DAR honors ‘Real Daughter’ Burgett

BURGETTSTOWN – The Daughters of the American Revolution held a ceremony to mark the grave of Real Daughter Sarah Jane Markle Burgett Oct. 25 at the Fairview Cemetery.

A “Real Daughter” is the designation given to the actual daughter of a Revolutionary Patriot. Markle Burgett is one of three Real Daughters associated with the Pittsburgh Chapter, with the national number 2553 and chapter number 370. She was the second of the three to join.

Pittsburgh Chapter Regent Dru Simeone gave the welcome, noting there were representatives from six local DAR chapters attending and thanking those local residents who also turned out for the event.

Simeone said the state project to identify and mark the graves of all Pennsylvania Real Daughters began in 2007.

“We didn’t know what we were getting into,” she said.

Markle Burgett is the last of the Real Daughters whose grave will be marked. All Real Daughter graves have been marked, with the exception of one which only is accessible by boat and those in a Philadelphia cemetery inaccessible to the public.

She noted finding Markle Burgett’s grave was particularly difficult, as she was not buried near her husband or her father – and is in fact, not buried in the same cemetery as either – and her grave was not marked. Simeone praised Pam Church, voluntary Fairview Cemetery caretaker and manager, and Arletta Zelenko, Debbie Vraninin and the Fort Vance Historical Society for their assistance in locating Markle Burgett’s grave and researching her life.

She also noted that Markle Burgett’s home once stood on Main Street, and many of the DAR members in attendance likely had passed the spot on their way to the cemetery.

“She is the last to be marked, and, on behalf of the Pittsburgh chapter, I want to welcome you,” she said. “It means so much that so many local leaders and residents have come to honor our heritage and celebrate this Real Daughter with the DAR.”

More than 30 people were in attendance for the grave side dedication, with more attending the dessert reception at the Burgettstown Community Library immediately after the dedication.

Pennsylvania State Regent Roberta McMullen dedicated the marker and gave the closing remarks.

The Avella American Legion posted the colors and played taps. Chapter Chaplain Emeritas Mary Sweeney gave the invocation and benediction; Corresponding Secretary Barbara Bachman led the Pledge of Allegiance and Simeone laid the wreath. Real Daughter Committee Chair Diane McVicker and Lovey Kreitzer unveiled the marker.

Markle Burgett was the daughter of Abraham Tower Markle, who was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Markle’s military rank and birth year are not known, as his rank is recorded as both captain and colonel and his birth year is recorded as either 1762 or 1769.

He enlisted in the Westmoreland County Militia in Mount Pleasant and later served on Gen. George Washington’s staff from 1777 to 1779. Markle Burgett’s obituary, printed in the (Steubenville, Ohio) Herald-Star, noted that Markle “at an early age, joined the American army.” He would have been no older than 15, going by the 1762 date of birth.

Markle later settled in Jefferson County, Ohio, where he fathered 13 children, one of them being Sarah Jane, who was born in Island Creek Township, Jefferson County, Ohio, in 1820. Her father died Jan. 30, 1841, and was buried in Island Creek Cemetery. He is listed on the DAR plaque on display at the Steubenville courthouse. Markle Burgett married Boston Grim Burgett later that year, on April 20, 1841, at the Protestant Episcopal Church in Steubenville.

Boston Grim Burgett was one of 10 children born to Sebastian Boston Burgett, a German immigrant and Burgettstown founder. He settled in the area in 1780, building a grist mill and blockhouse along Raccoon Creek, where West Pittsburgh Street is now located. Burgettstown was platted in 1795 and a charter was granted to the borough in 1881.

Boston Burgett was Burgett’s youngest son, born in 1820 to Burgett’s second wife, Roxanna “Anna Rosina” Markle of Berks County. Boston Burgett and Markle Burgett had three daughters – Rachel, Emma and Ella – and were, by 1850 living in Smith Township with Rachel and Emma, as Ella died of typhoid fever. Boston Burgett was a cattle broker and, at one point, studied medicine.

Markle Burgett applied for DAR membership in June 1898 and was approved in September 1898. She died July 7, 1898.

There are 38 Real Daughters who were members of Pennsylvania chapters, and another 10 Real Daughters who were members of chapters outside of the state, but whom are buried in Pennsylvania.