Last week, I showed you some photos from this historic church and cemetery in my town. In addition to being a beautiful place to visit, it is also quite interesting. There are 35 Revolutionary War soldiers interred here, as well as two United States' senators, one member of the House of Representatives, and at least one slave.
But here is the story of a simple wife and mother, who lived an extraordinary life:
This is the gravestone of Mary Kinnan. Sorry about the quality of the photo -- I had a hard time getting a clear shot of it. It is very faded. But here is Mary's story:
She was born Mary Lewis in Basking Ridge in 1763. At the age of 15, she married Joseph Kinnan. Together they moved west to farm in a place called Tygart's Valley, Virginia.
Eventually, they shared their home with two sons and a daughter. Also living with them was Mary's brother, Jacob Lewis, and a woman named Margaret Ward and her son. Margaret was the widow of a soldier who had served in the Revolutionary War with Mary's husband, Joseph.
In 1791, three renegade Shawnee braves attacked the farm, killing Joseph and their daughter. Mary's two sons, her brother Jacob, and Margaret and her son all managed to escape. Mary was taken captive to Ohio, and then to the Detroit area.
After three years, she managed to get a message to an Army courier, who promised to deliver it to Mary's brother back in Basking Ridge. Unfortunately, the courier contracted yellow fever, and died before he could deliver the message. He was quickly buried. But because it was determined that he was carrying important Army messages, his body was exhumed.
Mary's message was found and delivered to her brother, who travelled to Detroit, rescued her, and returned her to Basking Ridge.
She lived to a ripe old age of 85.
What an amazing life this woman led!
My thanks to church historian, George L. Fricke, who compiled this and many other interesting stories from the cemetery at the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church.