Advertisement. Advertise with us

Members of the Oneonta and Tianderah chapters of NSDAR participated in a ceremony to erect a replacement headstone for Revolutionary War soldier Benjamin Weston. From left: Linda Pearce, Barbara Pearce, Marcia Foote, Linda Sokolowski, Jaci Bettiol, Elaine Garito, Lorna Pearce, Helen Rees, and Jeanne Westcott. Kneeling: John Avedian, a Weston descendant. (Photo by Teresa Winchester)

Morris Ceremony Commemorates Revolutionary War Soldier


“I thought it would just be Gary Norman and me,” mused John Avedian at Zion Episcopal Church’s Harmony Cemetery in Morris on September 2. A grave stone to honor Avedian’s fifth great-grandfather, Benjamin Weston, a Revolutionary War ensign in the 9th Connecticut Regiment, had just been erected.

Weston, born in Massachusetts, was residing in New Lisbon at the time of his death in 1818. With the help of cemetery surveys procured by Avedian and Zion Church’s vicar Gary Norman, Weston’s grave was located after two attempts to find it. A foot stone with the initials “B.W.” and an adjacent headstone bearing Mary Weston’s name confirmed the find.

Contrary to Avedian’s initial expectation, approximately 55 people attended the headstone dedication.

“I’m overwhelmed with the turn-out, support and interest,” said Avedian, who resides in Winchester, Massachusetts.

A number of attendees were Avedian family members, hailing from Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin. They included his wife, daughter, and son, three sisters, a brother-in-law, two nephews, and a niece.

Another relative, Barbara Bys—Weston’s fourth great-granddaughter and fourth cousin once removed of Avedian—had traveled from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin to witness the headstone’s placement.

“This is kind of a milestone. I’ve done research on this for 12 years. To go to something like this, something that is really happening, is just a special experience,” Bys said.

Community participants included Oneonta Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Jaci Bettiol, its Chaplain Elaine Garito, Linda Sokolowski and other chapter members. Marcia Foote of the Tianderah Chapter of the NSDAR was also present.

“The unequalled liberties enjoyed in America today are the legacy of brave, strong patriots,” were words that particularly resonated in the invocation delivered by Garito.

The DAR placed a Revolutionary War Patriot flag holder by the newly-erected headstone and also provided refreshments.

Other community participants included Leland Hoag and David Joanis, both assistant scout masters for Boy Scouts of America Troop 61 of New Berlin, who formed a color guard for the occasion. Three members of Morris BSA Troop 3 were also present. Seven members of the Sherburne Sons of the American Legion Post 876 performed a 21-gun salute.

“It’s a privilege and an honor for our post to be a part of this,” said Legion Commander Tom Summer.

Trumpeter Asa Dugan, a student at Morris Central School, played taps to end the ceremony.

“It feels special. It’s a big moment,” Dugan said of his participation.

Avedian’s pursuit of Weston’s grave and, subsequently, of a headstone replacement, was fueled by a lifelong “intense interest in family history,” but he only learned of his descendance from Weston “six or seven years ago” when one of his relatives put forth the notion that his family was descended from passengers on the Mayflower.

Avedian’s research was facilitated by his move from California to Boston in 2014, where he connected with the General Society of Mayflower Descendants in Plymouth, Massachusetts, whose documents confirmed that Mayflower passenger George Soule was indeed a family ancestor and that Benjamin Weston was the third great-grandson of Soule. Town of New Lisbon Historian Virginia Schoradt also aided Avedian in his genealogical research.

Gary Norman (center) firms up the replacement headstone for Revolutionary War soldier Benjamin Weston at a ceremony held Sept. 2 in Morris’ Harmony Cemetery. To the right, Weston’s fifth great-grandson, John Avedian of Winchester, Massachusetts. Foreground, from left, Aram Avedian, Benjamin Sheldon and Wyatt Desjardins, all sixth great-grandsons of Weston. (Photo by Teresa Winchester)

In 1775, Weston was living in Wethersfield, Massachusetts, having recently wed Mary Woodhouse, whose family were shipbuilders. When “the shot heard around the world” sparked the Revolutionary War, Weston was one of 115 Wethersfield patriots to step up to fight the British.

As a private serving in Captain John Chester’s Connecticut 6th Regiment, Weston fought in the Battle of Lexington in 1775. In August 1776, under the command of Captain John Hanmer, he sailed down the Connecticut River in a Wethersfield sloop to fight in the Battle of Long Island. After his promotion to the rank of sergeant, he served with Colonel Samuel Webb’s 9th Connecticut Regiment, in which he participated in the Battles Setauket, Fort Clinton, Fort Montgomery, and Rhode Island. Weston spent the winter of 1777-78 at West Point, where he helped build redoubts to protect Fort Clinton from southern approaches along the Hudson River. He was promoted to Continental Army ensign in April, 1779 and resigned from the army in July of the same year.

Less is known about Weston’s civilian life. Documentation related to a home built in Hartford, Connecticut indicates that Weston had masonry skills. With Mary, he had six children, born between 1776 and 1794—Mary, Wealthy, George, Hannah, Betsy, and Abigail. Other records show that he moved to the Butternut Valley in 1814, where he appears to have lived with his daughter, Hannah, and her husband, Cyrenus Noble, in an area then known as Noblesville. The home, located at the southeast intersection of county routes 14 and 12, still stands as a private residence.

Avedian has written a brief history of Weston’s life and service titled ‘’Benjamin Weston, Patriot,’’ which he continues to expand. The document is accessible at

The September 2 ceremony marked a gratifying culmination to Avedian’s research on Weston, search for his grave, and pursuit of a headstone.

“I was not going to leave a relative’s grave unmarked. I’ve always revered the past and been curious about where I came from. I do it for the memory of my ancestors and for children, nephews, and nieces so that someday they, too, may have an appreciation for their family’s history.’’


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

In Memoriam: Laura Jane Seeley

Laura Jane Seeley left this world on Tuesday, August 22 when the car she was driving crashed violently into another vehicle while returning home from visiting her mother in New Hampshire.…

Gravestone To Be Dedicated on Saturday

On Saturday, September 2 at 10 a.m., a grave marker dedication will take place for Benjamin Weston, a Revolutionary War ensign in the 9th Connecticut regiment who was residing in the New Lisbon area at the time of his death in 1818. The ceremony will take place at Harmony Cemetery, 164 Pegg Road, Morris. The event is free and open to the public.…

Putting the Community Back Into the Newspaper

Special Subscription Offer

Now through September 30, new annual subscribers to “The Freeman’s Journal” and have an opportunity to help their choice of one of four Otsego County Charitable organizations.

$5.00 of your subscription will be donated to the nonprofit of your choice:

Community Arts Network of Oneonta, Cooperstown Art Association, Helios Care or Susquehanna Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.