PARKERSBURG - Many gathered in a local historical cemetery Sunday to honor a patriot of the American Revolution and to dedicate an entry gateway to the cemetery where he is buried.
Around 100 people gathered Sunday at the cemetery off Seventh Street in Parkersburg to dedicate the entry archway to the Dils Cemetery and to honor James Foley, 1737-1808, for his work as a civil juror in August 1783.
Representatives from local chapters in West Virginia and Ohio of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution and people with an interest in local history attended Sunday's ceremony, as well as Parkersburg Mayor Robert Newell, Wood County Commissioner Blair Couch and others.
Officials dedicate the entry archway at the Dils Cemetery in Parkersburg in honor of James Foley, 17
"There has been a tremendous amount of work done here," said C. Jean Yost, president of the Marietta Chapter of the Ohio Sons of the American Revolution.
Yost commended Karlyn Lowers, cemetery chairperson, for all the work she did in getting the archway secured and finished as well as other work in caring for the cemetery. Many people came out Sunday because of the warm and sunny weather and to honor the history of the area.
"A lot of people have relatives buried here," said Peggy McAllister of Parkersburg.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
Around 100 people gathered Sunday at the Dils Cemetery off Seventh Street in Parkersburg to dedicate the entry archway to the cemetery and to honor James Foley, 1737-1808, for his work as a civil juror in August 1783.
The dedication of the Dils Cemetery arch, which was installed in July 2010, was conducted by Bob Enoch, president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society. The arch was custom-made by Steve and Bruce Farra of Farra's Welding in Parkersburg through a grant from the Oakland Foundation.
"This beautiful archway symbolically directs visitors into Dils Cemetery," Enoch said. "In looking for historical symbolism about arches one of the most appropriate meanings I found was (an arch) is a gate or doorway that facilitates movement from one place to another.
"In this instance, this archway leads from the land of the living to the realm of those who have departed this earthly life. This beautiful doorway is a way in which we access and honor those of a much earlier age."
In One Man's Memory
On Sunday the entry archway at the Dils Cemetery off Seventh Street was dedicated in honor of James Foley, 1737-1808, for his work as a civil juror.
The dedication of the Dils Cemetery arch, which was installed in July 2010, was conducted by Bob Enoch, president of the Wood County Historical and Preservation Society.
Foley was honored for civil service for serving as a juror during the American Revolution period in Prince William County, Va.
In quoting an old newspaper letter, Enoch said civilized people honor their dead where savages would pay no heed to their dead. Over time, many civilizations have honored their dead by preserving the sites in which they are placed, he added.
In quoting President Abraham Lincoln, Enoch said, "It is all-together fitting and proper that we do this."
"We dedicate this archway forever honoring the memory of those who first entered and settled this beautiful land we enjoy today," Enoch added.
The ceremony moved into the cemetery at the site of a new SAR gravestone placed for James Foley, acknowledging his civil service. He came to the area in 1803, five years before his death in 1808. His family originally came from Prince William County in Virginia.
Newell presented a proclamation from the city detailing what Foley had done.
To qualify for membership in the DAR/SAR, a person must have an ancestor who performed either military, civil or patriotic service during the Revolutionary War, the mayor said.
Foley falls into the civil service category for serving as a juror during the American Revolution period in Prince William County, Va. According to the Daughters of the American Revolution website, "A civil service member, those persons who conducted public business under the authority of the new state governments, displayed evidence of loyalty to the cause of political separation from England. Those chosen to do the work of the state are classified as civil officers."
For over 200 years, the Court Order Book from Prince William County for 1778-1784 was missing, Newell said. Pages from the book appeared in internet sales and in the 1990's the Library of Virginia purchased the pages and the book itself. The two cases Foley served on were Ewell v. Shute and Byrne v. Feagan in August 1783.
"This information made it possible for James Foley to qualify through his civic patriotic service as an American Revolutionary patriot," Newell said.
Speakers talked about the service of all Americans from those who serve their country in the military to those who serve their communities in so many ways everyday and how what those people did and what people today continue to do all contribute to the fabric of America and what this country stands for.
Wreaths were laid at the Foley gravesite and a rifle salute as well as a cannon salute were given. A reception at the Henry Cooper Cabin in City Park was held following the ceremony.
A number of Foley's descendent attended the ceremony and commended those who restored the cemetery and those who honored their ancestor.
"I think it was really nice," said Hal Foley, of Vienna, James Foley's great-great-great-grandson.