CIVIL WAR GRAVES RECLAIMED

By Eric Olson

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 2, 2008 at 2:06 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)-IT SITS, BARELY VISIBLE, OFF YELLOW RIVER ROAD, THE HADLEY CEMETERY IN LAKE TOWNSHIP. NEARLY TWO CENTURIES OF WEATHER AND VANDALISM HAVE ERASED MANY OF THE STORIES THIS CEMETERY ONCE TOLD. BUT NOT ALL OF THEM.

Dave: These people lived in the 1860’s and ‘70’s. They were farmers and shopkeepers what was their story? How did they live?

ENTER DAVE WINSHIP, LOCAL HISTORIAN AND CIVIL WAR BUFF..CONCERNED THAT CIVIL WAR SOLDIERS BURIED HERE WOULD BE FORGOTTEN ONCE THEIR GRAVESTONES DISAPPEAR.

Dave: There’s a total of five soldiers that I’ve been able to locate, three with the military headstones…Two of them…have civilian stones.

WINSHIP DUG THROUGH LOCAL RECORDS, REDISCOVERED THE LIVES OF THESE MEN WHO DIED FOR THE UNION. MEN LIKE PRIVATE ETTIS BUTTERFIELD, JOINED UP IN 1862…DEAD FROM DISEASE WITHIN A YEAR, LEAVING A WIDOW AND SIX KIDS BACK IN INDIANA.

Dave: A Hoosier woman, small town area, rural county, farm wife, six kids. that’s a tough story.

OR PRIVATE ARTHUR PEABODY, JUST 18 YEARS OLD WHEN HE JOINED THE FIFTH INDIANA LIGHT ARTILLARY IN 1861. THREE MONTHS LATER HE WAS DEAD.

Dave: When they had to ship his body home in the cold Indiana winter, can you imagine being his parents having to bury your son in the cold Indiana ground.

WINSHIP DID MORE THAN RESURRECT THESE MEN’S STORIES; HE MADE SURE THEY’RE REMEMBERED. HE SECURED NEW MILITARY HEADSTONES FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, PAID TO HAVE THEM SET AT THE GRAVESITES…THE SHORT FACTS OF THEIR LIVES CHISLED IN STONE AND IRON, SO WE CAN KEEP THEM IN OUR LIVES A WHILE LONGER…AS MUCH FOR OUR SAKE AS THEIRS.

These five soldiers, they’re part of Lake Township, they’re part of Allen County they’re part of Indiana history. If we forget where we come from we’ll never know who we are. So in that regard you’ve got to remember your past.

ERIC OLSON REPORTING OUT IN YOUR COUNTRY.




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