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contact our Department Junior Vice Commander 

Alan Kirshen, DJVC 

P.O. Box 635

Red Oak, Iowa 51566  


          Welcome to the             Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

House File 2266




Section 1. Section 144.27, Code 2016, is amended to read as follows:

          144.27 Funeral director’s duty.

          1. The funeral director who first assumes custody of a dead body shall file the death certificate, obtain the personal data from the next of kin or the best qualified person or source available and obtain the medical certification of cause of death from the person responsible for completing the certification. When a person other than a funeral director assumes custody of a dead body, the person shall be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this section .

          2. a. A funeral director responsible for filing a death certificate under this section may after a period of one hundred eighty days release to the Department of Veterans Affairs the name of a deceased person whose cremated remains are not claimed by a person authorized to control the decedent’s remains under section 144C.5, for the purposes of determining whether the deceased person is a veteran or dependent of a veteran and is eligible for inurnment at a national or state veterans cemetery. If obtained pursuant to subsection 1, the funeral director may also release to the Department of Veterans Affairs documents of identification, including but not limited to the social security number, military service number, and military separation or discharge documents, or such similar federal or state documents, of such a person.

         ​  b. If the Department of Veterans Affairs determines that the cremated remains of the deceased person are eligible for inurnment at a national or state veterans cemetery, the Department of Veterans Affairs shall notify the funeral director of the determination. If the cremated remains have not been claimed by a person authorized to control the decedent’s remains under section 144C.5 one hundred eighty days after the funeral director receives notice under this paragraph “b” , all rights to the cremated remains shall cease, and the funeral director shall transfer the cremated remains to an eligible veterans organization if the eligible veterans organization has secured arrangements for the inurnment of the cremated remains at a national or state veterans cemetery. For purposes of this subsection, an “eligible veterans organization” means a veterans service organization organized for the benefit of veterans and chartered by the United States Congress or a veterans remains organization exempt from federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that is recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs to inurn unclaimed cremated remains.

          c. A funeral director providing information or transferring cremated remains shall be immune from criminal, civil, or other regulatory liability arising from any actions in accordance with this subsection. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs, a national or state veterans cemetery, and an eligible veterans organization shall be immune from criminal, civil, or other regulatory liability arising from any actions in accordance with this subsection. Such immunity shall not apply to acts or omissions constituting intentional misconduct.

Department of Iowa ROTC/JROTC Program  ​

Department ROTC/JROTC Coordinator Mike Rowley reports the Department has had 100% participation from all programs in the State this year.

Brother Don McGuire of the Dodge Camp presenting the Award to Cadet Tyler Laska

This years recipients are:


 Tyler D. Laska, Iowa State University, Air Force

 Patrick Hennessey, Iowa State University, Navy

 Joshua S. Dunt, Iowa State University, Army

 John C. Maxwell, University of Iowa, Air Force

 Christian Zvokell, University of Iowa, Army

 Tina Turner, University on Northern Iowa, Army

 Jordon Hamling, University of Dubuque, Army

 Chandler S. Stansberry, Ottumwa High School

 Nathan J. Mortensen, Abraham Lincoln High School, Council Bluffs

 Jax Good, Central Campus, Des Moines, Army

 to be announced, East Waterloo High School

 Sandi Mekanovic, West Waterloo High School, Air Force

 Brandon McGaughey, Central Iowa Sea Cadets

 Alexandria Gonzales, Sioux City Community High Schools, Air Force

60th Annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony

On a beautiful spring morning the 60th Annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony, sponsored by the SUVCW and MOLLUS, commemorating the 151st Anniversary of President Lincoln's death. took place at the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery Springfleld, lL at 10 AM on Saturday, April 16, 2016. All of the Allied Orders to the Grand Army of the Republic of the Republic were represented.  Department Commander Danny Krock placed a wreath on behalf of the Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  Ron Rittel placed a wreath on behalf of the Grenville M. Dodge Camp # 75 in memory of President Lincoln as well as to commemorate the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the Dodge Camp.  Marilyn Rittel placed a wreath from the Dodge Camp Auxiliary to the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Here's where first $6,500 Iowa History Fund award is going  April 11, 2016


DES MOINES, Iowa —Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday the first Iowa History Fund award will go to the Samuel Merrill mausoleum restoration project.

       The nonprofit uses private funds to promote historical projects around Iowa.

Some $6,500 is being given to the project to restore former Iowa Gov. Samuel Merrill's mausoleum in Woodland Cemetery in Des Moines.  He was governor from 1868-1872.  He died in 1899.

