Revolutionary War heroine had less famous ride
Oct 20, 2013 | 1525 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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NEW MEMBERS WERE inducted at the recent meeting of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution meeting. They include, from left, Wendell Dixon, George Martin and Larry Spence.
The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution recently held its monthly meeting at the Elks Club.

President Van Deacon called the meeting to order. The Rev. Sam Melton gave the Invocation, Deacon led the pledge to the U.S. flag, 2nd Vice President Bob George led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Dave Whaley led the SAR flag pledge.

Several guests were recognized, including Ron Hall, inductee Wendell Dixon’s wife, Debbie, and son Matthew, guest speaker Paul Dietrich, his wife Ann, and mother Mariann, who was recognized as the Regent of the Ocoee DAR Chapter, Coral Spence, Troy Spence, Ed and Vickie Lay, Glen Martin, Dan Dunning and Larry Ramsey. State Sen. Todd Gardenhire was recognized.

Three new members — Dixon, George Green and Larry Spence — were inducted into the chapter by Stan Evans, and Samuel Spence was sworn in absentia, as he is presently going through Marine Corps boot camp in Parris Island, S.C. Their membership certificates and society rosettes were presented by Evans and Whaley.

Whaley, as co-chair of the Nomination Committee for selecting chapter officers for 2014, read the current list of names of officers for the election.

Several announcements were made.

Tennessee Society SAR President-Elect Claude Hardison reported on the “Gathering at Sycamore Shoals” weekend events.

On Thursday, Sept. 19, chapter members Hardison and James Stone attended the District 1 meeting and dinner in Kingsport with State President Colin Wakefield. After the meeting, a program was given by Stewart Harris, associate professor at Appalachian School of Law.

On Friday, Sept. 20, chapter members Evans, Hardison, Stone and John Clines attended a ceremony honoring Revolutionary War soldier Robert Young’s grave in Johnson City. Both Stone and Clines participated in the musket-firing salute. Young is credited with having fired the fatal shot that killed British Maj. Patrick Ferguson at the Battle of Kings Mountain, with his rifle, Sweet Lips.

That evening a 230th Treaty Dinner was attended to commemorate the 230th Anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Paris on Sept. 3, 1783.

On Sept. 21, the ceremonies of The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals was conducted at Fort Watauga in Elizabethton. Chapter members Evans, Hardison, Stone and Clines, all in uniform, were present. This year due to inclement weather the ceremony was conducted indoors. This event is now recognized by the National Society SAR as a national event.

The National Society Fall Leadership (Trustees) Meeting was held in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 26-28. The business of the National Society and committees was conducted that weekend. Hardison, from the chapter, attended.

On Oct. 12, the Tennessee Society SAR will hold its Fall Board of Governors meeting in Franklin at the Marriott Cool Springs Hotel. Several chapter members plan to attend.

George introduced the program for the evening, which was presented by local attorney Dietrich and titled, “Mary Ramage Dillard, Revolutionary Heroine from South Carolina.”

Dillard was born in Laurens County, S.C., in 1757. She married James Dillard, who was a militia soldier, as was her son John. She accompanied her husband and son to various battles, including battles at Musgrave Mills, the Siege at 96, and Cowpens.

She was recognized for three acts of heroism. First, since she lived close to the main road, she would observe Loyalist movements on the road, and would report these to the Patriots.

Second, at Musgrave Mill she slipped into the Loyalist camp and took all their horses to the Patriots, causing great hardships for the Loyalists in the battle. And her most infamous act concerned Gen. Banastre Tarleton. He came to her home and forced her to prepare meals for them. She overheard Tarleton’s plans to attack the Patriots and was able to mount a horse bareback and ride 20 miles to warn the Patriots encamped at Green Springs near Blackstock Plantation.

This caused Tarleton to lose his battle, and later, in January 1781, to also lose the Battle of Cowpens.

Her ride is likened to Paul Revere’s ride, but never received the notoriety he did. Longfellow wrote a poem on Paul Revere’s ride because of the family connection. She is mentioned in several books, including “Women of the Revolution.”

Dietrich stated that in 2007 the family visited his son in Atlanta, and while there visited Grant Park, which had several train cars. They thought that their ancestor, John Sharp Rollins had a train car there, but it wasn’t there. This sparked an interest to develop the family line which took them to Dillard, making her Paul’s fifth great-grandmother.

He read a beautiful poem he had composed about her ride. It was received by the members to be as good or better than Longfellow’s poem on Paul Revere’s ride. He also showed the members a walking cane he had made for his mother with Patriotic designs carved in it; a unique cane.

Under old business, Deacon reported a new finance committee for the chapter was proposed, that a fund-raising project will be undertaken in the spring, and that the chapter would be involved in a new “Truck” program.

Hicks encouraged all to get their dues in, and if any wanted to pay that night, he would take their checks and mail them in; he got several responses. Hicks also announced he was the chapter’s new education chairman.

Under new business Hicks announced the 4-H was having its poster contest at Bradley Square Mall on Nov. 8 and 9 this year. Chapter members are needed again this year for the judging of posters from grades 6-12. Hicks next made a motion for the chapter to provide $100 to help 4-H. It passed unanimously.

The chapter was reminded of several upcoming events, several of which were the chapter’s 10th Anniversary meeting in December, the Wreaths Across America program the second Saturday in December, and a possible float in the Christmas Parade.

Evans reported that on Saturday, Oct 5, he attended a joint 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Lake-Sumter and Withlacoochee Chapters in Fruitland Park, Fla. Evans organized these two chapters in 1988. Also in attendance were Florida Society SAR State President Ted Duay, Past State President Ron Toops, State Historian and past National Officer Ralph Nelson, chapter president of the Lake-Sumter Chapter, Scott Bushnell, chapter president of the Withlacoochee chapter, Robert Folk, and “many-times” chapter president of the Lake-Sumter chapter, Bob Moody, who kept this chapter together for 25 years. The chapter was chartered July 29, 1988, and the Lake-Sumter chapter was chartered Oct. 22 1988.

With no further business, President Deacon proceeded to close the meeting, and with him leading the Recessional, and the Rev. Bill Spencer giving the Benediction, the closing gavel was struck and the meeting adjourned.