Ceremony planned in Revolutionary War soldier’s honor

Long-time local history enthusiast Una Welborn has planned a service to honor local Revolutionary War soldier Benjamin Barton at his gravesite at Mountain Grove Baptist Church in Pickens.

Long-time local history enthusiast Una Welborn has planned a service to honor local Revolutionary War soldier Benjamin Barton at his gravesite at Mountain Grove Baptist Church in Pickens.

By Lynda Abegg
Special to The Courier

PICKENS — Una Welborn is amazed at how her little “project” has grown into an event.

It all began when some of Benjamin Barton’s relatives from Georgia contacted her because they wanted to visit their ancestor’s grave.

Barton had fought in the Revolutionary War. Welborn, a long-time history enthusiast, is a member of the Fort Prince George Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), and recently became a Colonial Dame. She told them she knew where Barton was buried. After all, he was her husband’s five-times great-grandfather. Her husband, Harold Welborn, currently owns land previously owned by Barton.

However, when they arrived at the cemetery at Mountain Grove Baptist Church in Pickens, Welborn was dismayed at the condition of the grave.

The last time she had visited, there had been a tombstone to mark the grave, as well as some coping. Now, there was none. The tombstone had completely disintegrated. Because Welborn knew Barton was buried next to his son, she was able to locate the grave.

“Benjamin Barton fought in the Revolutionary War, he helped settle Pickens County and he deserves to be remembered,” Welborn said.

Welborn rolled up her sleeves and went to work. She started at the Veterans Affairs Office in Pickens.

“Rebecca Scarborough helped me fill out the forms, and DAR helped get the records I needed to order a tombstone,” Welborn said.

Word began to spread throughout the community that she was ordering a tombstone for Barton and planning a grave marking and dedication service. The service is planned for 2 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, at Mountain Grove Baptist Church, located at 644 E. Preston McDaniel Road in Pickens.

“It took on a life of its own,” said Welborn.

Roger Kilpatrick volunteered to play the bagpipes. Kilpatrick has been playing the bagpipes for 15 years and is also a member of the Greenville Pipes and Drums.

Jim Bay will bring his historically accurate reproduction Civil War-era Mountain Howitzer cannon to fire a salute. Bay, both a Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactor, said he likes to refer to himself as a “living historian.”

Daniel K. Woodruff, president of the South Carolina Society Sons of the Revolution (SAR), said he and his wife, Sherilyn Woodruff, will attend in colonial attire. Several SAR members will be in attendance, and they will fire a rifle salute. Woodruff is a member of the Col. Robert Anderson Chapter of the SAR, and his wife is a member of the Nathanael Greene DAR Chapter.

South Carolina State DAR Regent Dorothy Lind will lay a wreath at the dedication. Lind is a member of the Nathanael Greene Chapter in Greenville.

“We should honor all veterans of all wars, and it is especially important that we honor this veteran of the Revolutionary War,” Lind said. “(Barton) was responsible for protecting, as well as developing, South Carolina. It is the right thing to do.”

Barton joined the South Carolina Militia on May 12, 1780. He served as a private under Major Parsons in Col. Roebuck’s Battalion. He fought in the Battle of Musgrove Mill, the Battle of King’s Mountain and the Battle of Cowpens.

Kenneth Nabors, president of the Pickens County Historical Society, will attend dressed as a soldier in the Upcountry Militia.

“The battles at King’s Mountain and Cowpens were turning points in the war,” Nabors said. “Later, Major Nathanael Greene launched a drive that pushed the main British force out of South Carolina, through North Carolina, and into Virginia.”

JROTC cadets from Pickens High School, under the direction of Col. Matt Higginbotham, will present and retire the colors.

Welborn knew that Barton’s wife, Dorcas Anderson, was buried next to him, and that she had no tombstone to mark her grave.

“Dorcas Anderson was married to Benjamin for 35 years, and they had 14 children,” said Welborn, “I could not let her contribution to the growth of our nation go unrecognized.”

Welborn ordered a tombstone for her as well.

To RSVP for next week’s ceremony, email