        "As a student of history, these are exactly the types of historical projects that I envisioned promoting through the Iowa History Fund," said Branstad in a news release. "I'm pleased that we are able to make this contribution today to restore the legacy and respect of Samuel Merrill, a former Iowa Governor and civil war veteran." 4/11/16


DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Iowa history buff got quite a surprise, two actually.

The first surprise: his devotion to repair a neglected piece of Iowa history just received the money it needs. The second surprise: his work also uncovered there was someone else buried in the damaged mausoleum.

        "Samuel Merrill was not alone," Jonas Cutler, Project Director for Patriot Outreach, said Monday morning. Merrill served as Iowa's seventh governor from 1868-1872, after a time as a Union army soldier and state legislator. Cutler said state records had shown Merrill was the only person entombed in a mausoleum in Des Moines' Woodland Cemetery. But Cutler said that after another history buff from California inquired on the whereabouts of Merrill's wife, Elizabeth, he decided to check out the mausoleum. Much to his surprise, he found a second body.

        "Elizabeth was in there with him," Cutler said, "We're going to correct a historical record."

Gov. Terry Branstad, a history lover himself, announced that his new foundation, the Iowa History Fund, will make its first official contribution by giving $6,500 to the project to restore the Merrills' grave site.

        Proceeds from Branstad's book, "Iowa's Record Setting Governor, The Terry Branstad Story," go to the fund, along with private donations.

Branstad said the fund contains $194,000. His staff estimates people have bought more than 3,000 copies of his book so far.


Samuel Merrill of McGregor, 7th Governor of Iowa 1868-1872


Merrill was commissioned Colonel of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment, serving in that regiment until seriously wounded in the hip at the Battle of Big Black River Bridge on the Big Black River in May 1863. He rejoined his regiment in January 1864, but the lingering effects of his hip wound forced him to terminate his military service the following June.


member of the Joe Hooker Post, Des Moines, Iowa

and the Crocker Post, Des Moines, Iowa

Grand Army of the Republic


...posting from April 2015.....


The recession of 1857 had left the state near bankruptcy. 

Governor Kirkwood pledged his land and fortune to equip the 1st and 2nd Iowa.  Samuel Merrill who ran a mercantile in MacGregor provided the money to purchase the woolen fabric to outfit Iowa's first two regiments. He became the Colonel of the 21st Iowa Infantry and  was seriously wounded at the Battle of Black River, 24 miles south of Vicksburg in May, 1863, reported as mortally wounded.  He resigned his commission as a result of his wounds and returned to Iowa.  Samuel Merrill became Iowa’s 7th Governor in 1867 and served two terms....

today, his final resting place is in desperate need of repair.....

Governor Merrill now rests abandoned in Woodland Cemetery, his mausoleum damaged due to decades of neglect and a falling oak tree. His monument has become home to opossums and raccoons instead of being the hallowed ground of a hero.

The restoration project is visible, low cost and doable.  Through the collaboration of talented and energetic people, together we will restore this monument leaving future generations a testimonial of our respect. 

Jonas Cutler

133rd Annual Encampment of the

Allied Orders of the Department of Iowa

The 133rd Annual Encampment of the Allied Orders of the Department of Iowa was held Saturday, April 2nd, at the Soldiers Memorial Hall in Hampton, Iowa.  A 9 am Flag raising was attended by both the SUVCW and the ASUVCW.  The SUVCW held their meeting in the Soldiers Memorial Hall while the ASUVCW met at the Maynes Grove Lodge, we had the honor of SUVCW Commander-in-Chief Eugene Mortorff attending.


Brother Jace Bloomer; Department GAR Highway Officer, Dan Rittel; and Department Chaplain, Dennis Sasse were awarded The Commander’s Award for outstanding service to the Department and to the Order.  Department Graves Registration Officer, Roy Linn was presented with a framed autograph by Iowa’s Civil War Governor, Samuel J. Kirkwood.

Memorial Services were held in the afternoon for Brothers Chuck Wilcox and

Vern Damgaard, attended by the SUVCW and ASUVCW.


The evening meal was partaken at the Maynes Grove Lodge and afterwards a program was given centered on the 1922 GAR National Encampment in Des Moines and the Last Surviving Civil War Veteran of Franklin County, the state of Iowa and the Nation.

