Joseph Lane died March 13, 1846, and was laid to rest in Old Lee Cemetery on Shingle Hollow Road. Memories of him dimmed with time and with each passing generation until the memories completely faded away from the family’s consciousness.
The Colonel Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution revived those memories May 17 by recognizing Pvt. Joseph Lane’s service in America’s War of Independence when they marked his grave as that of an American patriot.
Robert Lane of Palm Coast, Fla., spoke on behalf of Lane’s descendants. He said after the ceremony that he only recently discovered his forefather when he made inquiries on the Internet about two years ago.
“I got contacted by people. They gave me information and then we found out about this ceremony and we had to come up,” he said. “I put the inquiries out on Ancestry.com about two years ago and then the last couple of months, I started getting flooded with people that finally read it and they had information about him and my other grandfathers.”
Another descendant of Joseph Lane, JoAnn McHenry Medlock of Arab, Ala., whom Robert had never met, told him about the ceremony about two months ago. Robert’s nephew, Bill Jeffcoat of Jacksonville, Fla., said he was also unaware of Joseph Lane. Having knowledge of his ancestor fighting in the Revolutionary War changed his view of history. What was abstract before is now more personal.
“The history that we have received on our family was pretty much just passed down a few generations, so we had no idea about him,” Jeffcoat said. “You read about this, but I never really expected any of my ancestors to really be a part of that, especially to that depth.”
Robert Lane said it was really a humbling experience to finally find out where his great-great-great-grandfather is buried, “but then to hear his war record, it’s absolutely incredible. I just can’t comprehend the sacrifices people made back in the 1700s and the Revolutionary War to fight for a country that basically, hadn’t formed yet. They were fighting on principles and ideals. They fought against their homeland. It could have been brothers, sisters, cousins they were fighting against to preserve liberty for this new nation. It is just unbelievable.”
According to Pvt. Joseph Lane’s pension application: On this 10th of September 1832, Joseph Lane personally appeared in open court, it being a court of record before Charles F. Keith, Judge of the Circuit Court of Law and Equity for Roane County.
At that time, Joseph Lane (Lain), 76, stated that he was a resident of Roane County and the State of Tennessee. In order to obtain the benefit of an act of Congress passed June 7, 1832, he made the following declaration under oath:
Lane stated that he entered the service of the United States under the following named officers and served under Col. Francis Taylor and Maj. John Roberts, commanding officers of the regiment in the company commanded by Capt. John Jacobs.
He entered the service in the summer of the year 1780. He entered the service for two months in Albemarle County, State of Virginia. At that time, he resided in Amherst County. He served as a drafted man and was stationed at the barracks in Albemarle County where he guarded British Gen. John Burgoyne's prisoners.
According to historical accounts, Burgoyne surrendered his army Oct. 17, 1777, according to terms negotiated with American Gen. Horatio Gates following the Oct. 7 Battle of Bemis Heights. The terms were titled the “Convention of Saratoga,” and specified that the troops were to be sent back to Europe after giving a parole, providing that they would not fight again in the conflict.
About 5,900 British, German, and Canadian troops surrendered at Saratoga. Under guard by Brig. Gen. John Glover's troops, they were marched to Cambridge, Mass., where they arrived Nov. 8. The rank and file were quartered in crude barracks constructed during the 1775 siege of Boston, while most of the officers were billeted in houses. The army ended up spending about one year in Cambridge, while negotiations concerning its status took place in military and diplomatic channels. During that year, about 1,300 prisoners escaped, often because they became involved with local women while working on farms in the area.
The Continental Congress ordered Burgoyne to provide a list and description of all officers to ensure that they would not return. When he refused, Congress revoked the terms of the convention, resolving in January 1778 to hold the army until King George ratified the convention, an act they believed unlikely to happen, as it represented an acknowledgment of American independence.
In November 1778, the Convention Army, (Burgoyne’s army), marched to Charlottesville, Va., in January 1779, where it arrived in uncharacteristically snowy weather. Approximately 600 men escaped during the march. The remainder was held at the hastily and poorly constructed Albemarle Barracks until 1781.
According to Lane’s pension application, after that term expired, he was again drafted and stationed at the same place for the term of two months, under the same commanding officers, and Capt. James Pamplin until the term of two months expired. Afterward he was again drafted for a term of six months and continued in service one month after the expiration of six months on account of relief not coming sooner.
