Patriots Interred in West Liberty Cemetery

Revolutionary War Patriots Buried in the West Liberty Cemetery in Ohio County, West Virginia by Earl G. Nicodemus from research by Gary W. Timmons

Note: GPS Coordinates are provided for each grave. Because of the variabilities in the GPS signals caused by atmospheric conditions, those coordinates have a margin of error of 10-15 feet.

GENERAL BENJAMIN BIGGS, Jan. 31, 1753 – Dec. 2, 1822

Benjamin Biggs was one of the first settlers in the West Liberty, WV area. He moved to West Liberty (then known as Black’s Cabin) in 1774. Biggs served in Dunmore’s War in 1774. He was given a Lieutenant’s Commission in the 13th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line in 1777. Biggs participated in the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, and the Battle of Monmouth. The 13th Virginia spent the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge. On 24 May 1778, the 13th Virginia was assigned to the Western Department at Fort Pitt. It was later reorganized into the 7th Virginia. On December 1, 1778, during the construction of Fort Laurens on the Tuscarawas River in Ohio, General Lathan McIntosh promoted Benjamin Biggs to the rank of Captain. Captain Biggs remained at Fort Laurens as one of the command officers and he endured the siege of Fort Laurens by Simon Girty and a group of Wyandot warriors during February and March, 1779.  From 1779 to 1781 Captain Biggs commanded fort Henry in Wheeling. He also briefly commanded Fort McIntosh in 1780. Biggs also briefly served in Brady’s Rangers. After the war, Biggs remained in the militia. On April 10, 1812, Congress issued a call for troops. The Virginia Militia quota was 12,000 men divided into twenty Brigades. The men from Ohio County were part of the Tenth Brigade which was commanded by Benjamin Biggs who had been promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. Biggs owned two land grants in the West Liberty area. The home that he built during the early 1800’s on the hill above the West Liberty University football field stood until the late 1950’s or early 1960’s. The photo of the Biggs home below was taken around 1960.

Grave of General Benjamin Biggs

GPS Coordinates for grave of Benjamin Biggs: 40.167297° N  80.593989° W

Home of General Benjamin Biggs, built in the early 1800’s

WILLIAM BONAR, 1751 – July 23, 1830

William Bonar served as a Private in Captain Benjamin Stits’s Company of the  Washington County, Pennsylvania Militia. He signed an Oath of Allegiance on  Oct. 7, 1777.

Grave of William Bonar

GPS Coordinates for grave of William Bonar: 40° 10.056′ N  80° 35.637′ W

CAPTAIN SAMUEL BRADY, May 5, 1756 – December 25, 1795

Brady’s grave is marked by two stones. The older marker lists the year of his death as 1786 and the newer one lists the year of his death as 1795. The newer one is correct.

Sam Brady was born at the Brady farm near Shippensburg, Pennsylvania on May 5, 1756. His parents were Captain John Brady, of the Pennsylvania Militia, and his wife Mary. Sam was the oldest of 12 children two of whom died in infancy.

When Washington put out a call for additional troops in the fall of 1776, Colonel Aeneas Mackay began organizing a battalion of men at the town of Kittanning in central Pennsylvania. Along with his father, captain John Brady, and his brother, James, Sam travelled to Kittanning and was mustered into the unit which was known as Makay’s Battalion. In November of 1776, Makay’s Battalion became part of the regular army under the command of General “Mad” Anthony Wayne. At that time, it became the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment. Sam became a scout and spy for General Wayne. Brady and the 8th PA spent the winter of 1777-78 at Valley Forge. The Valley Forge Roster lists him as having the rank of Captain. In the spring of 1778, Washington reassigned the 8th PA to the Western Division at Fort Pitt. Brady was on a scouting mission when the unit departed, so he and a few others did not leave to join the regiment until early summer. Along the way, they learned that an Indian raiding party had attacked the home of the Henry family killing Mrs. Henry and some of her children and taking three other children captive. Brady and his companions tracked the raiding party and killed them in their sleep thereby rescuing the children. When they reached Fort Pitt, General Hand assigned Brady to form a detachment of rangers to deal with the Indian raiding parties.

In 1793, President Washington asked General Wayne to come out of retirement to deal with the Indian problem in Ohio. Wayne placed Captain Brady in command of around 100 spies and scouts. Thanks to information provided by Brady and his spies, Wayne was able to win a decisive victory over the native Americans at the Battle of Fallen Timbers.

As he was returning from a scouting mission in the fall of 1775, Brady slipped on an ice covered stone and fell into a swollen creek hitting his head. He nearly drowned before some of his men reached him and pulled him from the water. He developed a lung infection which the historic records refer to as pleurisy. After suffering for over a month, he died on Christmas day in 1775.

Numerous books, magazine articles, and stories about Captain Samuel Brady have been published over the years. Places in at least five states are named after him. He is the most famous individual interred at the West Liberty Cemetery.

Grave of Captain Samuel Brady

GPS Coordinates For Brady Grave: 40° 10.049′ N  80° 35.626′ W

JOHN BROWN, 1761 – April 22, 1812

Served as a Private in Captain George Sharp’s 3rd Battalion Washington County, Pennsylvania Militia, and also served under Captain James Munn.

Grave of John Brown

GPS Coordinates for Grave of John Brown: 10.049′ N  80° 35.625′ W

WILLIAM BROWN, Oct. 11, 1752 – July 3, 1832

Served as a Private in the Delaware Regiment of Foot Soldiers.

The Delaware regiment was created by Congress in December 1775. Colonel John Haslet organized the unit in January 1776. The Delaware Regiment was actually a battalion made up of men from the lower three counties of Pennsylvania. Today, those counties constitute the state of Delaware.

