Revolutionary War Hero Who Lies In City's East End To Be Honored Saturday

Apr 26, 2019

There's a couple of cemeteries near Lunken Airport that are accessible only via the Ohio River Trail. That may be why the Columbia Presbyterian and Fulton Cemeteries aren't well known. The nearly overgrown isolated lots do have important connections to American history though: They are the final resting place of Revolutionary War veterans, and at least one bonafide hero.

Stuart Jackson with the Society for Colonial Wars says not many people know about Sergeant William Brown's role at the Battle of Yorktown.

"I just can't say enough about him. He played such a large role in turning the Battle of Yorktown around; we might be living in quite a different world today if not for Sgt. William Brown," he says.

Brown was at the Battle of Yorktown under the command of Alexander Hamilton. "He hand-picked Sgt. Brown to lead a surprise attack. There were 12 of them going up against hundreds of British soldiers." Jackson says the plan was to create a diversion so a larger force could storm a small British fort.

"Fifteen minutes later, the battle for Redoubt 10 was over. That was October 14th. Five days later, General Cornwallis surrendered his sword," Jackson says.

He says General Washington wanted a way to honor foot soldiers. "For Sgt. Brown's service, specifically at the Battle of Yorktown, (he) awarded him the Badge of Military Merit. It's comparable to our Medal of Honor."

The Badge evolved into the Purple Heart.

Credit Debora Del Valle / Provided

After the war, Brown settled in the Cincinnati area, and worked as a surveyor until his death.

Revolutionary War re-enactors, a color guard presentation and a 21-gun salute will dedicate an Ohio Historical Marker Saturday at noon. Parking is available at Lunken Airport, and Jackson says it's about a five-minute walk to the cemetery. The marker will honor Brown on one side and the cemeteries on the other.