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Independence Day Kickoff at Congressional Cemetery

4 Jul 2022 10:00 AM | William Ritchie (Administrator)

The District of Columbia Society Sons of the American Revolution (“DCSAR”), the District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (“DCDAR”), the District of Columbia Children of the American Revolution (“DC C.A.R.”) and members of many other lineage and patriotic organizations gathered on the Fourth of July 2022 at 10:00am for our traditional Independence Day kickoff at Congressional Cemetery. The purpose was to honor and remember Vice President Elbridge Gerry and all the other Signers of the Declaration of Independence. Vice President Gerry is the only Signer buried in Washington, D.C. Following the welcoming, Compatriot John D. Stonesifer, Chaplain of the DCSAR, provided the invocation and concluded the program with the benediction. During the ceremony new DCSAR compatriots we inducted.

Charles Peterson "Pete” Meachum lives in Arlington. He and his brother, William Chester Meachum who lives in Virginia Beach, joined last January but this is the first time either of them could make it to an event. Their 5th great grandfather was Davidson Dudley, a signer of the New Hampshire Association Test.

Erick Christopher Mullen lives in upper Northwest Washington.  His 6th great grandfather was Thomas Brownell, a private in the 2nd Bristol County Massachusetts Regiment which responded to an alarm at Rhode Island in August 1780.

Elijah David McKnight is a seventeen-year-old resident of the District of Columbia who has successfully documented that his 6th great-grandfather, Luke Valentine, was a Revolutionary War patriot. Elijah attends the DC International School and hopes to receive an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Elijah obtained his pilot’s license at the age of 16.

Luke Valentine, a “free man of Colour” was twice drafted into the Virginia Militia, first during May 1780. His militia company was commanded by Captain Thomas Leftwich and marched to Hillsborough, North Carolina joining other Virginia companies to form a brigade commanded by General Edward Stevens. After several campaigns, Luke was discharged around the 1st of February 1781.

Luke was drafted again during May 1781 and joined a militia company commanded by Captain Adam Clements from Bedford County, Virginia that marched to the assistance of General Nathanael Green in South Carolina, and later marched British prisoners of war to Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He was discharged by Major Ward during August 1781.

Witnesses to Elijah’s induction were his mother Niambi Jarvis and his grandmother, Martha Jackson Jarvis who are both members of the Judge Lynn Chapter, DCDAR.

Darron Overby, founder of The Black Phalanx Brigade: Afro-Militaria Historians & Reenactors Guild performed a brief characterization of Luke Valentine during the program to the delight of our guests.  

 Elijah was first African American inductee since William O. Ritchie Jr., became the first African American president of the DCSAR in its 132-year history earlier this year.

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The D.C. Sons of the American Revolution is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. 1801 E Street SEWashington, DC 20003 

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