The Chesney family, aside from Alexander, did not play much of a role in the American Revolution, at least not one that is recognized or remembered today. The memory of the characters Robert Chesney and Margaret Hodge lies only in the remembrance of Alexander and his legacy set forth through his journal. The only link showing that this family existed at all outside of Alexander lies solely in the journal of Alexander which barely touches on characters outside of Alexander. There are no monuments, or plaques, or books, or anything of the sort in memory of this family; not even a gravestone for anyone other than Alexander could be found (and it proved quite difficult to find Alexander’s too). In memorial of this family, there are only three items that I have been able to locate that somehow recognize this family’s history and existence at all, the journal of Alexander Chesney, the gravestone of Alexander Chesney, and a painting of Alexander Chesney. The journal is free to public access and can be seen in a variety of ways and gives a history of Alexander’s experiences in America throughout the American Revolution and continues into Ireland when Alexander moved back after the war. This first hand source is the most living example of their history, and recognizes the existence of more than just Alexander which the other two objects do not.
That is a photo of the cover of a copy of the Journal that Alexander wrote, the full text can also be found online at https://archive.org/details/journalofalexand00ches.
The Gravestone and the Painting are both slightly different, they required a slight bit more digging, the gravestone being by far the hardest to uncover. The painting of Alexander Chesney was done by a man named Charles Grey who lived from 1808-1892. The painting does not give much of a look into the life of Alexander, but it does show his worn face at 86 years of age, but still with a look of inquiry on his wrinkled face. The painting was made in Ireland near Alexander’s death and it currently resides at the Ulster museum in Northern Ireland.
This is Grey’s painting of Alexander Chesney at 86 years of age.
The third “monument” is the gravestone of Alexander Chesney. Located in Mourne Presbyterian of Northern Ireland, Alexander was buried here after his death. This location was fairly difficult to find because of the lack of a trail that was left behind by Alexander after he concluded writing his journal. Located as grave number B39 Chesney’s grave can be seen here.
This is a link to a map of the graveyard that Chesney is buried in, if you look for B39 which is a large rectangle just north of the Mourne Presbyterian Church, you can see exactly where the grave is located.
I believe that like memory of anything, the memory of the American revolution changed dramatically over time. There is no way for people of today to be able to understand and grasp what it was like over 200 years ago in the American Revolution the same way that the people that lived through it in one way or another understand it. Just like those who lived through an experience like 9/11 have reactions and first hand experiences to it, those who were either not alive or at a very young age can not feel the same even now with video and photography that captured those moments as they happened, and 9/11 hasn’t even had its 20th anniversary yet, much less 200th. The only recollections we have of the event are the writings of the people that lived during those times, and because of individual biased and just how different society was than as compared to now, there is only so much that we can truly grasp to understand what it was like back in the American Revolution. Our memory of the American Revolution is also shaped by the advances in technology that exist today. Due to the extensive technological advances and the development of various resources available today such as digital archives and digital documentation of the American Revolution, access to a broader scope of the American Revolution is available. George Washington was unable to swipe a finger or click a hyperlink and read what Patrick Henry had to say about the constitution, King George couldn’t click on a powerpoint presentation to describe the feelings of the colonists about the taxes he imposed; the connection between people at that time was limited so much more, and there was no way for anyone to be able to read whatever anyone else believed at that time like is available now. If I was in South Carolina and wanted to see what was happening in New York at the continental congress, I wouldn’t need to worry that a newspaper might trickle down to my small town or farmland miles from any neighbor, I just type a few words and click a few buttons and then I can know. This accessibility allows for people of today to be much more informed about the various sides and opinions of all the events leading up to, during, and after the Revolution.