Washington Park – A Tribute to Fallen Patriots – A Dream is Achieved by Perseverance

In three short years, the United States of America will celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In preparation of this event, the Cincinnati Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (CCSAR) will begin to honor fifty-four Patriots of the Revolutionary War who were buried in Hamilton County.  It is believed that the majority were buried in downtown Cincinnati where Washington Park is now located.

The key catalyst behind this event was Mike Gunn, Chairman of the CCSAR Grave Marking Committee.  Mike has pursued having this event for a number of years and was passionate and persistent in making this happen.  Mike’s dream was to have these Patriots honored.  Special thanks to the 3CDC and the City of Cincinnati for listening and permitting this event to happen.

Local Television Station 12 was on hand to record the events.  Below is a link to the video captured on local television:

Local 12 – Television Coverage of July 4th Washington Park Ceremony

On Tuesday July 4th, 2023 on a gorgeous summer afternoon the 3CDC hosted a ceremony where the Cincinnati SAR brought honor to the first five of the fifty-four Patriots.  These Patriots names are listed on a 8′ by 12′ bronze inside Memorial Hall on Elm Street.

Plaque in Memorial Hall Recognizing American Revolutionary War Patriots

The ceremony started in Memorial Hall with brief comments by Mike Gunn (CCSAR) about the history of the Patriots buried in Washington Park and other parts of Hamilton County.

Memorial Hall on Elm in Cincinnati – host to the Revolutionary War Patriot Bronze Plaque

Mike Gunn of CCSAR Presents to Audience in Memorial Hall

The ceremony then moved across Elm Street to Washington Park.

Participants enjoy a beautiful summer day in Washington Park

There were five Patriots recognized during the event.  Over the next couple of years and prior to the 250th Ceremony in 2026, the remaining forty-nine Patriots will be recognized.

Cincinnati SAR Members

Participating representatives of other SAR Chapters, Ladies Auxiliary, Daughters of the American Revolution and Children of the American Revolution

This event is significant as 150 years ago, there was a decision to close the cemetery where Washington Park now stands.  As a result, many Patriot graves were abandoned here, lost to time.  With this ceremony and the commitment to honor all 54 Revolutionary War Patriots, these Patriots will be recorded in the National Registry of the Sons of the American Revolution.

A new marker in Washington Park was unveiled during the ceremony:

New Granite Marker in Washington Park Recognizing the American Revolutionary War Patriots Buried Here and In Hamilton County

Jeff Seuss, a recent speaker to our CCSAR group also posted an article on the events leading up to this ceremony.   The article is below:

Fox 19 Article by Jeff Seuss on Washington Park July 4th Tribute

The Emcee for the event was Lee Wilkerson of the CCSAR.  The keynote speaker for the event was Steve Kaplan of the Dayton SAR & 1st Vice President of the Ohio Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Emcee Lee Wilkerson and Scott Freeman of the CCSAR

Lee Wilkerson – his TV Introduction

Ohio SAR 1st Vice President – Steve Kaplan – Keynote Address

The program of the days activities is attached:

2023 Independance Day Ceremony 1 & 2, 3, 4 ___

The Cincinnati SAR Nolan Carson Color Guard was dressed in soldiers uniforms reflective of the 1770’s.

CCSAR Posting Colors

There was a presentation by Brad Jarard, Color Guard Commander outlining what these soldiers experienced during war, military tactics, and myth’s vs. realities of war explained.


A musket volley was executed by the Color Guard members for the visitors to experience.

The five Patriots honored were:

  • John Bartle (1743-1839) – New York
  • John Cavender (1760-1837) – Maryland Militia
  • Jesse Downs (1764-1826) – Massachusetts
  • William Grant (1751-1827) – Morgans Virginia
  • Joseph Halsey, Jr. (1751-1796) – New Jersey

Upon conclusion of these activities, the Color Guard completed a three volley musket salute to these Patriots, followed by the Mourn Arms presentation recognizing the sacrifice they made to themselves, their families and their new country.



Mourn Arms Salute to Fallen but Not Forgotten Patriots

Taps was played to complete the program.

Gordon Stokely Playing an Inspired Rendition of Taps

All in all, it was a wonderful event and a fitting tribute for these Patriots who served us in our fight for independence.  What we have today as a nation is the legacy of these Patriots and all that have served.

Ladies Auxiliary – SAR Ohio

We will continue to honor the remaining Patriots up through the 2026 250th Anniversary commemoration.

Watch for Upcoming Events!


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