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Dedication of Memorials

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             CHAPTER

                 XIV

       Dedication of Memorials

Elizabeth Tribett O'Hair spent her declining years with her son, James Eddington Montgomery O'Hair, at his farm located north of Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana. She died October 1, 1839, at the age of seventy-one.

Memorial Services were held for Elizabeth O'Hair on October 26, 1930, attended by approximately 500 of her descendants from many states, including Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The ceremonies included the unveiling of a 9,000 pound granite boulder which had been erected at her grave.

Mr. Fred O'Hair, of Greencastle, Indiana, acted as Master of Ceremonies. He stated that Judge James H. Swango of Terre Haute, Frank T. O'Hair of Paris, Illinois, and he had conceived, developed and completed the plan to erect a monument at the grave of Elizabeth Tribett O'Hair. They decided that an appropriate emblem would be the best granite boulder obtainable from the native soil of Indiana. Fred O'Hair told how they had engaged a celebrated artist to cast a bronze figure depicting a pioneer mother in a pioneer setting, to be affixed to the granite boulder. He stated they had also attached to the boulder a bronze tablet in memory of Michael O'Hair.

Fred O'Hair then introduced his cousin, Mrs. Beryl O'Hair Allen of Greencastle. She thanked the committee of Judge Swango, Fred O'Hair and Frank O'Hair, who had been assisted by Mrs. Oscar Thomas, Jennie Curtis Hearst, and Neely O'Hair. Mrs. Allen then drew back the curtain and unveiled the memorial.

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ELIZABETH TRIBBETT O'HAIR MEMORIAL

BRICK CHAPEL CEMETERY

NEAR GREENCASTLE, INDIANA

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Following the unveiling of the memorial, Judge Swango delivered the principal address. He gave a history of Michael O'Hair's Revolutionary War record, and had this to say of Elizabeth Tribbett O'Hair: "I am indebted to my great uncle J. G. Trimble, of Mt. Sterling for information concerning the home life of Elizabeth Tribbett O'Hair, as he knew her when he was a child and often visited at her home. She was a widow for twenty-six years and it fell to her lot to rear a large family. She lived in a big log house, one room of which contained nearly all the implements used in the manufacture of clothing for the household. She had a spinning wheel, warping bars, reel, a hand loom, winding blades and a flax brake, which she used to manufacture tow and flax linen, blankets, flannels, jeans, carpets, etc. She was a strict moralist. She usually cooked on Saturday all the food required for Sunday. After the family had grown up, she left Kentucky with the family of Jesse Ogden, her son-in-law, for Edgar County, Illinois, in 1833 but later returned to Kentucky and then went to Greencastle, Indiana, in 1836, with her son, Washington, who went on to Texas to engage in the War of Texan Independence. These three trips were made on horseback and covered a distance of over one thousand miles. I doubt very much if any of her female descendants would undertake a horseback ride of this character in this day of paved roads and automobiles...

"And now, Elizabeth Tribbett, sainted mother and pioneer, stand up and let us salute you. You were orphaned when a little child. You found a home in the bosom of a poor widow. You floated down the beautiful Ohio from Virginia with the tomahawk and scalping knife gleaming round you. You trudged along the buffalo trails from the Ohio, past Blue Lick, to what is now the City of Mt. Sterling. You took Mike for better or worse. You were the mother of brave sons and virtuous daughters. Your Christian virtues are enshrined in our hearts forever. Your history is 'the short and simple annals of the poor.' You sleep beneath this granite boulder, placed here by your grateful descendants. Your face and form have been cast in imperishable bronze. Truly, you are a Pioneer Mother. May you rest in peace." 1

Elizabeth Tribett O'Hair and Michael were married April 4, 1793. She was then twenty-five years of age and Michael was forty-three. He was eighteen years her senior.

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When Michael died in 1813, at the age of sixty-four, Elizabeth was forty-five. After his death she continued to live in the same log cabin until 1833, a period of twenty years. There she made a home for their large family until the children all reached maturity. That region was sparsely settled and she had few neighbors. The roads were little better than wagon ruts. Doctors were very scarce and the nearest one many miles removed. She raised her family by manifesting the same courage, determination and perseverance that had been so dominate in Michael's character. She overcame the hardships and hazards of frontier life thru hard work and devotion to her family. She lived to see all of her sons and daughters successfully married and established in their own homes. Elizabeth Tribett O'Hair was in every respect a true and outstanding Pioneer Mother.

