Revolutionary War soldier who fed an army honored at Clover-area cemetery

news@lakewyliepilot.comNovember 19, 2013 

— He was a farmer turned private and he helped feed an army. More than 160 years after his death, he is being remembered.

The South Carolina Col. William Bratton Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and the De Soto Trace Chapter of Arkansas honored Pvt. James Brian Sr., a Revolutionary War patriot from York County, with a Nov. 9 dedication of a new marker at his gravesite in Mill Creek Cemetery on Harper Davis Road.

“We are gathered here in remembrance of one veteran of the American Revolution,” said the Rev. Neil McKay during the afternoon dedication ceremony. “Pvt. James Brian Sr., who, when the time demanded, answered the call to service. In a time of uncertainty, in moments of chaos, Brian stepped forward to support the great cause of liberty for a land oppressed, to bring freedom where bondage had ruled, and to allow America to grow and develop into the strongest nation this world has ever seen.”

A native of Ireland, Brian fled his home country and settled in York as a farmer. Although he was never involved in a conflict, he did help feed the army. He died Nov. 28, 1840, at the age of 80.

“He gave the fruits of his labor to help feed George Washington’s army,” said John Speer of Arkansas, fifth great-grandson of Brian and member of the De Soto Trace chapter. “I am reminded that an army marches on its stomach.”

Speer suggested the grave marker dedication for his ancestor to Col. William Bratton Chapter president Murray White. Soon, the two SAR chapters decided to work together. Along with Speer, SAR state officers attended, including the secretary-treasurer of the Col. William Bratton chapter Brett Reed, SCSSAR state genealogist John Marker and members of the Post 43 of the American Legion, and about 25 community members. The ceremony ended with a cannon firing.

“A small band of men moved mountains in the American Revolution,” Speer said, “and a few men have come together to preserve history that we may always be aware of what our forefathers gave us.”

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