Grave of William Brown

GPS Coordinates for Grave of William Brown: 40° 10.051′ N  80° 35.626′ W

JAMES CALDWELL, JR. 1750 – Aug 1826

Served in the Ohio County, Virginia Militia

Grave of James Caldwell, Jr.

GPS Coordinates for Grave of James Caldwell: 40° 10.052′ N  80° 35.628′ W

EDWARD CARNEY (AKA KEARNEY), May 10, 1753 – May 2, 1848

Served as a Private in a Delaware Line Regiment, and as a waiter for Dr. James Tilton. Pension S15495; listed as Edward Kearney.

Grave of Edward Carney

GPS Coordinates for Grave of Edward Carney: 40° 10.050′ N  80° 35.626′ W

SERGEANT JOHN CURTIS, June 6, 1750 – July 27, 1843

Sergeant John Curtis served as a Matross in the 1st Company Maryland Artillery which was part of Smallwood’s Battalion” or “The Maryland 400.” John Curtis joined Smallwood’s Battalion as it was being organized in Maryland during the spring of 1776.

On January 14, 1776, Maryland authorized the formation of a battalion consisting of nine companies of troops to support the fight for independence. Colonel William Smallwood was appointed to command the battalion which was organized in Baltimore and Annapolis during the spring of 1776. As a result, it became known as, “Smallwood’s Battalion.” Smallwood’s Battalion was assigned to the Continental Army. On July 6, 1776. In January, 1777, the battalion was redesignated as the 1st Maryland Regiment. Some historical sources refer to the 1st Maryland Regiment as the “Maryland 400.” The regiment saw action during the during the New York Campaign, Battle of Trenton, Battle of Princeton, Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth, Battle of Camden and the Battle of Guilford Court House. In July, 1779, the 1st Maryland was part of the brigade commanded by General (Mad) Anthony Wayne. On July 16, 1779, Wayne ordered a surprise nighttime attack on the British fort on the Hudson River at Stony Point, New York. The attack on the fort was successful although 15 of Wayne’s men were killed and another 83 were wounded. Although he was an artillery matross, Sergeant Curtis was wounded during the hand-to-hand fighting which involved the heavy use of bayonets. After being discharged from the army, Curtis received a pension for his service. (Pension Record: S12645)

Grave of John Curtis

GPS Coordinates for Grave of John Curtis: 40° 10.056′ N  80° 35.624′ W

ELIJAH FOOTE, Oct. 29, 1740 – Oct. 15, 1813

Elijah Foote enlisted in the Eighth Regiment of the Connecticut Line of the Continental Army on September 3, 1777 where he served in Captain Comstock’s Company which was part of General McDougall’s command. After participating in the battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777 the eighth Connecticut spent the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge. On June 28, 1778, Foote saw action with the 8th PA during the Battle of Monmouth. Foote was discharged on September 3, 1780.

Grave of Elijah Foote

GPS Coordinates for Grave of Elijah Foote: 40° 10.054′ N  80° 35.623′ W

LIEUTENANT COLONEL DAVID McCLURE, ? – September 14, 1786

The Virginia Assembly created Ohio County on November 1, 1776. Representatives from around the county held an organizational meeting on December 27, 1776 at the home of Ezekiel DeWitt on Buffalo Creek. They established Black’s Cabin, AKA West Liberty, as the county seat and appointed individuals to serve as members of the first county court. The new Ohio County Court met for the first time on January 6, 1777 at Black’s Cabin. The following was copied from the court record for that first day:

John McCulloch, Esq. was sworn as high sheriff of said County, He then did offer Messrs. John Mitchel & Sam McCulloch, Both of this County, as sureties for the due executing the office of Sheriff within this County. The Court then proceeded to the choice of a Clerk, & James McMechen being approved of for that purpose & having taken the usual oath took his seat at the Clerk’s table accordingly.

The Court then adverting to the expediency that the Militia of this County should be under the best of Regulations and discipline, came to the following resolutions: that David Shepherd, Esq. be recommended to his honor the Governor as County Lieutenant in and for this County, & Silas Hedges as Colonel, & Mr. David McClure as Lieutenant Colonel, & Sam! McCulloch as Major of Militia.

Governor Patrick Henry approved the recommendation and David McClure was sworn in as a Lieutenant Colonel of the Ohio County Militia.

On January 28, 1777, Lieutenant Colonel MCClure served as the recording secretary for the council of war that was held at Catfish Camp which was located at the site of the present-day town of Washington, PA.

Grave of Lieutenant Colonel David McClure

GPS Coordinates for Grave of David McClure: 40° 10.054′ N  80° 35.624′ W

JOHN NELSON, 1732 – June 18, 1813

Served as a Private in Captain Andrew Swearingen’s 3rd Battalion Washington County, Pennsylvania Militia.

Grave of John Nelson

GPS Coordinates for Grave of John Nelson: 40° 10.053′ N  80° 35.623′ W

ABRAHAM RODGERS, Oct. 17, 1760 – Oct. 1837

Served as a Private in the Brooke County, Virginia Militia. He was at the first Battle of Fort Henry on Sept. 1, 1777.

Grave of Abraham Rodgers

GPS Coordinates for Grave of Abraham Rodgers: 40° 10.042′ N  80° 35.623′ W

NICHOLAS RODGERS, 1734-1810

Served in the Ohio County, Virginia Militia. Was at the first Battle of Fort Henry on September 1, 1777.

Grave of Nicolas Rodgers

GPS Coordinates for Grave of Nicolas Rodgers: 40° 10.040′ N  80° 35.620′ W