In 1840, seven years before he died, William Tuffs told a reporter for the Goshen Democrat about how he disguised himself with “sundry old clothes, a cap stuck full of feathers and painted face” ensuring that “neither friend nor foe could identify him,” boarded three ships carrying tea that had sailed into Boston Harbor and dropped 342 chests of tea belonging to the East India Company into the water. Known as The Destruction of Tea at Boston Harbor and now as the Boston Tea Party, Tuffs’ life is described as “…marked by the feats of a revolutionary character by being present at the battles of White Plains, Germantown, Lundies Lane, Monmouth and Bunker Hill and also by being present at the time of throwing overboard the tea at Boston.”
Tuffs, who died at age 97 and now rests behind the iron gates of the Bonneyville Cemetery in Elkhart County west of Middlebury, Indiana, is one of a small number of Revolutionary War soldiers who rest in Northwest Indiana.
In an article written by Ethel A. Vinnedge, the great-great-great grand-daughter of Obadiah Taylor, which was published in the Lowell Tribune on August 28, 1952, Taylor was 18 when he and his father along with five other older brothers, enlisted in the Continental Army. Taylor’s father, Adonijah Taylor, was one of the Minute Men of 1775, and later was an officer in command of Lake George Landing. Like Tuffs, Taylor was from Massachusetts. After marrying, he moved to New York where he and his wife had 11 children including Obadiah II and Adonijah. It wasn’t until 1832 and after the death of his wife that Taylor and several of his children visited Cedar Lake, liking the area so well that they returned home to gather their belonging and came back. Taylor took turns living with his children who had settled in the Cedar Lake area. His son Adonijah Taylor owned a house and mill and Dorothy Taylor, along with her husband Calvin Lilly, owned the Dr. Lilly tavern and store on the northeast bank of Cedar Lake. Another son, Horace, had a farm nearby.
At the time Vinnedge wrote her family history, it was believed that Obadiah Taylor was the only Revolutionary War soldier was buried in Lake County, but according to Alice Smedstad, a member of the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Society and the local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution, there are two others as well.
Stephen Wilcox, who is buried at the Pleasant View Cemetery near New Elliot, St John Township, was born in born in 1767 in Duchess County, New York. His contributions to the war included helping to build the Wilkes Barre garrison in Pennsylvania and the manning it for a while. Like Obadiah, Wilcox who died in 1849, had numerous children and for those who enjoy old fashioned names, consider those of two of his daughters—Epaphras and Seneca.
Though Wilcox, Tufts and Taylor were in their teens when they enlisted, William Van Gordon was in his 20s, having been born in 1758 in Orange County, New Jersey. Now buried at Dinwiddie Cemetery in Lake County, his estate papers show he owned land in or around Cedar Lake as well as receipts for a coffin, grave digging and the care for a soldier in his home.
The Indiana Society Sons of the American Revolution Patriot Graves Registry lists eight patriot’s graves in LaPorte County including that of Abijah Bigelow who fought at Bunker Hill and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Michigan City and Sergeant Simeon Wheeler who was present at the burnings of Stratford and Fairfield and rests at Low's Cemetery located in LaPorte County’s Coolspring Township.
Putting together a tour of the gravesite takes a little digging. Dinwiddie Cemetery doesn’t seem to have an address and a Google search often turns up Plum Grove Cemetery which does have a lot of Dinwiddies buried there but not our William Van Gordon. This might be surprising, but often soldiers’ graves go on discovered, located in old cemeteries with fading names and dates of death. Others are quite easy and so here is a list for those wanting to pay respects to the soldiers willing to fight for our freedom during the War of Independence.