FRONT ROYAL – The Col. James Wood II Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution in Winchester are traveling around Warren County to recognize the county’s namesake, Dr. Joseph Warren.
Warren, a Boston, Massachusetts, native and a Harvard-graduated physician, served as a major general at the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution. Warren fell at the battle, but he is recognized as a founding father and one of the first great American heroes. Virginia is one of 14 states in the United States to have a county named after Warren.
Larry Johnson, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and former president of the organization, said that he believes that, when Warren County was established in 1836, it was soldiers who served during the revolution that wanted their county named after Warren.
“He was the first martyr and the greatest martyr of the American Revolution,” he said.
Johnson said he began to do research on the man the county was named for after moving to Warren County.
“I asked all of my neighbors and government officials why this county was named Warren, and I couldn’t find anyone who knew why,” he said. “I’m sure there were people who knew, but I didn’t encounter any.”
Johnson began to mobilize the effort to recognize Warren in June 2016.
“It’s taken a while because the county didn’t have the money to invest in plaques,” Johnson said. “My job was to go out and find the funds to do it.”
Johnson said it cost $4,400 to get all 14 plaques made. He said that he wanted enough to put in several buildings throughout Warren County, including each public school in Warren County, Samuels Public Library, and the Warren Heritage Society.
“I’m very pleased with it,” Johnson said.
During a plaque ceremony at Warren County High School recently, Johnson stressed how important it was for Warren County citizens, especially the students, to learn about the man who inspired the name of their county.
“It’s either teach this next generation what they have so they can preserve it, or we lose it,” Johnson said. “I’m very proud of it because every child that enters this hall are going to stop for a second and look at a beautiful plaque of a man dying in a ditch and grimace.”
Aside from the plaques, Johnson worked on a resolution to get Warren recognized on his birthday on June 11. The resolution also asked that the county flag be lowered to half staff from June 11-17, the day that Warren was killed.
The Sons of the American Revolution will continue to present plaques through June 12.