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Historic dedication set for Saturday

The Pike County Historical Society and various other groups have been working to bring recognition to a historic American Revolutionary soldier who was laid to rest in Pike County. Austin Dabney was one of few black soldiers to be honored for their service during the Revolutionary War. ”He served with great distinction and was recognized by the state, governor and various other honors that came to him over the years,” said Historical Society president James Adams. Dabney was injured during the Battle of Kettle Creek, reportedly taking a musket ball to the thigh to protect Lt. Col. Elijah Clarke. He was taken care of by William Harris after his injury and eventually moved with the Harris family to Pike County. ”He ultimately settled in Pike with the family he was attached to, not as a slave but as a free man, the Harris family,” said Adams. “When he died, he was buried there with the Harris family on property he himself was granted by the state.” Adams and members of the Historical Society will host a reception to honor Dabney after his grave site receives a historical dedication at a ceremony set for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. The reception will be held following the graveside dedication at Life Springs Church on Highway 19 south. Adams said though Dabney did not leave a lineage, descendants of the Harris family still reside in Pike, Lamar and surrounding counties. ”The Harris family intermarried into the Mitchell family, which were also early settlers of Pike County,” said Adams, adding that the Middlebrooks family in Lamar were also descendants of the Harris family. “One of the key people behind what we’re doing now is Carl Volker who married into the Middlebrooks family and has been a key person working to bring this recent recognition to fruition.” In addition to Pike, Upson and Lamar historical societies, Sons, Daughters and Children of the American Revolution groups have taken a large part in the planning for the upcoming event. ”The Sons of the Revolution in Columbus decided to honor him by bringing a color guard and sponsoring the ceremony to place a new bronze marker on his grave,” said Adams. “It’s a public event and we’re expecting to have a couple hundred people there depending on weather conditions.”

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