By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Almost two centuries after his death, the remains of Robert Eames (1733 – 1821), one of Marlborough’s first Minutemen, were re-interred in the Wilson Cemetery Dec. 7 with a moving ceremony. Sudbury Militia & Minute members in full Colonial period garb acted as pallbearers and flag bearer, evoking a scene from the history books and a fitting honor for one of Marlborough’s own.
Eames’ tomb had been in total disrepair and overgrown after years of damage from the elements and vandalism but was recently restored as part of the city’s efforts to update and rejuvenate its cemeteries. Richard Collins of Fitzgerald & Collins Funeral Home had agreed to house the remains while the restoration work was being done and to provide a casket for the re-interment.
Research by Lt. Commander Matthew Sargent, United States Naval Reserve and a Trustee of the Marlborough Historical Society, revealed that at the age of 19, Eames joined others from Marlborough in a company led by Captain Jonathan Weeks during the French and Indian War. Following the war, Eames married Lydia Harrington in 1759, and fathered 10 children. He once again answered the call to serve on April 19, 1775, marching to Cambridge under the leadership of Captain Daniel Barnes, and subsequently participated in the Siege of Boston. His last enlistment was for eight months in 1777 with the Continental Army. Two of his sons, Aaron and Moses, were also veterans of the Revolutionary War.
Like many men from Marlborough, he chose to take up arms in defense of his home and family,” Sargent said. “The Revolutionary spirit of Marlborough and her people led to America gaining her independence from Great Britain. We now enjoy all of the liberties and freedoms inherent to America because of men like Robert.”
Quartermaster Timothy Tonner of the Sudbury Companies of Militia & Minute reminded those in attendance,” This is a tremendous event, honoring Robert Eames, who was a husband, a father, and a patriot, but, a Townie, who lived it for real, and gave us our freedom to live in a free society today.”
Following a rifle volley from the Sudbury Militia & Minute and the playing of TAPS, the flag draping the coffin was presented to the local Sons of the American Revolution.
Caroline Bigelow, a member of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) came forward as a descendant of Robert Eames’ son, Moses, six times her great-grandfather, after seeing a posting searching for family members on social media and will preserve the flag here in Marlborough.
According to Chris White, General Foreman of the city’s Forestry, Parks and Cemeteries Division, the Cemetery Preservation survey had earmarked this tomb for repair, and it was restored inside and out. The DPW has also tended to 140 other monuments at the Wilson Cemetery so far. “There are plans to continue restoration and preservation throughout Wilson Cemetery, and then the city will reassess and prioritize future cemetery projects,” he said.
It is unlikely, however, that another Revolutionary War veteran will need to be re-interred.