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Obriot Shares Local History with Cavaliers

CHS Civics teacher Joel Allen (left) displays the Buford Massacre battle flag of the Virginia regiment, a gift from guest speaker Ken Obriot (right).

Students in Civics and Economics classes recently had the opportunity to hear guest speaker Ken Obriot discuss some of the local aspects of the Revolutionary War, including the Battle of the Waxhaws, the Patriot Loyalist conflict, and the Buford Massacre. Originally from Michigan, Mr. Obriot has lived in Richmond, Virginia and Lansdale, Pennsylvania. He is a veteran of the US Navy having served as an aviation electrician in Fighter Squadron 143. He was onboard the USS Enterprise in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War. Mr. Obriot has a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and served 5 years as a police officer in Michigan and earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan. He retired in 2010 from Wyeth Laboratory as Associate Director of Global Security. Now Mr. Obriot enjoys spending his time learning and teaching history in his community and is the founder and president of the Friends of the Buford Massacre Battlefield. The visit was arranged by Civics teacher Joel Allen.

“I was looking for a Buford Massacre battle flag of the Virginia Regiment, and I found out that Mr. Obriot could get me one. Then he told me that he did re-enactments and presentations about local Revolutionary War history. I thought it would be an excellent opportunity for our students to get exposed to our local history. We have many students at CHS that really do not know how important this region was in deciding the outcome of the Revolutionary War,” Mr. Allen said.

Mr. Obriot told the students about the Buford massacre which took place in 1780 in Buford which is near Lancaster, SC. He presented Mr. Allen a replica of the Virginia detachment’s main battle flag made of gold silk. It is thought to be the earliest surviving documented flag bearing 13 stars. It has the motto “perseverando” and a painted emblem of a beaver chewing a palmetto tree.

“It was the flag of the 3rd Virginia detachment commander by Col. Abraham Buford. Tarleton captured the original flag at the massacre and it was in his family estate until it was recently auctioned for over one million dollars. Since I'm actually from Buford and still live there it has a little sentimental value to me,” said Mr. Allen.

Obriot founded “Friends of Buford Massacre Battlefield.” According to its website, its mission is to promote, preserve and improve this battlefield memorial; to provide an educational experience so that the memory of these fallen heroes and their supreme sacrifice is not forgotten nor the significance of this battle denied its place in history. All money raised by the organization is used to pay for improvements, maintenance, and enrichment of educational experience of the battlefield. Click here to visit the website which includes history and photos of the area.

“Hopefully the students gained a historical appreciation for the Waxhaw area and will look for other opportunities to expand their knowledge of local history,” said Mr. Allen. CHS would like to thank Mr. Obriot for sharing his time and experiences with the students.

Written by: Paula White
Posted: Oct 21, 2013 by Paula White

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