Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Isle of Wight Headstone Mystery - Pvt. Jesse Barlow of the Revolutionary War

There is an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch today titled "Isle of Wight headstone is a mystery." It was written by Allison T. Williams of the Daily Press and, I assume, reprinted with her permission. The article can be found on page B3.

Apparently a tombstone for Jesse Barlow, a private in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War, just appeared in St. Luke's Cemetery in Smithfield of Isle of Wight County. Someone "secretly" placed the stone in the cemetery in early January 2009. The funny thing is that no one has any legitimate record of Jesse being buried in that cemetery. The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) also show a different death date for Jesse in their records than what is on the tombstone.

The stone itself is of the Veteran's Administration variety. I ordered one once for a relative of mine and had the stone sent to my house. A big truck showed up and dropped it in my front yard ditch. The stone weighed a few hundred pounds and that was as far as they would take it. My point is that anyone can get a stone, for any veteran, with some minimal proof and any mailing address. The answer to the mystery lies with the VA, someone would just have to take the time to hound them for the answer.

The cemetery seems somewhat upset about the placement and wants the responsible party to contact them. They at least need to resolve the legitimacy of Jesse's burial at the cemetery. I do not know of any trouble that the person could really get into for doing this. The cemetery may have covenants for monument placement, such as the proper method of pouring a footer for the stone, but I do not see where any laws were broken.

If you know who placed the stone, get them to call the cemetery and work it out. Everyone has good intentions here and we all want to see the right thing done in the end. It is a historical cemetery and needs to preserve its integrity.

As an FYI, you can check out the VA's nationwide grave site locator here:



Don said...

I do lots of Genealogy and have done so for years.
This Jesse Barlow story is a HOAX. Jesse Barlow was NEVER in the Army of any kind, now, his son Thomas Barlow was After he and his wife , a luvy Wills married they moved south where they had a daughter in 1797 named Olive who died in 1855 in Texas.
All the above information is available at http://barlowsfamilycemetery.com/family./html

Caite said...

I believe the facts surrounding Jesse Barlow mentioned in this follow-up comment are a little confused.

Jesse Barlow (my ancestor) died in 1779, and his wife Lucy died in 1777 and therefore could not have had a daughter named Olive in 1797. They did however have a son named Thomas (also my ancestor) in 1761. Thomas did serve in the Revolutionary War, enlisting at the age of 16.