Coins on Headstones


      Coins on the graves of those who rest at Rock Island National Cemetery, Arsenal Island (as with all cemeteries), have a distinct meaning. “We find many, many coins on the burial markers of the military. They are sentimental things,” says groundskeeper Scott Lamb.
      “The meaning depends on the denomination of the coin. It’s a message to the deceased service person’s family that some-one was there and that some-one cared.”
      Scott has a list of what the coins mean. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that someone visited. It could be a friend or relative or someone who served in the deceased’s outfit or with whom he shared a shelter half (tent) on bivouac.
      A nickel indicates that the visitor and the deceased trained together, basic training or boot camp. A dime indicates that they served in the same battle or encounter. Leaving a quarter at the grave tells the family — or someone — that the visitor was with the service person when they were killed.
      “We just leave the coins where they were left, and finally remove them. Years ago, we didn’t leave the pennies on the stone very long because they contained copper that would leave a stain on the marker. Now, after a while, we wedge the coins in the ground alongside the stone.”
      Grave News, Newsletter of the State Association for the Preservation of Iowa Cemeteries
          October, November, December 2015
On a similar note:
     Some people think graveyard and cemetery mean the same, but, if we want to be a little nitpicky, we should say that graveyard is a type of cemetery, but cemetery is usually not a graveyard. To understand the difference, we need a little bit of history.
     From about the 7th century, the process of burial was firmly in the hands of the Church (meaning the organization), and burying the dead was only allowed on the lands near a church (now referring to the building), the so-called churchyard. The part of the churchyard used for burial is called graveyard, an example of which you can see in the picture.
     As the population of Europe started to grow, the capacity of graveyards was no longer sufficient (the population of modern Europe is almost 40 times higher than it was in the 7th century). By the end of the 18th century, the unsustainability of church burials became apparent, and completely new places, independent of graveyards, were devised—and these were called cemeteries.
     The etymology of the two words is also quite intriguing. The origin of “graveyard” is rather obvious; it is a yard filled with graves. However, you might be surprised to hear that “grave” comes from Proto-Germanic *graban, meaning “to dig”, and is unrelated to “gravel”.
     Of course, the word “cemetery” did not appear out of the blue when graveyards started to burst at the seams. It comes from Old French cimetiere, which meant, well, graveyard. Nevertheless, the French word originally comes from Greek koimeterion, meaning “a sleeping place”. Isn’t that poetic?


Veterans Day 2015

Private William Painter

Company “H”, 29th Iowa Infantry

Red Oak, Iowa

At 2:30 pm on Veterans Day 2015, members of Co. B, 10th Iowa Infantry, SVR along with the Kinsman Camp Auxiliary conducted the Headstone Rededication Ceremony for William Painter at Red Oak, Iowa.  We had the honor of being accompanied by two of his descendants: Virginia Price,  Great Grand-daughter and Leslie Sutton,  Great-Great Grand-daughter.  Virginia and Leslie are both members of The Clara Barton Tent # 95, Department of California & Nevada, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War.  Virginia was presented the Service Flag of William Painter by Department Commander Krock.


William was born in Milton Pennsylvania on April 2, 1821.  He married Martha Woodson in Bloomfield, Illinois on February 11, 1847.  Their first child, Cassius, was born in 1848 and daughter, Mattie, in 1849. Tragically, Martha passed away a few days after Mattie was born.  William’s certain joy was suddenly overshadowed by grief.  He was totally unprepared to raise two infants on his own. 

          Mattie was given to Martha’s sister to be raised with her family and William’s brother, George expressed his wishes to raise Cassius.  The 1860 Federal Census Records show Cassius now 12, living with his father in Afton, Iowa, along with his new stepmother, Elizabeth Shuster Cantril, who married William on April 10, 1859.  Elizabeth had also been widowed and had a son named Simeon who was 5 years old.  Also living in the home was the couple’s first child, Samuel, age 3 months.


          Not long after the Civil War broke out, William, in spite of being 43 years old, enlisted to fight in the union’s cause on Aug. 9th 1862.  He was mustered in on Nov. 8, 1862 at Council Bluffs, Iowa as Private Painter, Company H, 29th Infantry Regiment, Iowa, Volunteers. He saw action at: the White River Expedition; Helena, Arkansas; Little Rock, Arkansas; Mobile, Alabama; and Spanish Fort, Alabama.


            After enlisting, he first went to Camp Dodge, Iowa for training.  While there, William wrote a poem to Samuel to attempt to explain his departure as well as to disseminate fatherly advice as to how he should live his life.



“Afton Iowa September 23d 1862

Samuel Kirkwood Painter


In the morning of this date

Your parent left you to your fate

To help our country in its rally

To drive treason from its valley

You a boy but 30 ½ months old

Then nothing to you was told

But with my image let me say

Before you run astray

That truth and right

Is surely not a blight

Then for a life of peace

In its policy buy a lease

It will make for you a home

And never let you roam

But keep you off the reefs

And make earth to you complete

And heaven with God your last retreat

Dodge Iowa November 12 1862

Wm Painter”


submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny E. Krock, Department Commander

Department of Iowa, SUVCW

Veterans Day Activities


Members of Kinsman Camp #23 and Auxiliary #23 took part in a pair of activities relating to Veterans Day on Saturday, November 7th. 


