SAFFORD — Members of the Daughters of the American Revolution link their direct family lines to patriots who supported the independence of America in order to be free from England’s rule.
Donna Wright, historian of the Gila Valley Chapter, is the fifth great-granddaughter of Solomon DeLong Sr. He was born in 1750 in France or Germany. According to a well-respected DeLong researcher, it was believed that DeLong was born in Germany because his brother was known in Ohio settlers’ records as a Dutchman who spoke with a German accent. One train of thought was that his family may have migrated from Germany to France and then on to Maryland before what was to become West Virginia.
DeLong served as a soldier in Capt. Thomas Gaddis’ company in the Monongalia County Militia from September 1776 to January 1777 at Fort Liberty, Va. During colonial times, the militia was made up of all able-bodied men of certain ages. It was generally an army of nonprofessional soldiers who could be called upon for military service during a time of need, as opposed to a professional force of regular, full-time military personnel. During the Revolution, many local state militia units were created to help defend the rights of the colonists, fighting in support of the American cause.
Because his service was not a part of the Continental Army, DeLong was refused a pension. He and his brothers had taken part in the Revolution and, later, along with his older sons, fought in the War of 1812.
This family showed the spirit of adventure when, in 1783, they illegally crossed the Ohio River from West Virginia to Ohio and built cabins on what was known as Indian land. In 1785, with Congress fearing retaliation from the Native Americans, orders were issued to move back across the river. The orders further stated that anyone refusing would be forcibly dislodged.
Solomon and his family refused and organized themselves to resist with an arsenal of guns. Fortunately, a compromise was agreed upon and they went back across the river while their homes were destroyed by federal troops.
Later that year, when the ordinance for acquiring land was passed, the DeLong family returned to the Ohio side and rebuilt their homes. With this strong sense of perseverance, Solomon DeLong and his family were considered to be among the first settlers in this area.
His life’s companion was Nancy Ann LeMasters, and they raised six boys and three girls.
DeLong died around 1830 on his farm near Dennison, Tuscarawas County, Ohio, at the age of 80. There was a DeLong Family Cemetery near Dennison with 13 unmarked graves, each with fieldstones showing their location. Unfortunately, during a strip-mining excavation, the graves were accidentally unearthed. The remains were taken to Kent State University Archaeology Department and later to a mortician in Dennison. Most of the burials had occurred between 1800-1850.
The original graves had been dug down to bedrock, and then a custom-fit niche cut into the rock for the coffins. This was a remarkable feat for that time due to the tools available. This may have been DeLong’s burial site, although there is no actual proof.
Two words come to mind that aptly describe this pioneering family: “patience and perseverance.” DeLong was pretty much like the rest of the patriot heroes of the time — doing what needed to be done.