BELPRE - Some might say the descendants of George Cline might as well look for a needle in a haystack, but the family is determined to find a 200-year-old, possibly unmarked grave of their Revolutionary War-veteran ancestor, George Cline Sr.
The family hopes to locate the gravesite and have a Sons of the American Revolution monument placed at the site, said Harley Dakin, Cline family historian.
"We are hoping to get some interest and maybe some hunters in the area, or landowners have seen markers or something that is out of place and might indicate a cemetery," he said.
Dave Starrett, of Zanesville, Ohio, is the fifth great-grandson and nephew of the late author Lloyd Cline, who wrote much of the Cline genealogy. He discovered that oral histories that say George Cline is buried at the mouth of Mill Creek near New Matamoras might be wrong.
Dakin said Starrett has discovered records that indicate George Cline was buried farther upstream, possibly as far north as Brownsville, Ohio.
Among those were township records that mention Johnny Cline, the unfortunate 2-year-old grandson who was bitten by a snake and died in the early 1800s. According to the records, the child "was carried to the gravesite in a hand-hewed casket on horseback to be buried with his grandfather on the family farm - that farm was near Brownsville," Dakin said.
George Cline Sr. was a German born in the very Germanic Alsace region of eastern France. He enlisted in 1776, and volunteered for the duration of the war and served with the 12th Pa. Regiment and later the 3rd Pa. Regiment. He was one of many Revolutionary War veterans who moved to Washington County in the 1790s.
George Cline is the progenitor of nearly all Cline families living in the Ohio Valley today, Dakin said.
Vienna historian and cemetery expert Cynthia Buskirk said finding such a gravesite is not an impossible task.
"You can look at deeds and a lot of times the person's will will tell you where they wanted to be buried or set aside property to be set as a cemetery. When I go out looking for cemeteries, I like to do it sometime between January and March after snow has laid down weeds. I look for cedar trees. It was an old tradition brought over from the old country to plant cedar trees in cemeteries," she said.
"If there is a stone there, it will probably be unreadable as it would have been a field stone - an old piece of sandstone - and would be worn by the weather, but I have read sandstones from that period that were face down in the dirt. He (Cline) is more than likely buried on his old homeplace, you just have to find where he had property," Buskirk said.
The next meeting to discuss the strategy for locating Cline's grave will be 9 a.m. Jan. 24 at the New Matamoras Historical Society building in New Matamoras. The Cline descendants are asking anyone living in Washington or Monroe counties that may have information related to the burial or may have noticed an out-of-place gravesite to contact Dakin at (740) 498-5636 or email@example.com .