On Saturday morning, eight members of Co. B, 10th Iowa Vol. Inf., SVR, two members of Auxiliary #23, and four guests from the Historic Dodge House, took part in the 2015 Veterans Day Parade in Council Bluffs.  The parade route wended its way through the southern section of what was the old downtown/Haymarket Square area.  Participants ranged in age from

six to 85 years old.


This year's parade featured a recreation of the funeral cortege for General Dodge, who died in January of 1916.  Members participating were Capt. Carr, 2nd Lt. Sasse, Sgts. Kirshen and Rittel, Corp. Weeber, and Privates Boeck, Butcher, and Hancock.   Members from Auxiliary #23 were Bev Carr and Denise Sasse.


After the parade, the group dined at Duncan's Restaurant.  While there, a lady came to our table, and introduced herself.  She related that het Great-great-great-grandfather was the Orderly to Colonel William H. Kinsman, our Camp's namesake. She also formed us that he was one of the three men who traveled to Mississippi after the war to locate Kinsman's remains.


 Saturday evening, five members of Co. B., 10th Iowa, SVR and five members of Auxiliary #23 attended the Old Time Country Music Show and Veterans Tribute in Malvern, IA.  This group of musicians are very patriotic, and early on Saturday evening, give a tribute lasting about two hours to all veterans in the middle of their show.


Our unit acted as the Color Guard, as we have for the past three years.  Members participating were Capt. Carr, Sgts. Kirshen and Rittel, Corporal Weeber, and Private Cunningham, who served as our bugler.  Auliary #23 members present were Bev Carr, Cindy Cisick, Jeanie Kirshen, Jeanie Kirshen and Victoria Howard.  We recieved many compliments and

are requested to return next year.

submitted in F, C & L
Michael Carr, Capt. 10th Iowa SVR

Company D, 38th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment


On Monday, October 5, 2015, a Dedication Ceremony was held at the Winneshiek County Courthouse in Decorah on the occasion of a printed Roster of Company D, 38th Iowa Volunteer Infantry being presented to the people of Winneshiek County.  This family heirloom was given to Winneshiek County by Richard and Karen Malloy who had flown in from the state of Washington. Richard is a member of The Department of the Columbia which has members within Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.  His 2nd Great Grandfather was the Captain of Company D.  Company D, was also known as  "The Winneshiek Lincoln Guards".​


Department Commander Danny Krock performed the Ritual of Dedication and read the names of the forty men from Winneshiek County and surrounding area that did not return home.  It has probably been one hundred fifty years since those who gave their all have had their names spoken.


Barrows, Thomas. Age 28.  Bluffton, Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss


Bendickson, Bendick. Age 24.  Winneshiek County. Killed on picket Vicksburg, Miss.


Blair, James P. Age 32.  Fort Atkinson, Died of disease New Orleans, La.


Blair, William. Age 25.  Fort Atkinson, Died of disease Brownsville, Texas.


Brace, Aaron. Age 19,  Burr Oak, Died of disease Carrollton, La.


Burch, Perrie G. Age 31.  Fremont, Died of disease Carrollton, La.


Christofasen, Peter. Age 18.  Winneshiek County, Died Jefferson Barracks, Mo.


Collaton, Thomas. Age 40.  Decorah, Died of disease Decorah, Iowa.


Crestensen, Nels. Age 18.  Highland, Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss.


Ditmars, James. 42.  Fort Atkinson, Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss.


Dixon, John W. 34.  Burr. Oak, Died of disease New Orleans, La.


Engleson, Hans. 26.  Winneshiek County, Died of disease New Orleans, La.


Gallagher, John. 40.  Decorah, Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss.


Gallagher, John, Jr. 18. Decorah, Died of disease Decorah, Iowa


Georgeson, Peter 18.  Ossian; Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss.


Hanson, Gilbert. 21. Decorah, Died of disease Memphis, Tenn.


Hanson, Stein. 24. Winneshiek county Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss.


Heath, Ethelbert A.  29. Hesper, Died of disease Memphis, Tenn.


Hanson, Gilbert. 21. Decorah, Died of disease Memphis, Tenn.


Hanson, Stein. 24. Winneshiek County, Died of disease Vicksburg, Miss.


Hasfelt, Gustav. 27. Winona, Minn.,Died of disease Brownsville, Texas.


Hughes, David H. 32. Decorah, Died Port Hudson, La.


