Restoring our nation’s cemeteries and preserving the stories they tell about our history and genealogy are high priorities for our client, the Daughters of the American Revolution. We honor that commitment in the January/February 2013 issue of American Spirit as we highlight historic cemeteries of various sizes, many of them once ravaged by time, natural elements and neglect, that have been rehabilitated by dedicated volunteers.
To commemorate February’s Black History Month, the issue also examines unsung African-Americans, both slaves and freemen, who contributed to the Revolutionary cause. One story is especially dramatic: In the weeks leading up to the climactic battle at Yorktown, Va., General George Washington received a steady stream of crucial intelligence from a highly placed spy who worked for Washington’s foe, Lord Cornwallis. That Washington had a double agent literally within the British commander’s tent is remarkable in itself. What is even more remarkable is that the spy was a Virginia slave named James Armistead, whose dangerous duty would eventually earn him his freedom.
And February 14 is on our minds as we remember Esther Howland, a Mayflower descendant who was known as the mother of the American valentine.