On June 01, 2019, Norfolk Chapter President Ken Hawkins conducted dignified ceremonies marking the graves of five Revolutionary War Patriots at Cedar Grove Cemetery and eleven Patriot graves at Trinity Episcopal Church Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia. Heavy rain and lightning delayed the ceremonies, but the weather cleared by late morning and the sun appeared in time to provide a magnificent setting for the day’s activities—appropriately symbolizing the legacy of the heroes we sought to honor and remember. At Cedar Grove, Nash Bilisoly, a descendant of Antonio Bilisoly, sailing master of a ship in Comte de Grasse’s fleet in the Battle of the Capes, gave a stirring talk. Norfolk SAR Immediate Past President Maury Weeks read the biographies of the five Revolutionary Patriots whose graves we marked (Captain Edward Woneycutt, Antonio Bilisoly, Jesse Nicholson, William Moffatt, and Richard Blow). Pastor Celeste Heath and Norfolk President Ken Hawkins unveiled and dedicated the grave markers prior to the laying of wreaths.
At Trinity Episcopal, Virginia Society President Peter Davenport and President Stuart Butler of the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia unveiled and dedicated a plaque with the names of the eleven Revolutionary War Patriots and fourteen War of 1812 Veterans. Virginia Society SAR’s Knight-Patty Fund financed SAR’s portion of the cost of this plaque. Bishop James Magness of the Diocese of Southern Virginia offered the invocation and benediction. Maury Weeks and Edward Douglas read the Patriot biographies at Trinity Episcopal and Carter Furr and Tom Whetstone read the War of 1812 Veteran biographies.
At each ceremony, the Virginia Society Color Guard posted the colors and Hickory High School Senior Andrew Barr performed “Taps.” Mayor John Rowe read proclamations from the Portsmouth City Council. Representatives of the Virginia Society SAR, Society of the War of 1812 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia Chapter Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America, Virginia Society Order of Founders and Patriots of America, Suffolk Chapter Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, and a number of SAR and DAR chapters laid wreaths. Several direct descendants of the honored veterans attended the ceremonies; in addition to Nash Bilisoly, these included Marshall Butt--descended from Commodore James Barron, Macon Williams--descended from Patriot Isaac Luke, and Alexander P. Grice IV--descended from Joseph Grice (Revolution) and Anthony and George Grice (War of 1812). After the ritual of photos, most enjoyed a good barbecue lunch at the Trinity Episcopal tent on Court Street, which the city blocked off for the occasion. Submitted by J. Thomas Whetstone