The Daughters of the American Revolution are rededicating the grave of Major Ezekiel Ransom in Kalamazoo. Ransom joined the Continental Army when he was only 14. In his later years he moved to what was then known as the Village of Bronson, now the City of Kalamazoo, in 1835 to be near his children.
Ransom is the only known veteran of the War of Independence buried in Kalamazoo. He fought in the Vermont Militia, the Massachusetts Regiment, and in several major battles of the Revolutionary War.
Paula Fenstermaker is the historian of the Kalamazoo chapter of the DAR. She says Ranson was 72 when he came to southwest Michigan but was still very active.
"He didn’t just move in and say, 'This is a nice place to live.' He actually was a founder of the Baptist Church in Kalamazoo and also Kalamazoo College.”
Ransom worked as a farmer when he moved to Kalamazoo and lived at the corner of Park and Academy streets, now known as Bronson Park.
A marker for Major Ezekiel Ransom was installed in 1907 in Kalamazoo's Mountain Home Cemetery. But Fenstermaker says it later disappeared.
“We can’t find anything that happened to it. We can’t find any articles of what it looked like. So we’ve got a new marker to be dedicated. Looking at this (his headstone) you would never know he was a patriot and the work and what he did in the Revolution.”
Kalamazoo DAR spokeswoman Karen Woodworth says the event is part of the group's work to preserve history.
“The Daughters of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-political volunteer woman’s service organization. We are open to any woman 18 years or older, regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background, who can prove lineal decent from a patriot of the American Revolution. And that’s more women than you might think, and we can offer genealogy help.”
The new marker for Ezekiel Ransom will be officially unveiled during the rededication ceremony Sunday, June 9, at 2:30 near West Main Street.