Tri-Event in the Valley
August 4, 2007

This full day event featured two Gravemarking ceremonies and the unveiling of a Virginia Department of Historic Resources Highway Marker Sign at the Andrew Zirkle Mill in Forestville, VA.

Benjamin Beery Gravemarking

The first Gravemarking ceremony was held in the cemetery at Keezletown, 3 ˝ miles east of Harrisonburg in Rockingham County. The Maryland Society Past President and current Secretary Christos Christou requested the Gravemarking to honor his patriot ancestor Benjamin Beery and also his ancestors who served in the War of 1812 and the War Between the States. Benjamin Berry was born in 1758 near Monmouth Courthouse NJ and drafted in the American Revolution at the young age of 18 in the NJ Militia in 1776-1778 and again in 1780-1781 in the VA Militia.

MDSSAR Secretary Christos Christou speaks about his patriot ancestor Benjamin Beery

Sponsored by the Fort Harrison Chapter, the Gravemarking was well attended with approximately 30 people in attendance, the VASSAR Colorguard and a Colorguard of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Bowman-Miller Gravemarking

Members then journeyed north 20 miles to the town of Timberville and Raders Lutheran Church. Here, the Fort Harrison Chapter conducted a Gravemarking Ceremony for John Bowman and Mathias Miller of Rockingham County. The Ceremony was conducted by Eugene Holsinger, President of the Chapter.

CFL President Rob Andrews speaks about life
around Raders Lutheran Church in Timberville, VA

John Bowman was a Pvt. in Capt. Hulls Company, 2nd Battalion, Augusta Militia and is an ancestor of Compatriot Arthur Shipe who lives in Reston, VA. Mathias Miller was a militia man in Berks County, Pennsylvania and moved to Timberville in 1794-1795.

Historic Highway Marker Unveiling at the Andrew Zirkle Mill

The procession then proceeded to Forestville, VA and the site of the Andrew Zirkle Mill. The Colonel Fielding Lewis Chapter hosted the gathering to unveil the historic highway marker. This was a well attended event by the SAR and the local community as well.

There were compatriots from 8 SAR Chapters, ladies from 3 DAR chapters and members of 2 CAR chapters present, along with a representative of the VA Department of Historic Resources, 4 of the 6 Shenandoah County Supervisors, plus members of 19 families of the name of Zirkle/Zerkle including L. Brooks Zerkle, a direct descendant of the owner of the mill, Andrew Zirkle. Attendance was estimated to be over 100 people.

(L-R)CFL President Rob Andrews owner of the Mill,President General Bruce Wilcox,
CMM President Francis Lay, VASSAR Colorguard Commander Andy Johnson,VASSAR Past President Larry McKinley,Guardsman Allen Bahrain,VASSAR 1st VP Art Batten

The ceremony also marked the first event since his installment of Virginia’s own Bruce Wilcox, our President General. 1st Vice President of the Virginia Society Art Batten was given the honor of unveiling the sign. The Virginia Colorguard was also present to perform the honors and lent their special touch to the occasion. Event goers then attended a reception at the rear of the mill and toured the mill and its grounds.

(L)President General Bruce Wilcox addresses the crowd (R)CFL President and Mill Owner Rob Andrews reads the text of the highway marker

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