Iverson, John B. 19, Highland, Died of disease Port Hudson, La


Johnson Carl.  33. Winneshiek County, Died Jefferson Barracks, Mo.


Johnson John.  35. Winneshiek County, Died of disease Port Hudson, La.


Kirian, Jacob.  21. Calmar, Died of disease, Vicksburg, Miss.


Kirian, Kasper.  19. Calmar, Died of disease, Vicksburg, Miss.


Krethen, Peter.  26. Calmar, Died of disease Kenosha, Wis.


Larson, Christian.  27. Hesper, Died of disease Carrollton, La.


Livangood, William R.  30. Burr Oak, Died of disease, Burr Oak, Iowa.


Lockwood, Joseph H.  21. Fort Atkinson,Died of disease Carrollton, La.


Olsen, Byern.  25. Ossian, Died of disease Carrollton, La.


Olsen, Ingebright.  29. Winneshiek County, Died of disease, New Orleans. La.


Paulson, Jens.  23. Ossian, Died of disease, Vicksburg, Miss.


Peterson, Hans.  30. Glenwood, Died of disease, Vicksburg, Miss.


Scott, Ethan C.  21. Fremont Twp., Died of disease, Vicksburg, Miss.


Scott, Julius A.   19, Fremont Twp., Died of disease New Orleans, La.


Tostenson, Christian.  28. Decorah, Died of disease, on steamer "City of Memphis."


Waters, Edwin C.  35. Fort Atkinson, Died of disease Davenport, Iowa.


Wilber, John N. 37. Burr Oak, Died of disease, St. Louis, Mo.



submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny Krock, Department Commander

Department of Iowa

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

2015 Fall Monument

Rededication Tour


The Dept. of Iowa's attempt to have a ceremony in every Iowa county during the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War fell a bit short of its goal due to personnel shortages.


Nevertheless, Co. B, 10th Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry, SVR, soldiered on and completed more than their share of those ceremonies.  Over the past five years, members of the unit took part in thirty-five of these ceremonies, almost all of which were in western Iowa.


This, our last official “Tour”, covered Greene and Carroll counties on Saturday, and Guthrie, Audubon and Shelby counties on Sunday.  All but the ceremony in Audubon County was a re-dedication of a monument.  The ceremony in Audubon County was a “Last Soldier” ceremony.


Our first stop was in the cemetery at Jefferson, where were were assisted by Boy Scout Troop 534.  We were greeted by Mayor Craig Berry and a nice-sized crowd.  Ms. Barb Labate, member of American Legion Post #11 read the poem “When the Boys in Blue Are Gone.”


The re-dedication ceremony was carried out by Capt. Mike Carr, Commanding C   o. B, 10th Iowa, SVR, with 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse acting as Officer of the Day.  Mrs. Denise Sasse, the Auxilary's Chaplain performed that function during the ceremony..  Sgt. Dan Rittel acted as Master of ceremonies.  Several members of Auxiliary #23 were also present and assisted.


We were also honored to have Dept. Commander Danny Krock and wife Tammy with us, as well as Dept. Monuments Officer Tom Gard.


Although in need of a good cleaning (something the local citizens are planning on doing), the monument was in good shape, and the mayor admitted that he had more of an appreciation for it now that he was made aware of its significance.


At the ceremony in Carroll, we were honored by the presence of the the Camp's oldest member, James Grettenberg, who is just shy of his 95th birthday.  Mayor pro-tem Eric Jensen greeted us very warmly.  Although the crowd was small, the dozen or so members of American Legion Post #7 provided a full rifle squad and bugler. 


Bright and early on Sunday, we traveled to Guthrie Center, where we were greeted by Mayor Dan Kunkle and a rifle squad and bugler from American Legion Post #7.


Our next stop was Viola Township Cemetery in the northeast corner of Audubon County.  Sadly,  Audubon County doesn't have a Civil War monument, one of about a half-dozen counties in the state without one.  Therefore, we did the next best thing- we honored the very last Civil War veteran in the County, John Bonwell, who was over a hundred years old when he passed on.  One of the very few spectators, a 90-year old WW II veteran knew the deceased.


Our last stop was Harlan, Iowa in Shelby County.     This is a very large, beautifully kept monument on the south side of the Courthouse Square.  Here, again, the crowd was small, but we were honored to have members of American Legion Post #150 and VFW Post #941 assist with posting the colors.


Those who took part in our ceremonies from Co. B, 10th Iowa, SVR, were: Capt. Mike Carr, 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse, Sergeants. Dan Rittel, and Alan Kirshen, Corporals Roy Linn and John Weeber, and Privates Charles Boeck, Dave Hancock, John Butcher and Jim Grettenberg.  From Auxiliary #23: Mary Rittel, Denise Sasse, Jeanie Kirshen, and Bev Carr.


