ORANGE TOWNSHIP — The final resting place of an American Revolutionary War soldier and bodyguard to George Washington is found off a quiet road near the Miami-Shelby county line and was the site of a tribute in his honor over the weekend.
A group of descendants, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), local community members, and visitors from Michigan to Florida gathered in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery on Saturday morning at the grave of Lewis Boyer to remember the 175th anniversary of his death.
Boyer, who lived from Aug. 3, 1756 to Sept. 19, 1843, is buried in Wesley Chapel Cemetery off Brown Road in Shelby County.
Boyer’s descendant, Doug Redd of St. Petersburg, Florida, organized the tribute in Boyer’s honor, displaying Boyer’s discharge paper next to his grave. Redd first became interested in researching Boyer 20 years ago after he and his family found papers in his grandmother’s estate stating that they were related to Boyer.
“He would be my fifth great-grandfather,” Redd said.
Redd’s interest in Boyer then grew into compiling a book of records and data that is over 500 pages long,
Boyer is also believed to have been one of George Washington’s bodyguards.
“He was one of the last 12 soldiers that escorted Washington back to Mount Vernon,” Redd said.
Boyer is also believed to have served during the entire Revolutionary War, enlisting on Feb. 17, 1776, according to his grave registration and obituary. According to the Troy Historical Society, Boyer enlisted in Rockingham County, Virginia, and served with VanHeer’s company, lifeguards to Washington.
“His obituary states that he was at all major battles of the Revolutionary War,” Redd said.
Boyer fought in several campaigns including the siege at Yorkstown, according to the Troy Historical Society. Boyer was honorably discharged in December 1783 by a special certificate signed by Washington, according to his war record.
Boyer moved to Miami County around 1810. When asked why Boyer came to Miami County, Redd said that he had a land grant. The Troy Historical Society stated Boyer received 100 acres of land and a pension for his military service. Boyer lived in Springcreek Township near the Miami-Shelby county line, becoming a “circuit riding minister.”
The inscription on Boyer’s gravestone reads:
“Here Boyer lies, who Britain’s arms withstood
Not for his own but for his country’s good.
The victor oft on famed Columbia’s fields
To death at last aged hero yields.”
Redd said that organizing this tribute was his way of honoring Boyer. “Military service means quite a lot to me … It’s just a process of honoring a soldier,” he said.
Members of the Piqua-Lewis Boyer Chapter of the DAR attended the tribute, including Vice Regent Annette Stewart of Darke County and Judy Deeter, president of the Troy Historical Society. The Piqua-Lewis Boyer Chapter was formed on Dec. 7, 1989, when the Piqua Chapter and the Lewis Boyer Chapter merged.
Members of two different chapters of the SAR — including Steve Kaplan of the Dayton area’s Richard-Montgomery Chapter, and Terry Whetstone and Paul Schenk of the Springfield area’s George Rogers Clark Chapter — also attended the tribute in Revolutionary War uniforms.
Whetstone, past president of the George Rogers Clark Chapter of the SAR, presented Redd with a certificate honoring his research efforts and his efforts in preserving the history of a Revolutionary War veteran.
“I’m honor to be able to do this and attend this,” Whetstone said.
“This is really heartening to see,” said Ed Bailey, another member of the George Rogers Clark Chapter of the SAR.
The tribute to Boyer ended with Bailey reading a eulogy for a veteran, saying, “Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org