Patriot’s descendants return to honor

Groveland Twp.-It’s been 227 years since a 14- year-old boy from Hebron County near Hartford Conn. volunteered into the service of the United States as a musician-fifer in the Militia of Connecticut. He would serve with the Connecticut Continental Line, encounter Gen. George Washington and live to see our nation’s birth.
The military journey of patriot Norman Phelps Sr. which ended Sept. 18, 1840 in Ortonville will be remembered in a graveside rededication service. After 164 years Phelps? legacy as a patriot and distinguished service to the American Revolution was discovered by his fourth great-granddaughter Diane Irish-Ward and third great-grandson Herb Phelps of South Carolina.
‘We’re honored to be in attendance,? said Phelps, 83, from his home in Myrtle Beach, S.C., ‘We’re thankful for those who made this rededication possible.?
Phelps, who along with other family members will make the trek to Groveland Township for the rededication, has studied the life of Norman Phelps.
?(Norman) was pretty active in hunting and fishing from his home Lake George, New York,? said Phelps. ‘There are a few stories about his life including that he survived a severe rattlesnake bite.?
Although no known photographs of Norman Phelps Sr. exist, Herb Phelps says that in the Masonic Temple of Boston hangs a portrait of Gen.Washington riding accompanied by a young man holding the reins of his white horse. That youth is allegedly Norman Phelps.
‘Several documents claim (Norman) cared for Washington’s horse throughout the war,? said Phelps. ‘And since Washington’s a Mason it would make sense that he’d be in the Masonic Temple.?
Phelps, along with his wife Sarah Cole came to Ortonville in 1840 to live with their son Benjamin and Angelina Orton-Phelps. He died in September that same year. The Phelps, Orton and Irish families are some of the first in the Ortonville area.
n When: 2 p.m., Sept. 12
n Where: Ortonville Cemetery, west of M-15 between Mill Street and Oakwood Road in Groveland Township. Reception: 3 to 6 p.m. hosted by the Ortonville Historical Society at the Old Mill.
n What: Gravesite rededication of Revolutionary War Patriot Norman Phelps Sr. attended by family members, with special performance and concert by the Plymouth Fife and Drum Corp, arrayed in Continental uniforms similar to the Revolutionary War Veteran Norman Phelps Sr. In addition, the Civil War Reenactment Unit, Battery D, 1st Michigan Light Artillery with members from Davison, Goodrich and Hadley will be in attendance. The battery will include the firing of a mountain howitzer cannon. Also, the Fourth Battalion of Continental Artillery, originally recruited in Pennsylvania and once part of Gen. George Washington’s Continental Line in 1779 will attend the service. The Sons of the American Revolution, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and the Ortonville Historical Society assisted with the rededication.