FARMINGTON — When you start researching your family’s roots, you never know what you’ll find.

It turns out that Connie Gove Hiltz, 77, of Farmington, has an American Revolutionary War soldier as an ancestor among others who fought to right injustices, she said.

Her great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Gove enlisted at age 16 in Col. Rufus Putnam’s regiment and served in the Continental Army for three years.

After the war, he received one of the first land grants in North Lubec on Soward’s Neck, which came be known as Gove Point, Hiltz said.

She finally had her proof to gain entry to become a member of the Colonial Daughters Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Franklin County.

Her research and that of another relative led Hiltz and cousin Betty Hall of Lewiston to Lubec in 2005.

The Jacob Gove family cemetery is on private property, now owned by another family and permission is granted to visit.

“We almost didn’t find the grave,” Hiltz said. “We found it under trees.”

There was a fairly new American flag, probably put there on Memorial Day, and the headstone was lying on the ground, face up with a rock propping it up. It was in an overgrown area and moss had started growing on it, Hiltz said.

“We could hardly see the details down low,” she said.

Two years later, a government issued stone that sets at the head of the grave on the ground was installed with the help of the American Legion in Lubec.

On June 14 of this year, a DAR marker was jointly placed on the grave by members of Colonial Daughters and the Hannah Weston Chapter of Machias. The latter’s regent, Ruth Higgins Ahrens, organized an official ceremony to mark the event, much to her surprise, Hiltz said. Ahrens even had the overgrown area cleaned up and cleared, she said. A Lubec selectman also put a soldier’s marker down.

“I wasn’t going to do all this,” Hiltz said. “We were just going to put a marker in the ground and say ‘Good job, Jacob.’ It turned into a very momentous ceremony by the time they were through. I was almost in tears. I’m almost in tears just talking about it.”

American Legion Stewart-Green Post 65 members were in full dress and the Honor Guard gave a three-gun salute in the middle of the woods, Hiltz said.

After the ceremony, one of the riflemen asked if she was an ancestor.

“He held his clenched fist out facing the ground and I put my hand out and he opened up his fist and dropped three empty shell casings into my hand,” Hiltz said. “It was just a very moving ceremony. When I saw all the people there — must have been 20 of us — I just know Jacob is going to be looked after now. They all know where he is.”

Hiltz’ cousin, Elaine Abbott of Eastport, is already spreading the word to younger generations about Jacob Gove.

Researching the family history also revealed another surprise for Hiltz. Her descendants came from England and not from Holland as her family thought, she said.

“It just makes them all come alive and you realize the roots you come from,” Hiltz said about doing the genealogy. “It’s just too bad you don’t get into it until you are older. My father, Cliff Gove, used to tell us stories and we’d roll our eyes like here we go again. I wish I had him here now. There are so many questions I would ask him.”

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Connie Gove Hiltz of Farmington researched the Gove family roots and discovered her great-great-great-grandfather Jacob Gove fought for America in the Revolutionary War.


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