Green County honors Revolutionary War veteran

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Brian Gray/The Monroe Times
Monday, August 10, 2009
— Robert Bailey pledged his life and honor to the cause of American independence.

To recognize his service, the only Revolutionary War veteran buried in Green County was honored Saturday, Aug. 1.

The Wisconsin Sons of the American Revolution honored Bailey by placing a historical marker at his grave in Shook's Prairie Cemetery in Adams Township.

The ceremony included a Revolutionary War re-enactment, an honor guard from the Argyle American legion, a history of the American Revolution by Green County Circuit Court Judge James Beer, and a proclamation from Gov. Jim Doyle, presented to Adams township chairman Jeff Isely by Rep. Brett Davis, R-Oregon.

It was the second ceremony to honor Bailey. The first was held in 1928 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Music and speeches were made and a stone was placed near the grave.

There are at least 42 other Revolutionary War veterans buried in 26 cemeteries in 18 Wisconsin counties.

"We meet to honor Robert Bailey," said Charles Nelson, of the Wisconsin Sons of the American Revolution. "We stand on hallowed ground."

Former Green County Board of supervisors Chairman Tom Daly, a resident of Adams township, helped organize the dedication.

Bailey's grave is surrounded by decedents who also lived in Adams township.

The cemetery is within sight of the last home he lived in before he died in 1852 at the age of 93.

He was born in 1759 in North Carolina. By the time he was 20 years old he was a soldier in the army, fighting against the British. For 16 months over the next four years he fought the British and American Indians in Georgia, which was the frontier in the 18th century.

"He was a private who drove a wagon," his distant relative Daphne Stassin said at the dedication ceremony. "His Bible and his bull whip were his prized possessions of the war."

Like many of America's early settlers, Bailey moved frequently. Many of the people who founded the United States weren't ready to stay in one place for very long, and he was no different.

He moved to Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois before he settled in Green County at the age of 79, Stassin said.

"He told friends, family and anyone who would listen his war stories," she said.

Unfortunately, nothing was ever written down.

"Historians tend to write about great men and sometimes they write about great women, but they sometimes forget the privates, the foot soldiers. It was men like Robert Bailey who traveled across the country and helped settle the country," Stassin said.

Last updated: 11:11 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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