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DAR marks grave of local Patriot

By Staff | May 4, 2017

Nearly 70 members, guests and family members were in attendance for a breakfast and grave marking to honor the memory of Patriot William Darke (1736-1801) hosted by Pack Horse Ford Chapter and Bee Line Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) on Saturday, April 8.

Breakfast was served in the new hall of Uvilla United Methodist Church. The breakfast meeting began with the ritual led by Pack Horse Ford Chapter First Vice Regent Patricia Toffling and Bee Line Chapter Registrar Emily Cooper. Chaplain Barbara Nickell of Pack Horse Ford Chapter said grace.

Historian Doug Perks gave a presentation on Patriot William Darke who settled near present-day Duffields. Corporal Darke fought in the French and Indian War. He was one of the first Virginians to volunteer to fight in the American Revolution. He was promoted to captain. During the Battle of Germantown in October 1777, he was captured by the British and held prisoner until his release in 1780. At the end of the war, he had advanced to lieutenant colonel. Darke also provided supplies in support of the colonists’ cause.

In 1788, Darke represented Berkeley County at the Virginia Constitution Convention where he voted in favor of the federal Constitution. He was elected to represent Berkeley County in the Virginia Assembly for a two-year term.

Darke took the call to arms again in 1791, and he was seriously wounded during the Battle of the Wabash. This was a fight in the Northwest Territory of the Ohio River between the U.S. and the Western Confederacy of American Indians. Darke lost his son in that battle. It is estimated that 900 men, women and children were killed. That was Darke’s last campaign and he retired to his home in Duffields. In 1796, The Commonwealth of Virginia promoted him to brigadier general in recognition of his service. He died on Nov. 16, 1801, and is buried in the Darke-Engle-Ronemous Graveyard in Shenandoah Junction.

At Patriot William Darke’s gravesite, a dedication of his marker was held. The Processional was led by the Henrietta Bedinger Lee Society, National Society Children of the American Revolution (N.S.C.A.R.) Color Guard, Dedrik Shafer, Tre Shafer and Carsyn Blenker. The Invocation was given by Chaplain Barbara Nickell, Pack Horse Ford Chapter, NSDAR. The Pledge of Allegiance was given by Jane Snyder, Chair, National Defense Committee and thee American’s Creed was led by Cindy Nicewarner, historian, both of Pack Horse Ford Chapter, NSDAR. The song “America” was led by The Rev. Dr. Raleigh Watson, Chaplain, General Adam Stephen Chapter, National Society Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR) and also a Darke family descendant. The Welcome and the Dedication of Marker were given by Patricia Toffling, Pack Horse Ford Chapter NSDAR. Greetings were given by Herb Snyder, property owner and remarks were made by Bruce Dunkman, MD, a Darke family descendant.

The Unveiling of the Marker was led by Arnold “Don” Amoroso, Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret.) and fifth great grandson. Decoration of grave with several wreaths were placed by Anne Phillips and Elizabeth Martin, Pack Horse Ford Chapter, NSDAR and Darke family descendants; Emily Cooper, Registrar, Bee Line Chapter, NSDAR; D. Frank Hill, III, treasurer, General Adam Stephen Chapter, NSSAR; and Amanda Jackson, treasurer, Henrietta Bedinger Lee Society, N.S.C.A.R. Benediction was led by Barbara Nickell, chaplain, Pack Horse Ford Chapter, NSDAR. Recessional was led by the Henrietta Bedinger Lee Society, N.S.C.A.R. Color Guard.

The Pack Horse Ford Chapter is now taking reservations for an overnight chartered bus trip to Philadelphia for Friday and Saturday, June 9-10. Tour highlights include Museum of the American Revolution; the National Constitution Center; City Tavern; and a guided walking tour of the Historic District. For more information, contact Pack Horse Ford Chapter Treasurer Katherine Genung at 304-229-6485 or katherine@twogenungs.com.

DAR is a thriving women’s service organization that focuses on work in local communities to promote historic preservation, education and patriotism. If you would like to learn more about the Pack Horse Ford Chapter, contact Regent Kathy Sholl at 304-876-1250. To learn more about the work of today’s DAR, visit www.DAR.org.