DAR to Honor Poke Run Patriots
Revolutionary War Patriot Soldier, John Guthrie, his wife Mary Erwin Lochry Guthrie, and sixteen others buried at Poke Run Church Cemetery in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania will be honored with a new bronze plaque commemorating their military or civil service. A Daughters of the American Revolution commemorative marker will be dedicated on October 29, 2022 at 11:00PM for those of you who would like to attend the ceremony. Poke Run Cemetery, 1091 Poke Run Church Road, Apollo, Pennsylvania.
The following details were provided by Ellen F Rupert, PSSDAR State Historian, Honorary Chapter Regent, Massy Harbison-Ford Hand Chapter, PSSDAR, NSDAR.
The patriots being honored for their Revolutionary War service are as follows:
Mary Erwin Lochry Guthrie
The America 250! Committee of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution is already preparing for the 250th Anniversary of our nation in 2026. Marcia Shavlik, Nebraska State Regent, was serving as State Chair of the America 250! Committee when she decided to look for the grave of her chapter’s namesake patriot, Major Isaac Sadler. She was a member of the Major Isaac Sadler – La Belle Vue Chapter, located in Omaha, Nebraska. The chapter was organized in 1911 by Blanche McKelvy, a direct descendant of Major Isaac Sadler.
It was originally believed Major Isaac Sadler was buried in a grave in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and had a DAR marker and stone at his grave. After much genealogical research, those facts were proven incorrect. Mrs. Shavlik found that based on Major Isaac Sadler’s Revolutionary War pension and other historical documents, he was in an unmarked grave in the Poke Run Cemetery. Linda Chicka of the Poke Run Presbyterian Church shared that in the 1940s, the church’s Trustees, with the help of local Boy Scouts, had tossed out old worn away and broken headstones over the hill near the cemetery.
During the genealogical research for Major Isaac Sadler, it was noted that the church website stated as follows: “Tradition says there are at least twelve Revolutionary War soldiers buried at Poke Run, but to date only eight graves have been confirmed and located.” The President of the Board of Trustees of the Presbyterian Church, Doug Ross, granted permission to the Nebraska Daughters to proceed with their project and provided a copy of the church’s history book published in 1940 (re-vised 1977). Thus, the chapter members expanded their research about the additional Revolutionary War soldiers who may have been interred in the cemetery. Chapter Chaplain Ellen Ramsey-Pagett spear-headed the genealogical research for the remaining patriots, and Chapter Regent Mary Kay Bothwell then reviewed and analyzed the applications before they were sent to Washington, DC for approval. Due to the number of applications being submitted to the DAR for approval, it was necessary to obtain the personal permission of President General Denise Doring VanBuren as well.
Ultimately, 18 applications were approved by Historian General Laura McCrillis Kessler on June 21, 2022. Of the individuals approved, six are new DAR recognized patriots, and one of those is a female patriot. Some of the patriots are in unmarked graves. In September 2021, new military stones were placed in the cemetery by mem-bers of the Poke Run Presbyterian Church for Isaac Sadler and John McConnell. Oth-er military marker applications have been submitted to the VA by the Presbyterian Church and are currently pending.
The Major Isaac Sadler – La Belle Vue Chapter will also be placing a separate DAR Revolutionary War marker in front of Major Isaac Sadler’s military stone at the dedication ceremony because he is their namesake patriot. A descendant of Major Isaac Sadler donated the funds necessary for his marker.
The Massy Harbison-Fort Hand Chapter in Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Ellen Rupert, collaborated with the Nebraska Daughters in fundraising for the commemorative marker, securing the gravestone, and other local assistance as needed. The two DAR chapters will be placing the commemorative marker together in honor of these patriots.
Descendants and other family members of these 18 patriots are especially welcome and encouraged to attend the dedication ceremony. Please contact Amy Wilkinson at the Poke Run Presbyterian Church at 724-327-5563. if you are planning to attend so that appropriate plans can be made to accommodate and recognize those in attendance.
Quote by Mrs. Shavlik: “We currently live in a divided country, and it is our hope that we can come together as a nation in the 250th Anniversary of our country’s founding. Our Revolutionary War patriots lived, fought, and sacrificed for us. We will always remember.”