, L to R: Al Gummere, Ed Bonniwell, Bob Hill, Paul Irwin

Eagle Scout Awards at Northeastern Ohio Chapter Ceremony

On Sunday, 23 August at the home of Andrew Proctor and his family, the Northeastern Ohio Society, Chapter #12 Sons of the American Revolution held a ceremony to present to Rafe Proctor, an Eagle Scout, member of Scout Troop 99 of Newbury, OH, and a member of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter SAR, a certificate and and trophy from the Ohio Society  SAR for earning first place in their Eagle Scout Award competition.

Leading the ceremony was Jim Pildner, President of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter .  Special guests included:

  • Lance Beebe, Eagle Scout Scholarship Chair for the Ohio Society;
  • L. Stephen Hinson, Immediate Past President of the Ohio Society;
  • Jim Gilbert, Eagle Scout Committee Chair for the Chapter;
  • Rafe Proctor’s parents and members and leaders of Boy Scouts of America Troop 99
  • Fellow Eagle Scout, James Keherly,
  • His father Mike Keherly, and Scout Master Rob Poekling.



Rafe led the Assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Rafe’s Scout history was shared from his time as a Cub Scout through the current time.  He earned 67 merit badges, attended 5 summer camps, and camped 133 nights.  His Eagle Scout Project included the installment of a flag retirement drop box outside the American Legion Post 663 and the construction of a U.S. flag retirement fire pit in Newbury Township’s Veteran’s Memorial Park.  He organized a group of scouts, adults and community members to volunteer over 175 hours of service to design, paint and install the collection box and to guild a pentagon shaped flag retirement fire pit in order to promote community and national pride in remembrance of the brave men and women who have served, or are serving, in the defense of our nation.   Lance Beebe then made the presentation of the State Society’s First Place certificate and trophy.

Remarks were given and the ceremony concluded.

Eagle Scouts wanting to qualify for consideration to receive this award must complete a Chapter application along with an essay, a 4-Generation Genealogy Chart, and a questionnaire.  This packet of information is forward by the Chapter Eagle Scout Award Committee Representative (Jim Gilbert) to the OH Society Eagle Scout Committee Chairperson (Lance Beebe) whose Committee then considers all applications received to determine the winning candidate.

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