He resided in Amherst County when he entered the last service under the command of Capt. William Tucker, Lt. Joseph Tucker and Ensign Daniel Tucker in the regiment commanded by Col. Dabney and Maj. Hardiman. He stated the regiment marched from Amherst County through Richmond Town, from thence to Williamsburg, from thence to the halfway house and that he was in no battles. Afterward, he served as a volunteer and was continued in service for three months under Capt. John Woodruff and attached to Gen. Edward Stevens' and Lafayette's regiments. They marched to Shirley's old fields, then to Malvern Hills. He continued there until his term expired.
Afterward he went as substitute in place of Charles Rhoads for the term of four months, marched from Amherst County through Richmond Town down to Little York. There he remained in the Siege at York (Yorktown) until Oct. 19, 1781, when British Gen. Charles Cornwallis surrendered.
He received his discharges, but has since lost them. He served in all 18 months. He has no documentary evidence of his services. He can prove his service in part by John Boman, Charles Lane and Thomas Robison.
He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State.
S/ Joseph Lain, X his mark.
Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter President David L. Whaley said during opening remarks that the ceremony was to honor Joseph Lane, a private in the Virginia Militia, for his role in establishing the United States as a free nation.
The beat of a lone drummer sounded like approaching cannon fire as the combined color guard of the Tennessee Society of the Sons of the American Revolution and Tennessee Sons of the Revolution under the command of David Miles Vaughn presented the colors.
The Rev. Sam Melton offered the invocation, thanking God for the sacrifices and heroism of men like Pvt. Joseph Lane. William M. McClure led the Pledge of Allegiance and Timothy Adams; president of the John Sevier Chapter of the SAR, located in Chattanooga, led the SAR Pledge.
TNSSAR President Claude Hardison offered greetings from the state society.
He said, “If a glimpse into the past is a prologue, then a glimpse into the past can provide a source of wisdom and inspiration for the future. As we honor this patriot today, let us be mindful of his service to our nation and let us rededicate ourselves to the principles he held sacred.”
TNSSR State President James D. Rivers asked for the restoration of the values of the Constitution and the memories of the patriots who died and gave their lives for freedom.
Robert George extended greetings on behalf of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter and Regent Laura Boyd offered greetings on behalf of the Ocoee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Rachel Hood, president of the Return Jonathan Meigs Chapter of the Children of the American Revolutionary, followed with her greetings.
“We salute the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter for marking the grave of Pvt. Joseph Lane, a second grave marking in a broader project to identify the final resting places of all 13 Revolutionary War patriots known to be buried in Bradley County,” she said.
Robert Lane said during his remarks that when he looks out onto the Atlantic Ocean from his home in Florida, he cannot help but think about the journey the nation’s founders undertook on such small ships.
“They were really small and not knowing what the weather conditions would be — a lot of them didn’t make it because of the bad weather. The uncertainty in their minds when they came to a new land had to be extremely overwhelming.
“Once they got here, they had a government that wasn’t organized very well and it was more like home rule when they were trying to figure out how they were going to form this great country.”
But, he said, they formed a government and then had to fight for liberty.
“It’s also overwhelming for me when I think of the men and women who made that sacrifice and fought against their homeland. That was the sacrifice for what we have now, the freedom to live in a free society.”
Lane descendants R. B. (Chip) Caylor of Cleveland read Pvt. Joseph Lane’s pension application and JoAnn McHenry Medlock of Arab, Ala., unveiled the patriot marker.
The TNSSAR and TNSSR state chapters, DAR Ocoee Chapter, TNSSAR Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter, TNSSAR John Sevier Chapter, TNSSAR John Rice Irwin/Anderson County Chapter and the TNSSAR Gen. Henry Knox Chapter rendered honors and presented wreaths to Pvt. Joseph Lane.
The color guard fired a three shot musket volley. Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Cdr. John C. Echerd presented certificates to the family and the 20-minute ceremony concluded with the benediction offered by Melton.
Other organizations that participated included: Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Charleston-Calhoun Historical Society and Cleveland/Bradley County Historical and Genealogical Society.
At one point in the ceremony, Whaley said, “This man laid in the ground here saw George Washington — saw him on that white horse when the surrender took place. Folks, that is magnificent. That’s really something,” he exclaimed.