By Debbie Adams
The Roanoke Valley Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, which meets in Vinton, has
presented the newest DAR America 250 Patriot Marker to the Wilderness Road Regional
Museum in Newbern, Va. A dedication ceremony was held at the museum on September 24,
with over 50 people in attendance. Virginia State DAR Regent Laurie P. Nesbitt was the guest
This is the second marker installed in Virginia with approximately 60 placed throughout the
United States to honor American Patriots as the United States prepares to celebrate its 250 th
anniversary in 2025.
The plaque reads: “Revolutionary War Patriots—This marker commemorates the men and
women who achieved American independence. These Patriots, believing in the noble cause of
liberty, fought valiantly to found a new nation—1775-1783.”
“The National Society’s goal is to place markers in advance of the celebration of our nation’s
upcoming 250th anniversary,” said Janice Taylor, Chapter Registrar and chair of the committee
which facilitated funding for and dedication of the marker. “This dedication is designed to raise
appreciation amongst current and future generations of Americans of our Patriots’ sacrifice for
their benefit. Our hope is that this marker will become a source of pride for this community to
celebrate the brave Patriots who founded our nation and a reminder of the importance of
emulating their conviction, courage, and cooperation toward national unity.”
The Daughters of American Revolution is a non-profit, non-partisan women’s service
organization founded in 1890 committed to preserving the memory and spirit of those who
contributed to America's independence. The mission is to promote historic preservation,
education, and patriotism.
The Wilderness Road Regional Museum is one of only two Revolutionary War homes in
Southwest Virginia that is operated as a museum.
DAR Patriot Adam Hance and his family built the home on the Wilderness Road in the town he
established called Newbern, Virginia. Hance was a keen entrepreneur who saw the good sense in
establishing a town along the main wagon road taking settlers westward into Kentucky and
According to the museum, “the Hance family was of Swiss origin, settling around present day-
Pulaski County around 1768. Adam Hance (b. 1747) belonged to the first generation of the
Hance family to be born and raised in the Pulaski County area. After acquiring nearly 1,000
acres of land for his plantation along the Wilderness Road, Adam founded the town of Newbern
in 1810 to establish a place for travelers of the migration route.
“Adam’s son, Henry, followed in his father’s footsteps to become a prominent businessman by
running a general store, tavern, and serving as Newbern’s first postmaster. These businesses
were located in the Hance houses, which were later converted to the Wilderness Road Regional
“Although the Hance family was successful and played major roles in local history, court records
show how they also spent much time in court for land disputes, trespassing, slander, and assault.
“[Adam Hance’s] sons grew up … retaining some of the rough characteristics of the frontier.”
“Regardless of the Hance family’s constant squabbles with neighbors and the law, they also
served as constables and deputy sheriff, and aided in the construction of court facilities when
Newbern became the county seat of the newly formed Pulaski County. This county would not
have been as prosperous as it once was without the efforts and accomplishments of this exciting
and mysterious family.
“In 1837 Henry Hance’s daughter, Virginia, married Jabin Alexander, a gentleman farmer of
Scottish origins from Monroe County, West Virginia. As a result of their union, the new
Alexander couple inherited the Hance houses, which stayed in their family until 1980.
Descendants of the Hance-Alexanders still inhabit Pulaski County, and many artifacts of the
family are on display at the Wilderness Road Regional Museum.
“The museum’s namesake (Wilderness Road) is a branch of the Great Wagon Road, which
descends from the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border through southern Pennsylvania, cutting
through Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas.
“The Wilderness Road joined the Great Road at present-day Roanoke, Virginia, which was then
called Big Lick.
“From there the Wilderness Road led travelers west, rather than south, through the apex of the
West Virginia-Virginia-Tennessee borders.
“In 1775, frontiersman Daniel Boone opened the wagon trail that runs through Cumberland Gap
from western Virginia into Kentucky.
“From 1607 until the railroads were established, these wagon roads allowed for expansion
beyond the Appalachian Mountains during the early days of America’s western settlement. The
Mountains served as a barrier to many travelers, but roaming buffalo and Indians wore down a
path that provided a road for the many thousands of new settlers, Indian traders, soldiers, and
“Because the travelers were subject to Indian attacks, most migrants traveled in groups for
greater security. Several towns, including Newbern, prospered due to businesses that made life
easier for these travelers, such as inns for overnight rest and ferries that provided river transport
at some locations of the Road’s locations. These wagon roads also assisted in the fighting during
the French and Indian War as well as the American Revolution, during which many of American
history’s great heroes traveled through the trails.”
The Roanoke Valley Chapter DAR meets at Campbell Memorial Presbyterian Church on the
second Saturday of most months from September through May. Women of the DAR document
their direct lineage to a patriot in the American Revolution. The local chapter is well-known for
its contributions to the community and to veterans in particular.