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Bee Line March remembered

By Staff | Nov 9, 2012

Exactly 80 years apart, first on Friday, Oct. 28, 1932 and Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) remembered the Bee Line March by dedicating, then rededicating the DAR Bee Line March monument. The monument was recently moved from the well-traveled Route 45 to a safer place with a new concrete base- just inside the Elmwood Cemetery main gate. Due to the impending storm of Sandy, the rededication was held at the Station at Shepherdstown with over 60 people in attendance.

Regent Cheryl A. Brown welcomed everyone, gave words of appreciation and led the rededication of the monument. Remarks were made by Meredith Wait, chairman of the Shepherdstown 250 Committee, who commented that the new location of the monument is a “safer place for generations to enjoy.”

Major John R. Poland, Commander, 167th Civil Engineer Squadron, West Virginia Air National Guard, whose squadron moved the monument, said his unit was glad to support the community. Thanks were also given to those who helped with the monument and ceremony including Diana Suttenfield, Col. Kim Sencindiver, Dickie and Ronnie Brown, Jim Schmitt, the West Virginia Department of Highways, Elmwood Cemetery Board of Directors, General Adam Stephen Chapter of the National Society Sons of the American Revolution and the Corporation of Shepherdstown 250 Committee.

Chapter Chaplain Joan Moler read Scripture and gave the Invocation and Benediction. The Processional and Recessional were led by the Color Guard for Troop 32, Boy Scouts of America. Two members of the West Virginia DAR’s leadership, Honorary State Regent Jean Elliott and State Vice Regent Barby Frankenberry, were recognized.

The address for the rededication was given by P. Douglas Perks, Historian for the Elmwood Cemetery Association Board of Directors. His speech included excerpts from the book “Historic Shepherdstown,” written by Danske Dandridge in 1910. Her book contains portions from Henry Bedinger’s journal written in 1775. Bedinger, 21 years old at the time, was one of the members of the volunteer company that made the Bee Line March. Bedinger’s diary entry is dated July 17, 1775, when the Bee Line March began. The company reached camp at Cambridge, MA on August, 11, 1775. The company’s motto was “Liberty or Death,” taken from a speech made by Patrick Henry. When Generals George Washington and Horatio Gates met the company, they shouted three times an unknown phrase. Assuming the generals may have shouted the company’s motto in recognition of the sacrifices these men had made, Perks led the audience in shouting three times “Liberty or Death.”

Chapter Registrar Dorrene Hale recounted the dedication ceremony from 80 years ago. Shepherd State College was closed for the day and the college band performed during the program. Company D, 201st Infantry, West Virginia National Guard also participated in the ceremony. After the dedication, a delicious buffet supper was held at Belle Vue, the home of Mrs. Roland C. Ringgold. The Oct. 28, 1932 Shepherdstown Registrar newspaper gave a detailed description of the dedication. The article ended with, “The 28th of October, 1932, will long be remembered by the people of the community as one of real historic interest and genuine patriotic sentiment. The Pack Horse Ford Chapter has done a splendid piece of work in erecting this monument and permanently commemorating a notable event in our history.”

A reception followed the ceremony headed by co-chairpersons Margaret Writt, Patty Stealey and Mary Davis. Apple cider, homemade cookies and candied corn and pumpkins were served to all in attendance.

The Daughters of the American Revolution is a nonprofit, nonpolitical volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to preserving American history, securing America’s future through better education, and promoting patriotism. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org or contact Dorrene Hale at (304) 725-6140 for membership information.