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A Revolutionary legacy

Sturbridge family members inducted into Sons of the American Revolution

Newly inducted member of the Sons of American Revolution, Lemuel Walker of Sturbridge places a Gadsden flag next to the grave of Nathaniel Walker. File photo/ Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
August 24, 2010
STURBRIDGE — To some, the Old Burial Ground along side the Center Office in the Historic Town Common District is but one element, adding to an atmosphere harkening back to a time far beyond any living memory.

To a few, it is the tip of the furthest reaching branch of their family tree.

Buried in the oldest cemetery in town is Capt. Nathaniel Walker, who served during the French and Indian War and was later hired by the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony as a peacekeeper during the Revolutionary War, and for whom Sturbridge's Walker Pond is named.

Walker is buried along side his son, Lt. Nathaniel Walker, who served in the military during the revolution.

On Saturday, Aug. 21, Walker's great, great, great, great grandson Lemuel Walker of Wallace Road, along with his sons Gregory and Jeffery and nephews William Wiley and Thomas Block, were officially inducted into the Sons of the American Revolution.

Walker and his family were joined by the state SAR President William Battles III, a color guard in Revolution-era dress, and their sponsor Richard Brockway.

Brockway, who now resides in West Virginia, is a lifelong friend of Walker, having grown up in the Lebanon Hill section of Southbridge — which was first settled by Walker's ancestors as well.

A descendent of Capt. Jonathan Brockway who fought at Fort Ticonderoga in New York, Brockway is a former librarian general of the National SAR and is a past president of West Virginia's SAR. He sponsored his friend's entry into the organization.

Brockway explained the SAR, which was established in 1889, has evolved over 121 years into a network of families working to keep the spirit of the Revolution alive, and to educate people on the early struggles facing the colonists.

"It's a society of compatriots," Brockway said. "All of us have a blood line that leads us to a patriot that was in the American Revolution … whether it's military or not."

Descendents of people like minutemen, scouts and suppliers who were not officially soldiers but contributed to the effort of the Revolution, Brockway said, are all eligible for entry into the SAR.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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