A Christmas Gift for your Civil War Veteran

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

Pvt G W Lowery Co. A 81st Penn Inf

You’ve been working hard researching your Civil War ancestor haven’t you? With all the information you’ve found you’re overwhelmed with his sacrifice. You track down where he is buried to pay your respects to your family hero and find he doesn’t have a headstone! No headstone! True story! It happened to me.

My g-g-grandfather George W. Lowery was a private with the 81st Pennsylvania. He fought bravely with his regiment from 19 July 1864 to 7 April 1865 where he was wounded at the Battle of Cumberland Church. Thankfully he survived his injuries, moved to Ohio, fathered three more children and is buried in a small country cemetery about 45 minutes from my home.

I was truly surprised to find Continue reading

A Civil War Soldier’s story

E J Maguire

E J Maguire

If you caught yesterday’s post, you read about my success in finding the grave of a local Civil War veteran, Elisha J Maguire. I was really pleased when I found where he was buried but I couldn’t help wondering. Who was Elisha and what was his story?

With just a little research I found Elisha was born in Ohio, September 25, 1842. By 1860 his father ran a boarding house in Lima, Ohio and Elisha was lugging mail around.

Once the Civil War broke out, Elisha at 19 years old, was in the first wave of young men who responded to President Lincoln’s call for troops. He enlisted October 4, 1861 and soon joined Co. F 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry.

One of Elisha’s job during the war was as a Teamster. He drove a wagon hauling supplies, or maybe even cannons to the troops. He completed Continue reading

A little cemetery work . . . .

Maguire Family Headstone

Maguire Family Headstone

I was doing a little cemetery work yesterday for the 4th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry Descendants Association. One of the goals of the group is to document the final resting place of all the men in the regiment. I volunteered to photograph any grave sites in Northwest Ohio the group didn’t have.

My first assignment was to look for Elisha/Elijah Maguire‘s grave site. He was buried at a cemetery just a few minutes from my home. This might be a futile search. It was thought he didn’t have a headstone.

I stopped at the cemetery office to check on “E” and found his name was Elisha J and that indeed –  he didn’t have a headstone. So I got the directions to his burial place fully intending to Continue reading

A haunted house and ghosts in uniform, now that’s genealogy!

Local Cemetery

Local Cemetery

You may remember my daughter was married a couple of weekends ago in Virginia Beach. I was really surprised and incredibly happy all my siblings made the trek from Ohio to Virginia.

Van Meter Headstone

Van Meter Headstone

One sister made her way to the wedding via a two-day stop in Gettysburg. (These genes run deep huh?)

Another sister drove home from the wedding via a stop in West Virginia. Our oral family history has a branch of our family, the Van Meters, coming from Hardy County and at one time owning a haunted house. Legend has it a woman dressed in white roams the place, a large home with a huge sweeping staircase, and she shares the house with a man in a uniform. My sister loves this story. She’s hooked.

So she conned her husband to drive home with a pit stop in Hardy County. They end up in this part of West Virginia early on a Sunday afternoon. My sister and brother-in-law stopped at a small flea market for any bit info or directions they could get knowing full well this all could be a waste of time. Who knew if anyone would remember the family name or if the house was still standing?

Old Van Meter homestead

Old Van Meter homestead

The folks at the flea market were very helpful to strangers from Ohio. Yes, the family still lived in the area. Yes they had owned a huge old home with a sweeping stairway on the outskirts of town, and yes the house was haunted. The people at the store knew of the lady in white and the man in uniform! Many stories had been told of their appearances. The store proprietors made a couple of phone calls, checked with customers as they came into the shop and gave my family members some tidbits of info, directions to a cemetery and an abandoned home outside of town.

Now my sister is all ramped up. She’s on a ghost hunt! The stories are true! First they stop at the cemetery. It’s old and beautiful. There’s a monument dedicated to fallen Confederate Civil War soldiers. It has stood through time honoring those who have served. Then she found a couple of men listed with our very same family surname on the monument. Van Meter.

These men are probably cousins to my Ohio Van Meters. We know my direct line moved from this area in the mid 1850’s. Wow, what a neat revelation, I, like so many others would have family that fought on both sides in the Civil War. Now there’s some family research I can’t wait to get into! So after a couple of photos, my sister and brother-in-law are on their way to the haunted house.

Believe it or not they find the house! It’s bordered up, marked with many No Trespassing signs. They can’t get any closer than these photos. My sister is itching to trespass but my brother-in-law isn’t keen on spending the night in jail. So she satisfies herself with pics and comes home with a great story.

But my sister knows who to tell that story to back in Ohio! The Gettysburg sister and I are all ears. A nine-hour drive from here, huh? What if we check courthouse records, etc., contact the local Van Meters, etc. Hmm, yeah, haunted house and ghosts.

I think sometime this summer we’re going to have to bust out our Ghostbuster equipment and take a road trip. You gotta do what you gotta do in the name of genealogy research. Right?

Foil vs Chalk – and you can always use the leftovers fixing dinner!

Reading a Headstone

Reading a Headstone

Somewhere I’ve read that foil was another option when trying to read a deteriorating headstone.
I bought the cheapest foil I could find. Cheap = thin. As you can see in the first photo it worked pretty well but that headstone wasn’t badly worn.
The inscription on the second headstone was worse at the top and we couldn’t get a good read on it. We did get some words toward the bottom but not the entire inscription.
Overall I was very happy with the outcome. It was cool to bring the rubbings home and transcribe them.

So you might consider a cheap roll of foil as another tool to add to your cemetery kit. I’ll continue using it. You know I’ve always been leery chalking a headstone.

with the help of foil

with the help of foil

By the way, the two headstones are for the infant sons of my g-g-grandmother, Rebecca Holmes Williams. She had seven children. Four boys and three girls. All four boys died at a very young age. Not one lived into their teenage years. Her daughters all lived to adulthood, married and had children, yet Rebecca outlived two of the three girls.
She must have been one strong lady to have buried six of her seven children.