Submitted by Capt. Mike Carr







Guthrie Center









Living History at Indianola

End of the Civil War Celebration

Five members of Co. B, 10th Iowa, SVR, and three members of Auxiliary #23 attended the “Coming Home” event at the Warren County Fairgrounds on Sunday, Sept. 27th. The fairgrounds are situated on the site of Camp McClellan, a Civil War training camp.
We set up our display in the shade near the museum on a beautiful fall day. Although the crowd was pretty thin at times, we were kept busy showing our artifacts, which ranged from cannon balls to rifles to hard tack and a sewing kit. We also exhibited a book compiled by Pvt. Dave Burkett that lists all Iowa Civil War veterans. We were well received and had a great time.
Those who attended were Capt. Mike Carr and wife, Bev; 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse and wife Denise; Sgt. Alan Kirshen and wife Jeanie; Corp. Charles Boeck and Pvt. John Weeber.
submitted in F, C & L by Michael Carr, PDC

Carte de visite by P.H. Warner of Hopkinton, Iowa. On Nov. 17, 1865, in Hopkinton, Iowa, a crowd of soldiers and townspeople gathered to dedicate a monument to local men who had fallen during the war, including students who had attended Lenox Collegiate Institute. Peter H. Warner, a New York transplant who billed himself as an artist, druggist,, watchmaker and jeweler, photographed the event on camera. This historic Warner image commemorates the occasion.

The Lenox story is not complete without this anecdote, transcribed from page 256 of the History of Delaware County, Iowa, and Its People, Volume 1, by John F. Merry:

The first president of the institution was the Rev. Jerome Allen, Ph. D., who occupied the chair from 1859 to 1863 and for two additional years additional acted as financial agent and teacher of natural science and English literature … Next came the soldier president, the Rev. J.W. McKean, A.M., 1863-1864. One morning a recruiting officer attended chapel service and after a strong and noble appeal by President McKean for the young men to obey the call of President Lincoln to enlist in the army of the Union, he informed the students that a recruiting officer was present and all who wished to enlist should arise. All arose and enlisted but one and he was too young. The faculty and girl students were in tears and President McKean closed the tender scene by saying, "Well, boys, if all of you are going, I am going too." President McKean resigned May 6, 1864, and entered the army as captain of a company in which all but two of the students enlisted. The work of the institute was suspended till the fall term. July 9, 1864, Captain McKean died in the army at Memphis, Tenn. A fine monument on the college campus commemorates his name and the names of others who gave their lives for the preservation of the Union. This monument at a cost of over fifteen hundred dollars was dedicated November 17, 1865, which makes it the oldest monument in Iowa and probably in the entire United States erected by public subscription in honor of the soldiers of the Civil War.

courtesey of Robert Kennedy-Facebook

"Soldier’s Lot"
Aspen Grove Cemetery
Burlington, Iowa

August 2011

August 2015

August 10, 1821...Missouri is admitted to the Union as a slave state

August 10, 1861...Iowans receive their first Trial by Fire at Wilson’s Creek
August 10, 1894...Iowa Battle Flag Day observed in Des Moines
August 10, 1894...Soldier’s Lot Dedicated at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington
August 10, 2015...Soldier’s Lot Re-Dedicated at Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington


At 1 p.m. on August 10, 2015, Soldier’s Lot was Re-Dedicated.  With one hundred fifty in attendance, Mike Bloomer, of Burlington, told the story of his three year restoration of this final resting place for eighty-four Civil War Veterans.  The original forty by sixty foot lot of land was donated by the Aspen Grove Cemetery Board of Control in 1893, at the request of the Matthies Post #5, Department of Iowa, Grand Army of the Republic.  The request was to accommodate those Veterans who were indigent and would otherwise be placed in Potter’s Field.  This “Soldier’s Lot” is within view of the mausoleum of Brigadier General Corse and the grave of Brigadier General Karl  Matthies,

namesake of Post #5.  More land was added in later years.


In April of 2012, Michael Bloomer, a twenty-one year veteran of the Burlington Police Department along with his son Jace, a member of the Power-Dunlavy Camp at Bloomfield, began the fund raising needed to restore these Hallowed Grounds.  All of the stones were cleaned and straightened, fourteen new headstones were ordered and set.  The cannon tube, which was covered with twelve coats of aluminum paint was restored and placed on a Steen carriage.
The two bronze plaques containing the first and last verse of “The Bivouac of the Dead” were restored, each also having twelve coats of paint.  The Soldier Monument, placed by the GAR in 1912, was cleaned and the three bronze plaques removed and restored to pristine condition.  The bushes, weeds and broken fence have been removed and a new steel, powder-coated fence placed around the lot.  A new lighted flag pole has also been added as well as a granite bench.  Mike and Jace estimate they have spent from eight hundred to one thousand  hours on the restoration.


