LACKAWAXEN - Veterans as well as members of the general public gathered in Lackawaxen Saturday afternoon, to honor an unknown solider from the Revolutionary War. The unidentified soldier fought in the Battle of Minisink July 22, 1779, that occurred across the Delaware River less than a mile from the grave site.
Pike County Historian as well as founding organizer of the annual service, George Fluhr told the tale of the American Revolution solider whose bones were found under a rock by a man searching for his cows in 1847. The solider was later identified as an American soldier killed in battle because of the equipment and buttons from his uniform. Employees of the canal gathered the remains and brought them to the present location, where the United States government designated a bronze tablet that exists today.
Fluhr said that during the American Revolution in 1779, Mohawk and Tories Indians raided a settlement where Port Jervis is today and burnt 20 buildings, including a church. When word spread through Orange County New York, Sussex County New Jersey as well as Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania, men were asked to assemble at the stone house in Port Jervis, which remains today.
From there, it was decided that the men would go after the Indians who traveled up along the Delaware River and on the morning of July 22 1779, following a “furious battle” an estimated 47 members of the militia were killed.
After the battle, Fluhr said the “bodies of the dead” remained in the woods for years. It wasn’t until 1822 that some bones were found and brought to Goshen, which was one of the largest towns at the time for burial. These were not all of the bones though.
In 1842 more bones were discovered near the battlefield by hunters and taken to a cemetery in Barryville, New York, which was later covered by a landslide during a hurricane in 1955. There are three locations where bones of soldiers are known to exist in the area.
A man who gave the invocation, said honoring soldiers who die in battle helps make people aware of the sacrifice soldiers make, as they died when fighting “in the name of freedom throughout history.”
Barbara Gropper, the regent of the Wayne Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution said the organization’s objectives are those of patriotism, commemoration and to not forget “those who perished in war.” The commemoration is for the men who “gave us our rights.”
VFW Post 3635, the Ecker-Haupt Post provided a wreath that Iraq war veteran Ray Fennell placed on the unknown soldier’s grave.