Illinois Ancestors | Founding Fathers' graves must be preserved

Illinois Ancestors | Founding Fathers' graves must be preserved

The birth of our country is traditionally celebrated on July 4 each year — commemorating the creation of The Declaration of Independence. According to some historians, the actual signing of that document took place on Aug. 2. Those signers were some of our "Founding Fathers."

Joe Farrell, Joe Farley and Lawrence Knorr have taken on the project of visiting the graves of our nation's Founding Fathers — "signers of either the Continental Association, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation or the Constitution, plus other famous or noteworthy Patriots ... more than 200" individuals. They continue to visit such sites and take photographs of the graves.

In the winter 2018 issue of The Sons of the American Revolution Magazine, these three men have written a disturbing article, "Graves of Our Founders: A Call to Action," in which they describe what they found. Many of the gravesites visited are well-maintained; however, many are shameful, uncertain, lost or forgotten.

A website having details of this project can be found at The toolbar at the top provides links to essential categories: home (places visited, options), about (includes a link to a video), ratings (explanation of ratings used in the list of founders), founders (list of about 200 names with Wiki links, burial state, burial town, cemetery, whether grave visited and condition rating), books, best graves, hall of shame and contact.

It is hoped their findings will encourage local action to either restore ("bring the gravesites back to like-new condition"), or relocate the gravesites, and at least remember these founders with "additional on-site information."

Three volumes of "Graves of The Founders" are to be published, with biographies and grave information on each Founder.

Volume 1, with 66 "luminaries who made significant contributions to the Revolutionary cause," is expected to be available Oct. 20. has posted an article about "the signers" at, which includes a link to the list of 56 signers.

Read the article about what later happened to some of those men "who put their lives on the line" at

A chart that lists the signers along with pertinent data (age, birthplace, marriages, children, date of death, etc.) is posted at

Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, has posted "The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America" at Also, some interesting historical facts about this document are posted at

Tomorrow marks the 242nd anniversary of "the signing." Perhaps the 250th anniversary will see the "proper memorialization of our heroes. (Which) would make a nice and lasting gift to our nation." (Quotation from SAR Magazine article, page 17.)

Web posts Revolutionary War resources

Genealogist Gena Philbert-Ortega has posted a helpful blog, "Top 7 Websites for Revolutionary War Genealogy" at This genealogy research plan may include some sources not previously studied.

Helpful Revolutionary War websites

The Indiana Society of the SAR has posted a website that enables researchers to search the Indiana Revolutionary War Graves Registry at

One can search for an individual, a surname, a state served or an Indiana county. For example, a search for Fountain County burials results in 21 individuals, each listed with state served as well as links to that Patriot's web pages or other details.

"How to Use the SAR Patriot & Grave Index," at, is an essential guide for using that free database.

RootsWeb's "Finding a Patriot" website at is an excellent place to start such research. Be sure to note the link, Documenting the Lineage, as well as Links, an extensive list of related Revolutionary War links as mentioned in the RootsWeb tutorial.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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