Speakers at the Re-Dedication were: Bob Reid, President of the Aspen Grove Cemetery Association; Mike Bloomer; Ned Fry, Command Sergeant Major, Iowa National Guard; Angela Beenken, Executive Director, Des Moines County Historical Society; Danny Krock, Department Commander, Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Reverend Orland Dial of  St. John’s AME Church.  The “National Anthem“, “Rally ‘Round the Flag” and “Taps” were played on trumpet, by Derrick Murphy.  The Honor Guard was provided by the Southeast Iowa Civil War Roundtable.


Department Commander Krock presented Mike with the “Commander’s Award” for his

inculcation of citizenship in this project.  The award read as follows:


 The Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Commander’s Award is hereby presented to
Michael Bloomer
for his Meritorious Service in restoring “Soldier’s Lot” at
Aspen Grove Cemetery. His commendable work in replacing and restoring the gravestones of those Patriots buried there, his restoration of the Monument, Plaques, Cannon and over-all beautification of these Hallowed Grounds will serve as a reminder of true Citizenship to this and future generations.
Those “Boys in Blue” who rest beneath these Fields of Green as well as the Membership of the Grand Army of the Republic would have been grateful and honored to be present here today.
Signed at Burlington, Iowa, on this Tenth day of August, in the
Two-Thousand and Fifteenth year of Our Lord and the Two Hundred and Thirty Nineth year of American Independence.

submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny Krock, Department Commander

Department of Iowa

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Last Soldier Project

The SUVCW is identifying and recognizing the “Last Soldier” in each
county in the United States. In Iowa, past Department Commander Ron
Rittel has done a great deal of research on this project. He has identified
the final Civil War soldier to pass in each of Iowa’s 99 counties. The
Department of Iowa will be providing a marker at the gravesite and
conducting a ceremony for each of these soldiers. This has already been
accomplished in Clarke, Decatur, Fayette, Greene, and Lucas counties.

The age or the last soldiers in Iowa’s 99 counties ranged from 87 to 103.
Most died in the late 1930’s or early 1940’s. The final one to pass was
James P. Martin of O’Brien County in 1949. One unusual occurrence was in
Lucas County where two soldiers died on the same day. It was decided to
honor both soldiers. The marker for Robert Killen of Lucas County is shown
along with relatives who attended a ceremony on August 23, 2014.
SUVCW member Mike Rowley is on the left.

In addition to honoring these soldiers, we hope that this will increase
interest in the Civil War throughout the state. We intend to contact
organizations and news outlets in these counties to generate interest and
local involvement.

Please see the link to the Iowa Grand Army website for detailed information
of the last soldier in each county based on Ron Rittel’s exhaustive
research. For the counties (identified above) where markers have been
placed, go to the link for Iowa Civil War Monuments.


submitted in F, C and L

by Tom Gaard

Department Memorials Officer

Decoration Day

May 30, 2015

Delhi, Iowa


The annual Decoration Day ceremony was held at the Upper Bay Settlement Church & Cemetery in rural Delaware County.  The ceremony is coordinated by the Upper Bay Cemetery Committee and includes members from the surrounding communities as well as participation by the American Legion Post 45 of Manchester and Robert Mitchell Camp #206 of Marion.


Due to strong winds this year, the ceremony was inside the 1873 church.  One of the speakers this year was Department of Iowa Commander Danny Krock who gave a brief history of Decoration
Day  as well as the reading of General Logan's General Order #11.  A reading was made of the names of area veterans who died during the Civil War and who are listed on the monument in the cemetery.  With the reading of each name, the bell in the new bell tower was rung.


As the ceremony concluded, all moved outside for the firing of the volleys by the American Legion Honor Guard, Civil War reenactors and the cannon of the Robert Mitchell Camp.


Flags were placed for all veterans in the cemetery.  After the ceremony, flowers were placed at the stones of veterans by those who attended.


submitted in F, C & L

by Dennis Gessaman

Memorial Sunday

Union Chapel Church

Ira, Iowa


On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Department Commander Danny Krock and

Department Patriotic Instructor Ron Deal conducted a Memorial Sunday Ritual during the

annual church service held at Union Chapel Church, Ira, Iowa.  Recognized during the ritual were the

Forty-Eight Veterans buried at the Union Chapel Cemetery,

Nineteen of which served during the Civil War.  There was an unfolding of the American Flag, the names of the Veterans were read and the Flag refolded, all to absolute silence.  Many of the family members were in attendance; we were asked if we would return again next year.


