On Independence Day, the Island’s chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution offered a self-guided tour of the Shelter Island Revolutionary War patriots and early European settler headstones, located in the Presbyterian Church Colonial Cemeteries.
Honorary Regent Joyce Bowditch-Bausman and Chapter Historian Karen Kiaer distributed handouts with headstone images, as well as photos of the respective historic houses, including present-day addresses.
During the tour, it was stressed that Shelter Islanders were British prisoners of war. Islanders endured British plundering of their personal possessions, food supplies and land. Some people fled to New England in order to save their lives and possessions.
Besides the importance of recognizing the nine patriots, three who served in the First Continental Congress, it must be noted that the school and Town Clerk records were all burned during the 1800s. Therefore, the colonial head stones/monuments are the only town records of those earlier times.
In 2015, the chapter started its colonial gravestones preservation project and continues this work annually.