- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

WAYNE, W.Va. (AP) - The whereabouts of Revolutionary War veteran James Maynard’s final resting place has puzzled Daughters of the American Revolution researchers, Wayne County Genealogical and Historical Society members and Maynard family descendants for decades

But the mystery was finally laid to rest last month.

Records indicate that Maynard, the patriarch of the sizable Maynard clan that still populates both the West Virginia and Kentucky sides of the Big Sandy River, moved to the area around 1816. He settled in a section of Floyd County, Kentucky, that later became Pike County.

Sometime in the 1840s, he moved across the border to live with a son, Jesse, in Wayne County - then still part of Virginia. He lived until the age of 102.

“We knew that he died on Oct. 13, 1852, in Wayne County, but nobody in this part of the world knew where he was buried,” said Howard Osborne, president of the Wayne County Genealogical and Historical Society.

After years of searching online historic data and poring through public records from county courthouses in both states in an effort to locate Maynard’s grave, “we never ran into any mention of it,” Osborne said.

But the Revolutionary War vet’s fourth-great-grandson, Ron Maynard, and his son, Bob, didn’t let the cold paper trail deter them from continuing the search, which mainly involves cemetery records and on-site searches of dozens of country graveyards.

“I’ve searched off and on for probably 20 years,” said Ron Maynard. “I ran into a lady with the DAR who said she’s been searching for years before that. Since then, me and my son have been looking together on our free time.”

After discovering during an Internet search that Jesse Maynard’s wife was buried in Queen’s Ridge Cemetery near Dunlow in Wayne County, Ron and Bobby Maynard located her grave, then found Jesse Maynard’s resting place adjacent to it.

The two then looked around the cemetery for James Maynard’s grave marker, thinking it would be reasonable to expect that “if his son was buried there, and that James had been living with Jesse and the time of his death, the odds were good he was there, too,” according to Ron Maynard.

In mid-February, the father and son team inspected the weathered stone markers atop some of the cemetery’s oldest graves not far from Jesse Maynard’s burial site.

“While my son was about 50 feet down the hill looking at Jesse’s grave, he said, ‘Dad, I’d love to see a stone with JM carved on it,’” Ron Maynard recalled. “I decided to look at the crest of the hill, thinking that may be the place where some of the earliest burials were.”

A few moments after reaching the top of the ridge, Ron Maynard looked down and saw a small stone that appeared to have weather-eroded carving on its surface. “It just looked like a rock until you looked really close and saw the carving,” he said.

“Hey, Bob!” Maynard shouted after examining the rock. “Here’s a stone with ‘JM’ on it!”

Below the initials, the number 175 was visible.

James Maynard was born in 1750.

“The zero at the end of 175 must have eroded off, or it may be on a piece of rock that broke off and is covered up in the dirt,” Ron Maynard said.

“We were just elated,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. Everybody had searched so long to find this place.”

“It’s such an exciting thing for Wayne County and this family,” Osborne said of the discovery. “And it’s all thanks to the descendants of James Maynard that the grave site was found.”

According to a Revolutionary War veteran’s pension application Maynard filed for, at age 83, he enlisted as a private in a Wilkes County, North Carolina militia unit commanded by Col. Benjamin Cleveland. The colonel lived in Maynard’s hometown of Roaring River, North Carolina, at the time Maynard signed up.

“The intention was for me to go down to the sea coast around Charleston, South Carolina, but something occurred which prevented the Wilkes troops from going to the south,” Maynard said during his pension application hearing. That “something” was an outbreak of hostilities by Tories — citizens loyal to the crown — in western North Carolina.

“The Tories done considerable damage, by killing and murdering the inhabitants that were friendly to American liberty,” Maynard was quoted as saying on his pension application. His militia company, nicknamed “Cleveland’s Bulldogs,” became known as “Cleveland’s Devils” to the British sympathizers they encountered.

While Maynard said he took part in no major battles, he was involved in numerous skirmishes with Tories, from the headwaters of the New River to the highlands of Grayson County, Virginia, during his 15 months of Revolutionary War service. One of the officers he served under, Capt. Jesse Franklin, served after the war as a congressman, a U.S. senator, and governor of North Carolina.

Maynard’s name is listed along with 15 other Revolutionary war veterans who lived in Pike County on a bronze tablet at Pikeville’s Public Square. He is also listed on a tablet at the Wayne County Courthouse listing the names of 11 Revolutionary War veterans buried in Wayne County.

The Wayne County Genealogical and Historical Society has applied to the Veterans Administration to have a grave marker recognizing Maynard’s Revolutionary War service placed at his burial site. The society is also raising $1,800 to have a Revolutionary War roadside marker honoring his service installed a highway nearest his grave, now accessible only by traveling a coal company haul road through prior arrangement.

“Maynard is one of the most common names in Wayne County,” said Ron Maynard. “Every year, the Maynard Reunion at Cabwaylingo State Forest draws upward of 5,000 people from across the country. We’re hoping we can have the Revolutionary War sign and the new grave marker in place in time for this year’s reunion,” held in September.

Now that James Maynard’s resting place has been found, Maynard said, he and his son plan to begin a new quest in North Carolina.

“We’re planning to spend some vacation time in Wilkes County to find the grave of James Maynard’s father,” he said.

For more information, or to donate to the roadside marker fund, email the Wayne County Genealogical Society at [email protected], or call Herb Dawson at 304-393-3792.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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