Men and women in traditional Colonial garb were gathered to pay their respects to a Revolutionary War veteran. The Georgia Society Sons of the American Revolution – Cherokee, Piedmont and Rome Chapters – presented a grave marking and dedication service Saturday, March 5, for Lt. William Coggin.
Members of the community present at Damascus Church Road Cemetery included a descendent, William Deacon Balliew. His grandmother’s mother, he said, was a Coggin.
Sons of the American Revolution members unveiled a small bronze marker that stands beside Coggins’ marble headstone. The ceremony also featured a flag presentation, a bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” from John Mortison (Piedmont Chapter) and a musket salute from the SAR.
Coggin was one of a host of Americans who set aside their personal agendas to fight for independence.
“They had a purpose and they would have died for that purpose, right on the spot,” Balliew said.
Coggins, born in 1755, was a young man of 20 when the war began, and he fought in several battles. He passed away in 1862 at the ripe old age of 107 after working to obtain a land grant that allowed him to settle in Gordon County and raise a family here.
Balliew said he grew up hearing about Coggin.
“My granny told me about this 70 years ago,” he said. Coggin’s brother and brother’s wife are buried near him in the cemetery, Balliew said.
Some traveled far
Some SAR affiliates traveled several hours to reach the ceremony. Leslie Watkins, a member of the William Day chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and her brother-in-law, Bruce Maney, a Button Gwinnett chapter SAR member, came from Duluth, Ga.
Wearing a Colonial-style dress with a cloak to ward off the damp morning air, Watkins explained that this is just one of many SAR events she attends each year.
As a liaison of the Daughters of the American Revolution to the SAR, she helps present living history programs to fourth-graders as part of the SAR Living History program.
“(We discuss) what everyday life was like here,” she said.
She characterized Gordon County during Revolutionary wartime as “the backwoods” or “frontier” of Georgia. Calhoun, she explained, still lay in Cherokee lands at that time.