By Verne Thayer and Wesley Wratchford
On May 10, 2014, MASSAR’s Continental Color Guard participated in Grafton History Day at the invitation of the Grafton Historical Society. Each year they choose a different period in our history. This year was the American Revolution.
We were well represented by several Guardsmen: Jack Cunningham (Commander), Steve Perkins (State Secretary & First VP), Wesley H. Wratchford (President – Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter). Allan Van Wert (MASSAR & Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter Safety Officer), Charles Kingsbury (Color Guard Treasurer) and Verne Thayer (Past President – Col. Wm Henshaw Chapter).
Also taking part were Michael Fishbein (MASSAR President), Dwight Smith (Col. Wm Henshaw Awards & Medals Chair) and Joe Gauthier (Old Middlesex Chapter).
We were joined by Linda Carter, President of the Grafton Historical Society and Elizabeth J Tivnan, Regent of the Col. Timothy Bigelow DAR Chapter. We had information available to the public about how to join the SAR, our Eagle Scout Awards and Scholarships, and Flag Certificates. We also had a small uniform and a tricorn hat for children to wear as they had their pictures taken with our Guardsmen, along with a special certificate saying the child was a member of the Colonial Militia.
We shared our information tent with Beth Tivnan and a few other members of the Col. Timothy Bigelow DAR Chapter, and also the Worcester 1774 Org. Next to us, Joe Gauthier (OMC) set up a table of his own. He had Color Guard bumper stickers available for sale and a large banner that said, “Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard”. Joe also had some replica colonial currency that he would pay the kids when they signed up for the militia.
There were many other groups there as well, including a few Civil War reenactors, craftsmen, cooks, and horticulturalists, which made for an enjoyable time for everyone. Our Guardsmen were all present by 10:00 a.m. and engaging the visitors. We drilled on the Grafton Common and gave a musket volley for the public in preparation for two grave markings.
Before we left for the cemetery, a local reenactor offered a presentation on the life of Col. Luke Drury (1737-1811). Col. Drury’s activities spanned the period from the French and Indian War to the Federal era. He served in the militia during the French and Indian War, fought at Bunker Hill, and was then based at West Point during the Revolution and later served as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Worcester County Militia. He later was elected as the Grafton representative to the Massachusetts House.
Our Guardsmen, along with some interested members of the public, marched one-half mile to the Old Oak Cemetery, where there are numerous patriots interred – many with SAR grave markers. After a brief prayer service, we shot a musket volley at the grave of Col. Drury. We also paid our respects at the grave of Major David W. Leland (1758-1831). Maj. Leland was an ancestor of our Guard Commander Jack Cunningham. A second musket volley was fired in his honor, and to honor all patriots buried at the Old Oak Cemetery.