After 100 Years Danske Dandridge’s Wish Fulfilled
To honor the men of Shepherdstown who fought in the Revolutionary War, a plaque was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 30, 2016, a 100th anniversary gift of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Pack Horse Ford Chapter to the town. Cheryl Brown, Regent of the local DAR chapter, and also a Historic Shepherdstown board member, headed up the effort to place a plaque on the town’s War Memorial Building.
In 1910 Shepherdstown poet and historian, Danske Dandridge in her book, Historic Shepherdstown, wrote “Should not a monument to the patriotic young riflemen of Shepherdstown and its neighborhood be erected in our village?”
Finally, more 100 years later, Dandridge’s wish became reality when Shepherdstown’s Revolutionary War soldiers were honored with a memorial to their sacrifice.
Dr. John E. Stealey III, a retired distinguished professor of history at Shepherd University, gave an address at the ceremony. He stated that Shepherdstown’s citizens participated extensively in the eight-year war (1775-1783) and many made the ultimate sacrifice. He spoke of the prison ships in the New York harbor, where poor conditions led to a high number of lives lost. Stealey also said, “The War Memorial Building bears plaques recognizing those who gave their lives in World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam…and with the installation and dedication of this plaque on this building in Shepherdstown, we can today assert that the memory of patriotic sacrifices in this community has not faded and has been renewed.”
Pack Horse Ford Chapter Historian, Cindy Nicewarner, led the dedication ceremony and spoke of Danske Dandridge, an early member of the DAR, and her desire for a monument for Shepherdstown’s Revolutionary War dead. Ms. Nicewarmer is descended from John Adam Link Jr., a Revolutionary War soldier buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Shepherdstown.
During the Revolutionary War, seven companies of riflemen were raised in what would later become Jefferson County.
Among these was Capt. Hugh Stephenson’s Company of 100 men who drilled on a vacant lot behind the Entler Tavern and who made a “Beeline March” to Concord, Massachusetts, in 1776 covering 600 miles in just 24 days.
Some 300 privates enlisted at Shepherdstown, then a mustering point for the Continental Army. Over 100 of these men were residents of the town, which had a population of about 1,000 persons. Two-thirds of the Shepherdstown volunteers, according to historian Millard K. Bushong writing in 1941, are said to have died in active service.
Shepherdstown in proportion to its size, provided more officers and men to the Continental Army than any other town in Virginia.
In addition to serving as Regent of the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, Cheryl Brown is a descendent of Berkeley County residents Robert Snodgrass and James Verdier, who provided supplies to the army.
“In planning for the event, we learned a lot about Shepherdstown’s role in the American Revolution,” Cheryl said. “But so many of the documents containing information on Shepherdstown’s role are housed at the Duke University Library. At a minimum, a copy of the documents should be available in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. There is more work to be done! “