Martha Dandridge Washington Chapter, NSDAR, Grave Marking for Patriot Mathew Raulston at Beth-Car Cemetery

What’s in a name? A whole lot, once you begin to dig into the genealogical history of a family as the audience learned from Jefferson County Historian Bob Jarnagin at the grave marking for Patriot Mathew Raulston at Beth-Car Cemetery, White Pine, on April 10. The ceremony was conducted by the Martha Dandridge Washington (MDW) Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

MDW Registrar Karen McFarland’s warm welcome to the assembled chapter members and guests was a long time coming. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event that was supposed to take place in 2020 was postponed until 2021.

George Lane, President of the Stephen Holston Chapter, National Society Sons of the American Revolution (NSSAR), and John Gentry, President of the General William Lenoir Society, National Society Children of the American Revolution (NSCAR), along with contingencies of their chapter compatriots, joined visiting DAR members from the Old Walton Road, Emory Road, Samuel Doak, and William Cocke chapters and many members of the community in honoring Patriot Raulston.

SAR member Julius Hite and his two young sons, Keegan and Zachary, both C.A.R. members, all in period dress, posted the colors.

That was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Reverend Darrell Chambers, Pastor, Beth-Car United Methodist Church, and the invocation by MDW Chaplain Elizabeth Finchum.

After Registrar McFarland unveiled the marker, Chaplain Finchum laid one long-stemmed red rose across the speckled gray granite stone, hearkening back to the ancient Greek tradition of placing flowers on the grave to honor a fallen warrior. If the flowers took root, it was a sign that the fallen one had found peace. Those acts were followed by a rifle volley provided by members of the C.A.R. and commanded by SAR member Ryan Corker who were all dressed in clothing indicative of the Revolutionary War militiamen who fought for our country’s freedom from British domination nearly 250 years ago.

Stan Barbee played the plaintive, yet hopeful, notes of “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes followed by Jefferson County Mayor Mark Potts who delivered a proclamation recognizing “the contributions of Mathew Raulston to the history of our country.” Among those contributions were the provision of supplies and pasture for cattle and work as a juror and road planner in Virginia to assist in the establishment of infrastructure of the fledgling country.

A highlight of the ceremony was the often humorous, but always informative, presentation by Jefferson County Historian Bob Jarnagin, who told of the origin of the Raulston family in the West Central Lowlands of Scotland in “From Rolling Stones in Scotland to Rolling Hills in Tennessee.” Mathew’s first deed in Jefferson County spells his name as Roulstone. In Scotland, a legend recounts that the Ralston Clan received its surname from “an ancient family line who gained notoriety in battle for defeating their enemies by rolling heavy rocks down hillsides,” according to Jarnagin.

Mathew Raulston’s genealogy can be traced back as far as John Roulstone, born in 1653 in Scotland and died in 1717 in Boston. His great-grandson was Mathew, born in 1742 in Botetourt County, VA. Jarnagin recounted, “In 1789 Mathew sold his land in Virginia and moved to the area that would become Tennessee….Here Mathew found a land of rolling hills, valleys, and rivers which must have reminded him of his lands back in Virginia and also of the family’s roots in Scotland.” The last record of Mathew in Jefferson County is his will recorded on December 29, 1800.

“Mathew Roulston fought for the Patriots in the Revolution alongside his neighbors from the lower half of Looneys Mill Creek, Augusta County (later Botetourt County), Virginia. He served as a Private in Captain Mills’ Company of the Virginia Militia,” Historian Jarnagin pointed out. Revolutionary War records show that he received pay vouchers for military service and for provision of supplies.

Jennifer Bruckert, a Raulston descendant and resident of White Pine, shared her family’s appreciation for the honor given to her ancestor. Although many other descendants of Mathew Raulston remain, most live quite distant from Jefferson County, and a number of those are elderly and have health conditions that prevented them from traveling during this time in which Covid-19 lingers.

Tennessee DAR Second Vice Regent Carol Teeters brought greetings from the Tennessee Society Daughters of the American Revolution (TSDAR). Teeters is a member of the Old Walton Road Chapter, NSDAR, which in 1956 marked the location of the Raulston Tavern on Highway 70 (Old Walton Road) in Putnam County. Several members of Mathew Raulston’s family lived in Putnam and Hamilton counties in Tennessee.

After Closing Remarks by MDW Regent Jane Chambers, the solemn ceremony concluded with the tolling of the church bell by Beth-Car UMC Acolyte Eli Neblett and the singing of “God Bless America” led by MDW Recording Secretary Karen Bible and Virtual Information Specialist (VIS) Committee Chairman Danielle Settlemoir. MDW Member Reverend Sherri Franklin offered the Benediction, the contingent of SAR and C.A.R. retired the colors, and Bugler Sarah Barber blew “Taps.”

For information about the DAR, contact Registrar Karen McFarland at (865) 258-8670 or Regent Jane Chambers at (865) 591-3857.

MDW Regent Jane Chambers, MDW Registrar Karen McFarland, Raulston Descendant

Jennifer Bruckert, and TSDAR Second Vice Regent Carol Teeters shared in the DAR grave marking ceremony honoring Mathew Raulston, American Patriot, at Beth-Car Cemetery, White Pine.

Submitted by Jane Busdeker, Corresponding Secretary, MDW Chapter, NSDAR