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SAR honors former archive center director Steve Pledger

Sons of the American Revolution President Jim Bizzell reads the plaque honoring former Archive Center Director Steve Pledger during the dedication ceremony on June 30 at the Cape Girardeau County Archive Center. Photo by Jay Forness

The Allen L. Oliver Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) in Cape Girardeau held a plaque dedication ceremony Thursday to honor former Cape Girardeau County Archive Center Director Steve Pledger and his many contributions to local history.

A crowd of around 25 people, including family, friends and former coworkers of Pledger, filled the archive center to watch the dedication ceremony and share stories about Pledger’s dedication to local history and genealogy.

Pledger was an active member of SAR and was the director of the archive center in Jackson from 2007 until his death in March 2020. Pledger was involved with the archive center since its earliest days, having volunteered at the center before holding the director position.

Steve participated in SAR events, was a past president of the organization and was instrumental in conducting research for countless people who wanted insight into their family histories and how they related to the nation’s history.

“Steve was a stalwart member of our chapter and a strong supporter of Cape County’s rich historical record,” said SAR President Jim Bizzell. “His contributions have been sorely missed at our SAR chapter and also at the archive center.”

Bizzell presented the memorial plaque to current archive director Marybeth Niederkorn, who said the plaque honoring Pledger’s contributions will now be a permanent installation at the archive center.

“I didn’t know him well personally, but I have heard him described as the best boss, the kindest friend and a researcher who could run circles around PhDs,” Niederkorn said. “He was passionate about history, passionate about his family and he helped many people learn more about their own family histories.”

During his time at the archive center, Pledger led the effort to catalog cemeteries in Cape Girardeau County, working many Saturday mornings to clear and clean gravestones that had been obscured by many years of neglect.

“Steve’s name is on indexes to marriage records, probate court cases, Revolutionary War soldier profiles and many, many more research materials we at the archive center use every day,” Niederkorn said. “The archive center would not be what it is today without Steve’s contributions.”

The plaque thanks Pledger for his dedication to preserving the heritage of Cape Girardeau County, the State of Missouri and the United States of America.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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