Wednesday, September 3, 2014
In March of 2011, I was geocaching near Fairfield OH and spotted this replacement grave marker for Lt. Joseph Catterline in a tiny roadside cemetery called Miami Chapel. The original stone, like many from this period, had been either stolen, vandalized, or obliterated by the elements. In 2010, the Fairfield Historical Society, the Fairfield City Parks Department, and Tom Stander a Butler County Historian placed new gravestones here. So thanks for that.
Like the marker says, Catterline fought in the Revolutionary War. In case you didn't know, the first United States national army was known as the Continental Army led by George Washington as opposed to the less disciplined and less equipped state militias. The New Jersey Line was a formation of infantry from NJ and made up part of the Continental Army along with other state lines.
Most don't think of Ohio as having much connection to the War of Independence but many vets settled in the Ohio frontier afterward since they were given parcels of this newly acquired land instead of cash payment for their service. It was a new start for many but also a hostile place in those days since the local Shawnee and Miami didn't quite agree on the terms of the 1783 Treaty of Paris that ended the war without their input.
I did a bit of research and found that Joseph Catterline (sometimes spelled "Catterlin") was a Lieutenant in the Army from 1777 to 1783 and engaged the enemy several times, most notably at Fort Lee NJ. When Thomas Paine wrote the famous line in The American Crisis, "These are the times that try men's souls" he was referring to events at Fort Lee.
Catterline had also been in charge of Signal Beacon No. 7 in New Jersey. In 1779 There were about two dozen Signal Beacons throughout the state. The types of beacons varied from tar barrels on top of poles, to pyramids, to wooden towers filled with dried grass or hay that could be ignited to warn others of a British attack.
Miami Chapel Cemetery is also the resting place of a War of 1812 soldier and four Civil War veterans.