2016-09-06 / Front Page

Revolutionary soldier to be remembered

By TAMMY WELLS
Senior Staff Writer


A ceremony to dedicate a headstone for Revolutionary War veteran Benjamin Webber will take place at the Webber Cemetery, 1500 Walnut Hill Road in Shapleigh, at 10 a.m. Saturday. 
TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune A ceremony to dedicate a headstone for Revolutionary War veteran Benjamin Webber will take place at the Webber Cemetery, 1500 Walnut Hill Road in Shapleigh, at 10 a.m. Saturday. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune SHAPLEIGH — A few years ago when Ron Rivard was looking for evidence of the burial of Revolutionary War soldier Benjamin Webber, he met up with Russell Day on Walnut Hill Road. Day, now deceased, was in his 90s at the time, with a memory sharp as a tack, Rivard said.

Rivard mentioned that he was looking for the Webber cemetery and said he‘d heard the homestead had been demolished years ago.

Then he learned it was still standing – Day told him he was born and raised in the house. He told Rivard there was a cemetery behind the barn.

Rivard spoke to the owner at the time and got permission to look around and sure enough, there was a Webber cemetery. Among the graves were two unmarked flat rocks – a signal that Benjamin Webber, who was born in York in 1754, and his wife Mary Beedle Webber were buried there.

And at 10 a.m. Saturday, folks are invited to make their way to the cemetery at 1500 Walnut Hill Road, where a headstone will be dedicated to Webber’s service .

Webber, according to historical records, served as a private in the Revolutionary War from 1775 to 1776 in Capt. Jonathon Nowell’s Company of Col. Prescott’s Regiment of the Massachusetts Line, mustered out of Peeksill, New York. He received a land grant in Shapleigh some time prior to 1782. Rivard said Springvale genealogist Fred Boyle, whose wife Barbara is a relative of Webber, told him that Webber slept on a tall rock as he was building his home because of a visiting bear.

Webber died in 1826. He had been farming and served as a Shapleigh constable from 1812-15.

Rivard, Shapleigh’s volunteer cemetery superintendent, set about several years ago to secure a headstone from the Veteran’s Administration to mark Webber’s grave. Rivard has secured several headstones in the past to mark the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers. The process in this case however, turned out to be troublesome – with denials and appeals, and still more denials – that family members, the Town of Shapleigh and some others got together to finance the purchase of the stone themselves.

Boyle will speak about Webber at the ceremony, and John Folsom will unveil the stone. Among other features of the ceremony will be posting of the colors by Boy Scout Troop 320, an invocation and benediction by pastor Jonathan Bosse and more. Sanford Veterans Memorial Committee will fire a rifle salute.

According to Rivard, 1500 Walnut Hill Road is accessible only from Springvale. Folks should turn onto Mill Street from Route 109, then angle left onto Elm Street, which becomes Walnut Hill Road at the Shapleigh town line. 1500 Walnut Hill Road is on the right at a sharp left turn. Folks should follow a path of flags 400 feet to the Benjamin Webber cemetery.

The ground may be a bit rough underfoot, and folks are advised to wear adequate shoes or boots. Rivard said the path has been made wheelchair accessible as much as possible. The ceremony will be less than an hour. Folks who require seating should bring a lawn chair.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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