This writer made several trips to Hazel Green, Kentucky, prior to 1956, to talk with Michael's descendants living there at that time, and to seek information pertaining to the location of Michael's farm and grave. He learned that the grave was then unmarked, but originally the location had been marked with a small stone.

During the summer of 1956 this writer learned that Adin Baber, a descendant of Michael O'Hair, living near Kansas, Illinois, had information pertaining to the location of the grave. An appointment was made to meet him in Hazel Green on October 29, 1956. We proceeded on that designated date, from Hazel Green to the hill where Michael was buried, but found no marker to indicate the location of the grave. Adin had been there on previous occasions. He had taken pictures of the grave when the stone marker was in place, and had also recorded other pertinent data. Adin Baber made the following deposition regarding the location of the grave:

State of Illinois

County of Edgar      SS.

I, Adin Baber, hereby certify and depose: I am a great great grandson of Michael O'Hair, through his daughter, Mary, who married William Hanks and, being interested in ancestry, I went with the late Frank T. O'Hair of Paris, Illinois, in the year of 1925 to Hazel Green, Kentucky, to visit the site of O'Hair

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surroundings and we did accomplish same by hiring a Model T Ford car at Mt. Sterling to make the trip on to Hazel Green, and it took all day, and at one time we had to get out of the car and push against one side to keep it from falling off a cliff; we crossed one stream many times; all this so sharpened my memory I have it impressed onto my mind.

 

On or about June 24, 1928, I again went to Hazel Green, and with the late Frank T. O'Hair, the late James Swango, and Berry Pieratt; and the date is established by a memo that Mr. O'Hair took from the West Liberty courthouse records, which I have. We met the late Carl Mize, who accompanied us to the top of the hill southeast of Hazel Green, where then was an old graveyard, with uncarved stones. About the center, and upon a slight rize, Mr. Swango pointed out a grave and said that Uncle Green Trimble had shown him the grave to be of Michael O'Hair. Mr. Mize then took a picture of the four of us, two on each side of the grave. Mr. Mize stood back from the headstone and faced directly over the foot of the grave. After the picture was taken and the film developed a group of buildings showed in the picture, and I was told it was of a Swango farm.

 

At the same time, at the foot of the hill, we were shown other stones and they were said to mark negro slave graves. There was then a large tree over them.

 

On June 12, 1940, I again visited the graveyard for the purpose of pointing out to my late wife and two daughters the grave of my daughter's ancestor, Michael O'Hair. To my chagrin I found all the gravestones removed preparatory to plowing. The ridge where Michael was supposed to be buried was still there. At the gate-way, and as we left, I saw the stone that had been on the grave. I got permission from Mr. H. C. Taulbee to take the stone away. I have the signed permission in my possession, witnessed by my two daughters. The stone now rests in my yard; and should be taken back to Hazel Green.

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On Nov. 16, 1948, I was again in Hazel Green, accompanied by my father, who was born, 1867; he expressed a wish to visit the site of the O'Hair burial ground. Accompanied by Mr. William O'Hair, a local descendant, we went to the same hill-top, where Judge James Swango had led us. I observed that the ridge where the grave had been was almost leveled from farming.

Happening to have with me a pocket compass, and also a 50 foot cloth tape, I tied in the approximate site of the grave, as near as could be determined by the vestage of the ridge, by the usual surveying measurements: the compass bearings and the distances to nearby objects.

 

On Monday October 29, 1956, I met Mr. Karl O'Hair at Hazel Green, by appointment, and went with him and others to the hill-top, where Michael O'Hair is buried. I had the chart made in Nov. 16, 1948; so re-run the lines to tie in the site of the grave, and marked the spot; which I thought to be with a few feet of where the ridge had been upon which was the original grave .

                                                                     (signed) Adin Baber

And further the affiant sayeth not. Subscribed and sworn to before me, a notary public for the County of Edgar and State of Illinois, this 19th day of November, 1956.

 

                                                                     (signed) Maxine Wright

 

******

 

            Another deposition was made by this writer regarding the location of the grave.

