Weathered plaque honors Revolutionary War soldiersAugust 20, 2019
By ALLEN LAMAN
JASPER — Though always in plain sight, Karen Adams never noticed it.
As she waited in line with her son on the steps of the Dubois County Courthouse to have caricatures drawn during Strassenfest, she searched for something to pass the time and distract her from the heat.
Her eyes glanced at the wall adjacent to the door on the east side of the building. Hanging there was a black- and green-stained plaque, weathered away after more than 80 years of rain, snow and sun soured its bronze finish.
Two weeks later, Adams, who is the vice regent of the Dubois County Daughters of the American Revolution, returned on Friday with soap, brushes and a bucket.
“In 1935, there were a group of women here in this county that really cared about the soldiers and their families enough to put the plaque on the wall,” she said of the plaque, which was hung by the local DAR and lists the names of seven Revolutionary War soldiers laid to rest in the county. “And I think that it should be continually in remembrance of these soldiers.”
The hanging tablet patriotically honors the men and their families, Adams said. She is refurbishing the commemorative plaque for a DAR capstone project.
Friday, after scrubbing the hanging with ivory soap and rinsing it with pure water, she began buffing out the discoloration with sandpaper. Soon, she will paint a dark brown leather dye on the plaque’s background and edges and apply a high quality lacquer to protect it for years to come. Adams expects the project to wrap up in a week, weather permitting.
She hopes that by seeing it and being able to actually appreciate it, passersby will feel a little more connected to the area’s past.
“I hope they take away a sense of pride in knowing that patriotism is alive and well,” Adams said. “Take pride in their country. Take pride in each other ... take pride in our nation. To think back, and to realize real men who actually bled red blood just like we do, they actually stood up and made a difference in the lives of everyone. They helped make our nation [what] it is.”
The names on the plate are Richard Stillwell, Hugh Rodman, James Harbison, Luther Adams, Lewis Powers, John Hills and William Anderson.
Paula Book, regent of the Dubois County DAR, explained that the local group is open to women who can show their connection to a patriot who served in the American Revolution or supported the war effort. While men fought, Book said those related to women who provided aid or ancestors who gave money or materials to the cause are also welcome.
“The seven families on that plaque, I would just love to know if the families are still around,” Adams said, adding that one living descendent of the men is a member of the DAR. “But the others, I would love to know, are they still around? Is there anyone that’s related to any of these men? This would be just so exciting to know that. And do they know that there’s a plaque that has their ancestor’s name on it on our courthouse wall?”
When she heard about Adams’ plans to restore the plaque, Book was elated. Throughout the process, Book has sensed her friend’s excitement and has supported it all the way.
“I don’t want this plaque, or these men, or these families to be forgotten,” Adams said.
Those interested in learning more about or joining the Dubois County Daughters of the American Revolution can contact Book at firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers wondering if they are related to any of the patriots listed on the plaque are also encouraged to reach out to the local group.
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