Claude Hardison, past chapter president, said the unveiling is set for 10 a.m. on Friday, April 19, at First Street Square Park.
“It is a gift from the Benjamin Cleveland Chapter to the city,” Hardison told the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland.
The date was set for the unveiling to coincide with Tennessee’s Patriot’s Day. According to the state bill, Patriot’s Day is “to honor and recognize the opening events of the War of the Revolution and the struggle through which the nation passed its early days.”
It is not a legal holiday.
Hardison reiterated the importance of passing down historical truths.
“It is important we teach our children the real history of this country— what it means and how to preserve it,” Hardison said.
City historian and SAR member Bob George spoke at length on Benjamin Cleveland. The colonel is the name sake of both the city and the local SAR chapter.
“Benjamin Cleveland was a hero,” George said. “The more you study him, the more amazing this guy becomes.”
According to George, Cleveland was a little rough around the edges.
“He was not polished,” George said. “He hardly had any education.”
What Cleveland did have was a fierce passion and belief in freedom. George said Cleveland wanted the yoke of King George off of the people in the colonies. He felt he had a calling to aid in breaking the chafing hold of Britain.
Cleveland saw the fight for freedom as a calling from God and inherent in his genes.
“He believed he was a descendent of Oliver Cromwell, who was against the British government [1600s],” George said.
Cleveland rallied his men prior to the 1780 Battle of King’s Mountain with a moving speech.
“My brave fellows! We have beat the Tories and we can beat them again,” Cleveland said. “They are all cowardly. If they had the spirit of men, they would join with their fellow citizens in supporting the independence of their country.”
“When engaged you are not to wait for the word of command from me. I will show you by my example how to fight. I can undertake no more. Every man must consider himself an officer and act from his own judgment.”
Continued Cleveland, “Fire as quick as you can and stand as long as you can. When you can do no better, get behind trees, or retreat; but I beg of you not to run quite off.”
“If we be repulsed, let us make a point to return and renew the fight.”
“Perhaps we may have better luck in the second attempt than in the first. If any of you be scared, such have leave to retire; and they are requested immediately to take themselves off,” Cleveland ended.
George said the Tories were defeated at the battle.
Accompanying Hardison and George were fellow SAR members: Stan Evans, David Wahley and Sam Allen. Hardison and the three additional members came dressed in garb representative of the time. A wealthy plantation owner, militia, frontiersman and mountain man were showcased between the four men.
According to Hardison, the local SAR chapter stays active throughout the year. Some of their activities include:
- Locating graves of Revolutionary War Patriots in Tennessee. Each grave receives a marker once approved by the family.
- Participation in the Cleveland Christmas Parade.
- Honoring those who served in the Armed Forces through a variety of events.
- Helping locate descendents of soldiers from the Revolutionary War.
- Judging at the 4-H history poster contest.
In other news, the Kiwanis Club will host their annual Pancake Breakfast at the Bald Headed Bistro on Saturday, April 6 from 7 to 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $6. Children 6-years-of-age and younger eat free.
A dollar will be taken off the ticket price with the donation of canned goods to go to The Caring Place.