State of Illinois

County of Edgar 

Karl R. O'Hair, being duly sworn, upon his oath, deposes and says: that he is a great great grandson of Michael O'Hair, who was born in County Down, Ireland, near the city of Newry, in 1749, who emigrated to America in 1761, who enlisted in the

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Continental Army in 1776, and served six years ending in 1782 in such army, who died in 1813, and was buried in a small graveyard on a hill near the southeast part of Hazel Green, Kentucky, such hill being located on land then owned by him; that this graveyard was located 1/4 mile southwest of the present Hazel Green Cemetery; that this grave was located by Adin Baber and Frank T. O'Hair and others on June 24, 1928, at which time a picture was taken of the grave and surrounding land; that he located this grave, October 29, 1956, using as his guide the picture of this grave taken in 1948; that in establishing this location, he used landmarks currently existing and shown in the said picture, and angles projected upon such landmarks; that the location of this grave which he established was within a few feet of the location established by Adin Baber by an entirely different method; and that after locating the grave he drove a stake into the ground marking such location in the presence of Mrs. William Everett Bach of Lexington, Kentucky, Myrle L. O'Hair of Paris, Illinois, Adin Baber of Kansas, Illinois, and Bruce Blankenship of Hazel Green, Kentucky, who at that time was sexton of the Hazel Green Cemetery, and further the affiant saith not. 

(signed) Karl R. O'Hair

Subscribed and sworn to before me this 9th day of September, 1970. 

                                               (signed) June P. Howe

                                                            Notary Public

This writer thought it was incumbent upon Michael's descendants to honor him with a marked grave in an accessible location; therefore, he proceeded with the details of reinterring, and of obtaining an appropriate memorial. Mrs. W. E. Bach of Lexington, Kentucky obtained permission from Mrs. John Coldiron, president of the Hazel Green Cemetery Association, to re-inter Michael O'Hair in this cemetery using a lot owned by the Trimble family, descendants of Michael. The following deposition describes pinpointing the original grave, and of re-interring the remains:

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State of Kentucky

County of Wolfe

I, Bruce Blankenship, being duly sworn upon my oath, depose and say that I am 48 years old, that I reside at Hazel Green, Kentucky; that I am presently the sexton of the Hazel Green, Kentucky Cemetery; that on October 31, 1956, I dug down into the ground at a point marked by a stake placed there by Karl R. O'Hair of Paris, Illinois, and Adin Baber of Kansas, Illinois, on October 29, 1956, in my presence and in the presence of Mrs. William Everett Bach of Lexington, Kentucky, and Myrle L. O'Hair of Paris, Illinois, such stake being placed there to mark the location of the grave of Michael O'Hair, who was buried there in 1813 on land then owned by his son-in-law, William Trimble and presently owned by Milton C. Nickell of Hazel Green, Kentucky; that I did not find a grave at such point, but I did dig out from such point in several directions and found a grave approximately fifteen feet S. E. of said stake; that in the bottom of such grave I found a grayish dark looking streak of dust and soil; that in my judgement, I did locate the remains of Michael O'Hair, who was buried there in 1813 because this grave was close to the location of such grave as predetermined by Karl R. O'Hair and Adin Baber and it was the only grave I located near their predetermined location of such grave; that on November 10, 1956, I placed the remains of Michael O'Hair in a wooden coffin, which I made, and reinterred such remains in the Hazel Green, Kentucky, Cemetery on a lot eight feet west of the sixteen-foot Trimble monument in such cemetery and further affiant saith not.

Witness my hand this the 29, day of November 1956. 

                                                     (signed) Bruce Blankenship

State of Kentucky, County of Wolfe, SCT:

I, Dorsey C. Rose A Notary Public in and for the state and County aforesaid certify that the foregoing affidavit was produced to me and subscribed and

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sworn to before me by Bruce Blankenship in my county this 29th day of November, 1956.

My commission expires December 28, 1958.

(signed) Dorsey C. Rose

Notary Public

 Wolfe County, Ky.

