When the alarm at Lexington was sounded in 1775, Daniel Throop of
Lebanon was among the Connecticut men who hurried north to join the
Throop, who became a captain in the Connecticut Light Horse Militia,
survived the Revolutionary War, and like many other veterans, headed
into the western frontier. He bought land in southeastern Michigan and
died in November 1833 at age 85.
Thereafter, Throop (pronounced “Troop”) faded into the well of history,
one name among thousands in the relatively scant military records of a
fledgling nation. Now, his name and patriotism have been resurrected in
a well-meaning, but not altogether accurate, dedication.
On July 3 at Judd Cemetery in Michigan’s York Township, Throop’s new
gravestone was unveiled with music, speeches and military honors.
“Once we found out that Capt. Throop answered the call to the Battle of
Lexington, the first battle of the Revolution, it just grew,” said Fred
Veigel, a veteran and union leader in Michigan who raised donations for
the stone. “There was no way we could just place a small marker.”
The effort started in 2007 when an official with the Sons of the
American Revolution spotted a small Daughters of the American
Revolution marker and sought information on the war veteran buried in
the cemetery south of Ann Arbor. The request was relayed to Veigel.
The cemetery held a broken gravestone bearing the name “Dan Throop,”
but that Throop died in 1847 at age 73 — young enough to be the elder
Throop’s son, but too young to be a Son of Liberty. However, near that
snapped gravestone was the metal DAR marker. It seemed possible that
the patriot Throop was buried next to a younger relative in an unmarked
Veigel got word out to veterans groups and union members. Elmer White,
a Vietnam-era veteran, lawyer and historian, and Gary Lillie, a veteran
of the Vietnam War, became the principal researchers. They discovered
that Throop’s descendantswere
responsible for getting the DAR marker placed in the 1920s, White said.
Further research showed that a Daniel Throop had purchased 145 acres
nearby in what is now Milan, Mich., he said.
The trail led to archives in the Connecticut State Library, where the
“Record of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution” listed Daniel
Throop as a captain in the 2nd Regiment, Light Horse Militia. The Sons
of the American Revolution confirmed for The Courant that they have a
record listing a Daniel Throop who was born in Connecticut in 1748 and
died in Michigan in 1833. Judd Cemetery records had been lost in a fire
in the 1950s, but White said he found proof that the Throop family had
purchased a plot in the cemetery, and that there was a grave in that
plot next to the grave of the younger Dan Throop, who was actually the
veteran Throop’s nephew.
“Based on all research done, we can say Daniel Throop lies here,”
Veigel told a crowd of about 300 people at the unveiling ceremony,
according to the Ann Arbor News.
White, a trial lawyer for 45 years, said he believes “beyond a
reasonable doubt” that the grave is Throop’s. Veigel said in a recent
interview that the cost of making absolutely sure by digging up the
body was prohibitive. In any case, Lillie said, the bones have likely
dissolved into the soil.
Martha Churchill, a Michigan-based free-lance writer and historian,
wrote recently in the Milan News Leader that she could find no evidence
that the patriot Daniel Throop is buried in Judd Cemetery. Churchill
declared flatly that Veigel and his researchers had made a well-meaning
mistake. White countered in a recent interview that Churchill missed
records he found.
Beyond that dispute, however, the inscriptions on the gravestone are
certainly incorrect, said Sal Tarantino, who heads a ceremonial
Revolutionary War unit based on Connecticut’s storied 2nd Continental
The inscription says, “Captain Throop answered the call and led his
troops at the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775.” But the official
record in “Rolls and Lists of Connecticut Men in the Revolution —
1775-1783” lists Throop among soldiers and officers who marched from
Connecticut on April 22.
The battles at Lexington and Concord were fought mostly by
Massachusetts men. Communication was slow in those days. Militia and
farmers and anyone else inclined to kill Redcoats streamed from
Connecticut and other New England states into the Boston area days
after the alarm, and many of those men — probably Throop included,
Tarantino said — fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill in mid-June.
More incorrect information is inscribed on the back side of the stone,
Tarantino said. The stone says Throop’s unit served as Gen. George
Washington’s bodyguards and that the unit made the first cavalry charge
in American history. The Michigan researchers confused the 2nd Regiment
of the Connecticut Light Horse Militia with the 2nd Continental Light
Dragoons, the actual “Avenging Angels” that the stone ascribes to the
Light Horse Militia, Tarantino said.
Asked if the inscriptions would be corrected, White said probably not.
“Our heart is in the right place,” he said. “If you get too down on
this, people are going to be afraid to do these kinds of ceremonies.”
“I think the point all of us wanted to make was to remember
American history and the American soldier,” White wrote in an e-mail.