POLITICS
05/28/2013 01:12 pm ET Updated Jul 28, 2013

Abram Nesbitt, Revolutionary War Hero, Honored With New Grave Marker On Memorial Day

PLYMOUTH -- For years, Abram Nesbitt's grave was another old marker among many in the Shawnee Cemetery. Faded letters showed his name, age and death date.

A new marker now tells another piece of Nesbitt's life and Wyoming Valley history.

In front of his original tombstone is a donated marker that reads: Abram Nesbitt -- Revolutionary War Soldier.

When he was 14, Nesbitt prepared the Shawnee Fort for possible attack while other settlers fought in the battle of Wyoming. He later joined a local company that fought with the Wyoming Militia, worked as a farmer, married Bethiah Wheeler and died in 1847 at the age of 83.

Nearly 175 years later, Steve Kondrad, president of the Plymouth Historical Society, was checking genealogy records. Kondrad is also a member of the cemetery association, and summer landscaping of the grounds was replaced in the winter by research into the cemetery's oldest deaths, those that were buried in other places before Shawnee Cemetery was founded and moved there later.

He ran "Abram Nesbitt" through some of his archives and was amazed at what came out.

"Holy cow, I thought, we just found a Revolutionary War soldier in the cemetery with no recognition," he said.

The Shawnee Fort chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution raised funds at the Plymouth Kielbasa Festival and Nesbitt's descendents donated money to install a fresh marker in front of his old tombstone.

Under the sun of Memorial Day, the Daughters of the American Revolution and Plymouth veterans unveiled the old soldier's monument.

The ceremony was just the way the group wanted to celebrate the holiday.

Heather Ruseskas, vice president of the DAR group, traced her family tree back further than anyone else in her 10th-grade social studies class. Her ancestor, George Ransom, is another Revolutionary War veteran buried in the cemetery. Mary Beth Kondrad, a secretary of the DAR chapter, started learning about history when her grandmother took her to visit family graves. To get to the tombstones, they had to cut through grass and clear the lot with a sickle. When the work was finished, she got her reward: Stories from grandma about her family history. Next year, the DAR plans to install a marker at the grave of Absalom Case, her ancestor, who is buried in a small local cemetery.

Nesbitt is one of at least three Revolutionary War veterans buried in the cemetery and may be joined by more brothers-in-arms.

Steve Kondrad thinks Shawnee Cemetery might hold more war veterans, because an old newspaper article mentions 19 veterans from the war. More than 15,000 people are buried in the grounds, and the historical society has records for about 11,000 of them, Kondrad said, so there's more research to do and possibly, more patriots to discover.

bwellock@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2051, @CVBillW ___

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