Friday August 2, 2013

PUTNEY -- The ceremony slated for the Old North Burying Ground on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 10, is meant as a grave dedication. But for Sandra Sawyer Bateman, it also will serve as a family reunion of sorts.

The Michigan resident has done some genealogical research and learned her family's history stretches throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. One of her ancestors, she discovered, was a great-great-great-grandmother named Laura Elvira Roberts (née Moore), whose father had fought in the Revolutionary War. She joined the Brattleboro chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a group for women directly descended from a person involved in the United States' fight for independence, in 1900 shortly before she died.

Bateman, who hails from Seattle, has helped organize a grave dedication service, set to begin at 11 a.m., and has lined up a Boy Scout troop from Townshend for a flag presentation and a recital of The Pledge of Allegiance. Individuals from Bateman's DAR chapter will read an invocation, a benediction, some prayers and Roberts' biography. There will also be a DAR plaque laid at Roberts' grave.

Bateman said she also welcomes other organizations -- such as chapters of Sons of the American Revolution -- to attend the dedication. She and members of her DAR chapter will fly to New England; she and her husband plan to make a two-week trip out of it.

She said her great-great-great-grandmother was born in Brattleboro and was one of eight children.


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She was the descendent of early English immigrants who came to America in the 1600s. She eventually married James Hidden Clark Roberts, became a homemaker and had three children.

Bateman said Roberts' father, Rufus Moore, had been a Minuteman and a private during the Revolutionary War and had fought in the Battle of Lexington. Moore's wife reportedly died in her 30s and he moved to live with one of his daughters in Lyndonville, where he died and was buried.

Most Americans' family history lay shrouded, at least somewhat, in mystery. But Bateman said knowing what she does about her heritage is a huge source of pride for her entire family.

"It's why I spent the money to buy the plaque. It just has a connection with the past. She would have had no idea I would exist," Bateman said, adding that she even has a photograph of her ancestor. "I feel very proud that my family helped establish this country."

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.