******

This writer communicated with the War Department, Washington D.C., requesting that a standard headstone be provided for the grave of Michael O'Hair. The request was honored, and the headstone was inscribed and shipped to Hazel Green. The War Department had been requested to inscribe the headstone with the name spelled, Michael O'Hair. This request was denied by James W. Gerald, Lt. Col., QMC, Memorial Division of the War Department. He explained, "It is required that the veteran's name be inscribed as it appears in the official records," and, "only one service is authorized to appear on a Government marker." Although Michael's name was spelled many ways in the War Department records, the spelling, O'Harro, predominated when he served as a private in the Rifle Regiment of the Continental Troops with Captain William Henderson, under the command of Daniel Morgan. Therefore, the name is inscribed, O'Harro, on the marker.

The unveiling and dedication of the Memorial Granite Marker and the Bronze Tablet honoring Michael O'Hair, Soldier of the American Revolution, took place Sunday, May 26, 1957, at 2 P.M., at the Hazel Green Cemetery, Hazel Green, Wolfe County, Kentucky. There were approximately 500 people in attendance from eight states and Washington D.C. Many of those who attended the ceremonies were descendants of Michael O'Hair. The following program was conducted under the direction of the Breathitt County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

 

 

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PROGRAM FOR SUNDAY, MAY 26TH, 1957

DEDICATION   -   UNVEILING   -   MEMORIAL

TO

"MICHAEL O'HAIR" - 1749-1813

 

"March to the grave will be led by two members of the Philip Hammon Society, Children of the American Revolution: Jackson, Kentucky.

Color Bearers: Anita Louise Frazier and James David Sewell. 

Salute To Colors: By Bugler.

Invocation: By Mrs. Robert Hume, Dry Ridge, Ky., State Chaplain of the Kentucky Society, Daughters of the American Revolution. 

Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States: By Harold C. Rose, Commander of the American Legion, Post 305.

National Anthem: Led by Quartet from Hazel Green Academy.

Welcome ------ By Mrs. John Coldiron, president of the Hazel Green Cemetery Association.

Aims of Gravemarking Project: By Mrs. F. Clagett Hoke, State Regent Kentucky Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Louisville, Ky.

Identification of the Grave: By Adin Baber, Kansas, Illinois, great, great grandson of Michael O'Hair. 

Faith Of  Our Father: By Quartet.

D.A.R. Ritual: By Mrs. W. Everett Bach, Organizing Regent of the Breathitt County, Kentucky, Chapter, D.A.R.

Short Sketch of the Life of "Michael O'Hair " by Mrs. Virginia Brann, Bloomington, Ind., great, great granddaughter of Michael O'Hair.

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Unveiling of the Marker: By descendant Diana O'Hair  Compton, Ky.

Unveiling of Tablet: By Karl R. O'Hair, Paris, Illinois, great, great grandson of Michael O'Hair.

Wreath: Placed by Descendants: Nancy Gumm, C.A.R. and Richard F. O'Hair, Paris, Ill. 

Dedication of Marker by the Regent of the Breathitt County Chapter, D.A.R.

Last Verse of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" by Quartet from Hazel Green Academy. 

Closing Prayer: Mrs. Robert Hume, Kentucky State Chaplain of Ky. Soc. D.A.R. 

Taps: By Bugler. 

Retiring of Colors" 2

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(Bronze Tablet)

(Erected at Grave of Michael O'Hair)

 

     THE SPIRIT OF THE PIONEERS

 

Renew their breed, Almighty God,

Those pioneers of yesterday,

Who through the wilderness and wastes

Undaunted pushed their westward way.

New frontiers lift their rocky heights;

New deserts stretch before our years.

Renew in us, Almighty God,

The spirit of the pioneers.

                     Bishop Ralph S. Cushman

 

NON VIDERI SED ESSE

(Not to pretend, but to be)

O'HAIR

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Excerpts from the address given by Adin Baber at the Memorial Services:

Time passed with its inexorable sequence of changes and the identity of many of the pioneer graves was forgotten save the location of Michael's grave was preserved in the local family tradition. Just thirty years ago this June, four O'Hair cousins came from Illinois to visit Hazel Green, the land of their ancestors. They were the late Frank Trimble O'Hair, the late Judge James Swango, Berry Pieratt, and Adin Baber. Here they met another cousin, the late Carl Mize, and all went to the old graveyard together.

There on the very hill-top was a distinct ridge, and at the center of the ridge was a grave with a certain small headstone that Jim Swango pointed out and said that it was the same grave that Uncle Green Trimble had, in turn, pointed out as the grave of his grandfather, Michael O'Hair. Jim further stated that Uncle Green had had his information from Aunt Nellie Trimble, who was the daughter of Michael O'Hair, and had attended the funeral.

