The people of Lake of the Ozarks celebrate Independence Day this week, and each year, with much patriotic fervor. While most of us know the basics of our founding history, it is unlikely that many realize there are a few direct local connections to the American Revolutionary War.

The people of Lake of the Ozarks celebrate Independence Day this week, and each year, with much patriotic fervor. While most of us know the basics of our founding history, it is unlikely that many realize there are a few direct local connections to the American Revolutionary War.

Despite being located far from the main action on the eastern front, there are at least three Revolutionary War veterans buried in the tri-county Lake of the Ozarks region, one in Miller County and two in Morgan County.

With significant help from Cindy Hart of the Miller County Historical Society, the Lake Sun tracked down a little historical information about Charles Smith, John Chilcoat and John Kelsay.

As you celebrate our freedoms, remember these people of our past who were part of the struggle for liberty then and into the future.

Charles Smith is buried in the old Hawken Cemetery east of Tuscumbia. His grave these days is marked by a marble tablet placed in the 1940s by the Jefferson City chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Born October 1, 1760, he was 15 when the American Revolution began, and joined other colonists in the fight as a bugler. He would come of age amidst this conflict.

Smith is listed in the War Department as “Trumpeteer, 2nd Virginia Line, Revolutionary War,” according to information provided by the historical society.

Other records, mainly family Bibles and papers, showed he was a native-born Virginian who came to Missouri in 1842 with a son, Champ J. Smith and his wife Martha Sellars Smith. Charles Smith lived to be 90 years old, passing away in Miller County less than a month after his birthday. His grave marker indicating his passage on October 20, 1850.

Further information provided by the historical society indicated that Charles Smith had petitioned for a pension as a Revolutionary War veteran in June 1829. At that time, he was living in Wilson County, Tennessee. He stated he had been a trumpeter for the Continental Army under the command of Col. William Washington of the Virginia Line (yes, this was a second cousin to General and President George Washington) and had been a militiaman during the British defeat at the famous Battle of Cowpens, located in South Carolina. The 1781 battle is considered a turning point of the war in the South. By this time, Charles Smith would have been 20 years of age.

In 1841, Smith notified the government of his impending move to Missouri so he could have his pension forwarded to Tuscumbia. He was receiving $10 per month for his service. According to a later notification, the family moved to Tuscumbia, the county seat of Miller County, in June 1842.

At the time of the 1942 article about the DAR’s placement of the gravestone, a couple of known Smith descendants attended the ceremony, including a great-great-grandson living west of Tuscumbia, William Hauenstein.

Another long-lived Revolutionary War veteran made his way to Morgan County via Cooper County, Missouri. His war service is murkier, but he appears to have been a scout or spy, rank of Private, for the Pennsylvania militia, according to the information provided by the historical society.

John Chilcoat was even younger at the outbreak of war in the colonies. Born to Robinson Chilcoat in 1758 in Baltimore County, Maryland, he would have been just 13 years old, but it is unclear what year he joined in the hostilities. He did receive a pension for his service as well.

During his lifetime, Chilcoat lived in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee before moving to Cooper County, Missouri sometime before 1820, making him appear to be an American pioneer as well as patriot.

Over his lifetime, he had at least two wives, Susannah and Huldah. Susannah apparently appears in land records in Madison County, Kentucky and Huldah in deeds in 1825 and 1830 in Cooper County, Missouri.

At some point after moving to Missouri, he moved near Florence in northern Morgan County. A gravesite has never been located, but he is assumed to have been buried somewhere on his farm there. In 2002, his farm was reportedly still intact including two log cabins dating to the mid-1800s.

The Eldon chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Christopher Casey Chapter of Sons of the American Revolutions installed a memorial marker provided by the Veterans Administration at Union Cemetery in the Florence area on April 27, 2002.

At the time of his death at age 92 — Chilcoat lived November 27, 1758 to July 10, 1851 — he left two minor sons, John and Joshua Chilcoat. Descendants from all over North American attended ceremonies for the placement of the memorial marker in 2002.

Information on our last Revolutionary War veteran is scant, though he appears to be another pioneer. John Kelsay was born January 25, 1745 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While he passed away at age 85 on October 29, 1830 in Cooper County, Missouri, records indicate he is buried in Kelsay Cemetery on Kelsay Road in the Barnett area of Morgan County. His gravesite was at some point flagged for a memorial marker by the Niangua Chapter of the DAR. It appears he left four children and an unknown number of descendants.