Revolutionary War Soldier Honored in Ceremony at Armstrong

The Missouri Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (MOSSAR) Color Guard honors Revolutionary War soldier William Harvey at the Lee/Harvey Cemetery outside of Armstrong

The Lee/Harvey Cemetery – the flag is next to a recently discovered headstone

There was a unique event in the Armstrong Community, just in time for the Independence Day holiday weekend.  Approximately 50 people attended a Grave Marking Ceremony for a Revolutionary War Soldier, and member of one of the founding families of Armstrong, by the Missouri Society of the Sons of the American Revolution (MOSSAR) Color Guard.
On Saturday morning, July 1, individuals from as far away as Florida and New York, joined others at the Armstrong Community Center at 10 a.m.  The group gathered in preparation of the trip to a long forgotten cemetery in the middle of a cattle pasture.  A chartered tour bus shuttled the group through town on Highway V, then down a gravel road to Bill Monnig’s farm.  Mr. Monnig graciously allowed this event to take place, even assisting transporting visitors through his property, up and down hills, across spring-fed creeks swollen from recent thunderstorms, through woods and into the pasture.
Sitting on top of a rise was a small grove of walnut trees which had grown amongst century old (and older) headstones.  It was obvious that someone has lovingly been working to restore the small cemetery.  Headstones have been repaired or re-set, some both.  A few headstones had little or no information, and some of those interred were marked simply by a stone (engraved headstones were quite costly).  Most markers, carved or otherwise coming from the nearby creek.
The single-handed restoration of the Lee/Harvey Cemetery is the passion of Eli Chandler, descendent of the Snoddy family, the second family to settle in the area and partially responsible for the establishment of Armstrong.  Chandler obtained permission from Monnig to fence in the  cemetery and access to the farm to work on the restoration.
According to Chandler and his research, the Botts and Snoddy families settled in the Armstrong area in Spring and Fall of 1815 respectively, with the Lee and Harvey families coming in 1817.  The Lee and Harvey family homesteads were next to each other and the families were good friends.  Hence, the Harvey’s allowing the Lee’s to use their cemetery.
Chandler believes the Harvey home was just west of the cemetery location due to the discovery of a well.  He noted that with two spring-fed creeks, excellent pasture and crop land, and woods for wildlife habitat the location would be ideal.
After guests arrived, the ceremony opened with Presentation of Colors by MOSSAR Color Guard and Welcome by Harold Kerr, MOSSAR M.Graham Clark Chapter President.  The Invocation was given by M.Graham Clark Chapter Chaplain Alan Hiles and the Pledge of Allegiance by Carole Taylor, relative of William Harvey.  John Coutts, M.Graham Clark Chapter SAR member led the SAR (Sons of the American Revolution) Pledge.
Chandler then provided remarks about the cemetery, introduction of Harvey descendants, and a biography of William Harvey.  According to Chandler, Harvey was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, on April 9, 1744, and served in the 9th Virginia Infantry-Militia, and was on the front line in 1779 in Charleston.  During his time there, Harvey was injured, and due to these injuries, never fully recovered.  Chandler says that despite his poor recovery, Harvey continued to serve, doing so at Albemarle Barracks prisoner-of-war camp in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Chandler says those too young, too elderly, or unable to participate in battle were assigned to guard Albemarle Barracks because it was considered an easier position.
Harvey, according to Chandler, moved to Missouri in 1817 with his family, passed away in 1819 as was laid to rest near the family homestead.  Future generations of the Harveys and Lees can be found not far from William Sr., or his son, William Jr., who’s headstone Chandler found by accident when preparing for the MOSSAR event.
It is MOSSAR tradition that the youngest descendent in attendance of a Grave Marking Ceremony participate in the stone unveiling.  Teenager John Hanson was provided this honor.  SAR Chaplain Hiles; Margaret Miller DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) representative Nancy Thomas from Huntsville; and CAR (Children of the American Revolution), Col. Hugh Crockett Chapter representative Marissa Harkey from Columbia each placed wreaths at Harvey’s headstone.
J.Y. Miller, Past President of the M. Graham Clark Chapter gave a moving presentation about the history of the area and our country, and preserving history for future generations.  The MOSSAR Color Guard presented a Musket Volley, each firing their black powder muskets three times.  President Kerr provided brief comments about Taps, and Theresa Bradford of Armstrong gave an a capella performance of the National Anthem; The Star Spangled Banner. Roger Strickland, Harvey Descendent provided the Benediction and the MOSSAR Color Guard retired the colors.
The approximately fifty guests then climbed back aboard for their ‘hayride’ back to the charter bus.  After a catered lunch at the Armstrong Community Center by A-City Diner, it was back on the bus for a tour and more history of north-west Howard County.
Everyone was appreciative of their witness to and/or participation in the ceremony and the opportunity to learn more about Howard County history.  A special appreciation of  Bill Monnig for allowing the restoration of the cemetery, transportation to the site, and his gracious hospitality, allowing the event to take place.

Cemetery restorer, Eli Chandler, indicates probable location of Harvey homestead

John Hanson, youngest William Harvey descendent in attendance unveils the grave marker

MOSSAR Color Guard Musket Volley fires at the Grave Marking Ceremony

2 Comments

  1. Harold Kerr on July 11, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    I greatly appreciate the coverage of this event! I am the President of the SAR Chapter that was involved in this and we are very happy with the hard work by the author and all!

  2. Sandy Husereaux on July 12, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Well done!

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