One of the party had a camera, so the four of us stood around the grave and the stone and Carl Mize snapped a picture. It was mid-afternoon and Carl, with his back to the sun, was facing east. When the picture was developed, in addition to the grave and the group, it showed a background of the distant hills with their fields, and the trees, and houses of the farmsteads in the valley beyond. (The importance of these details will be known to you in a minute.)

Twenty years ago I was here with my family, my late wife and two daughters, all interested in Michael O'Hair. We went to visit his grave. What was my consternation to discover that the sacred God's acre had been desecrated, the tombstones removed and the ground plowed. Only the remains of the high ridge on the hill-top showed the site of the graves.

As we departed I happened to recognize a stone,

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in a pile at the gate, as the one that had been on Michael's grave. In order to save it I got permission to take it away. It was laid in our yard at home, under a tree, and after the rains had washed the dirt and the moss away, one of my daughters discovered some lettering on it. The letters appear to spell out a part of the name Ohare, which is the way Michael wrote his name on the marriage bond of his daughter, Caty. (I am pleased to report that the stone is returned and placed as a footstone on the new grave.)

Ten years ago I came here again, and with my father, then aged 80. We met Mr. William O'Hair of Laurel, who very courteously showed us around. In the old graveyard, he pointed out to my father, the approximate location of the old grave, and it was the same place that Jim Swango had indicated many years ago. Thus came together two independant traditions to confirm each other as to the site. Later that day, I used a small compass and tape to tie in, as surveyors say, the trace of the ridge where the grave had been. .

Last year, when Karl O'Hair and Mrs. William Everett Bach, of the State D.A.R., wanted to locate Michael's grave, for this purpose, they looked for some old patriarch, who lived in the past, and I seemed to be a natural. I met them here and, while I was relocating the site of the grave from my surveyor's notes, Karl took an enlargement of the old photograph, that Carl Mize had snapped many years ago and, by orienting it with the hill-top, the unchanging hills beyond, the farmhouses in the valley, and the nearby trees, grown larger of course, he determined about where Carl Mize had stood when the picture was taken. Thus was the grave relocated and in two independent ways, that again confirm each other.

 

The information inscribed upon the bronze tablet was obtained by this writer from an old letter written by James Greenville Trimble, Michael's grandson. All war records of the United States War Department and the Virginia State Li-

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brary have been thoroughly searched in the interests of accuracy. No confirmation of Michael O'Hair's participation in the southern campaigns of the battles of Cowpens, Guilford Courthouse and Eutaw Springs were found. More important records, however, were found; that is, Michael did serve under General George Rogers Clark. The campaign was to free the Northwest Territory from the British and Indian control, and to protect Kentucky.

This writer can readily understand why James Greenville Trimble was mistaken, because Michael did serve his first two years of enlistment under General Daniel Morgan; but, he had served out his enlisted time, returned home, and re-enlisted in the Illinois Regiment before the southern battles occurred. We know from public records that Michael could not have been in those southern battles. Morgan was the general in command at the Battle of Cowpens, and we must presume that James Greenville Trimble, although mistaken, thought Michael O'Hair was still serving in General Morgan's command.

Because the statement of Michael's Revolutionary War record on the Bronze Tablet is incorrect in several respects, his descendants propose to have another Bronze Tablet cast to replace the erroneous one. Proposals have been made to have the new tablet inscribed:


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Many historians credit the Battle of Saratoga as being one of the most crucial and decisive battles of all time. General Morgan and his men deserve the everlasting thanks and gratitude of the American people. The descendants of Michael O'Hair may well feel grateful to the man who established their family in this country, and who set such an outstanding example of courage, perseverance and sacrifice for the benefit of his country and his family.

The action of General George Rogers Clark and his army possibly prevented the British from attacking the Colonies from the West, and thereby winning the war. Kentucky and the Northwest Territory might then have remained under British control. Much credit for the winning of the war should be given to Clark and his men for their assistance. Next to the war record of George Washington, the records of generals Daniel Morgan and George Rogers Clark are the most outstanding. Great and everlasting credit is due to the soldiers who served under them.