From 1910 through 1920 Members of the Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Veterans held Memorial Day Services at Union Chapel.  By 1918, only two of these Veterans remained. On March 9, 1918, a motion was passed that the Sons of Veterans be invited to meet with the Union Chapel Religious and Cemetery Association to arrange for the decoration of the graves of deceased soldiers. The Union Chapel Memorial Association resulted from that invitation. The Church closed soon after but has been maintained by the families.  Beginning in the 1990’s an Annual Memorial Day service has been held there.   


During my research of the Veterans buried or memorialized at Union Chapel, one unknown Civil War Veteran has been identified and when the regulations change, a stone will be ordered and he will finally be recognized, 2nd Lt. David D. Deselms, died March 10, 1871.

submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Danny Krock, Department Commander

Department of Iowa

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Adair Monument Ceremony


Saturday, May 23rd, Co. B, 10th Iowa, SVR was back in action as we dedicated a NEW Civil War monument, the first such in Adair County.  This particular monument was dedicated to Co. I, 29th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, many of whom came from the area.

Remarks were given by Mayor Larson of Adair.  This was followed by a poem, When the Boys in Blue are Gone, read by Auxiliary Chaplain Denise Sasse.

The ceremony was conducted by Capt. Mike Carr, assisted by 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse as Chaplain.  Sgt. Dan Rittel was Master of Ceremonies.  First Sgt. Jim Braden acted as the guard during the ceremony.

The Symbols of the Soldier were laid by Corp. Alan Kirshen.  Dept. Auxiliary President Mary Rittel, placed the wreath and Auxiliary member Jeanie Kirshen laid the white rose.

Pvt. Richard Cunningham played “taps” to conclude the ceremony.

We were assisted by members of ASUVCW #23.  Many thanks to Mayor Larson and the City of Adair, Camp #23, the Dept. of Iowa Sesquicentennial Committee and the 4th Military District, SVR for the funding.

Also present were Pvt. Dave Hancock and Dept. Monuments Officer Tom Gaard

Spring Monument Tour


Over the weekend of May 16th and 17th, members of Co. B, 10th Iowa V. I., SVR, held five ceremonies in NW Iowa to commemorate the end of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Saturday started off with thunderstorms, which did not bode well for our ceremonies.  Fortunately, the rain held off, although the clouds kept us in suspense. The ceremonies went off quite well, with 7 members of the unit and 4 members of ASUVCW #23 also in attendance, as well as DC Danny Krock and PDC Ron Rittel.


Our first ceremony was in Lyon County, and was a Last Soldier Ceremony for G. W. Lyon, with Sgt. Dan Rittel acting as Master of Ceremonies.  Two of Lyon’s descendants, Spencer Lyon and wife (from Arizona), and Rita Sehr, were present, with Mrs. Lyon laying a white rose.  .  Also present were PDC Ron Rittel, instigator of the Last Soldier project, and DC Danny Krock and wife, Tammy.  The ceremony opened with the singing of the National Anthem by Doug Robinson.  Doug Rentschler from the City of Inwood gave a greeting.  Corp. Alan Kirshen gave a short talk on the Northern Border Brigade, which was raised in this area.  ASUVCW member Denise Sasse then read the poem, When the Boys in Blue are Gone.  The ceremony was conducted by Capt, Mike Carr as Commander and 2nd Lt. Dennis Sasse, the unit chaplain.  Corporal John Weeber acted as the ceremonial guard, with Corp. Roy Linn laying the accoutrements at the stone.  To conclude the ceremony, members from American Legion posts #128, #310, and #561 fired the three traditional three volleys followed by Pvt. Charles Boeck playing taps


Our next stop was Dickinson County. We rededicated the Civil War monument in Lakeview Cemetery in Spirit Lake. It was originally dedicated in 1910. Due to a military funeral, the American Legion post was unable to attend as originally planned.  Sadly, this was the largest community we visited and had the least public attendance.  This ceremony, and the ones that followed, followed the basic format as that at Inwood.  ASUVCW member Linda Linn laid the white rose.


Our last stop of the day was in O’Brien County for a very special Last Soldier Ceremony. Waterman Cemetery SE of Sutherland, our ceremony honored James P. Martin, who was the very last Civil War veteran to die in Iowa in 1949 at age 102. He was active in the GAR, attending many national encampments and being appointed the last state Dept. Commander in 1947. Just an hour or so after the ceremony, the rain moved in again.


On Sunday, May 17, We were in Buena Vista County for a monument rededication ceremony at Newell, which is just east of Storm Lake.  Again, we had a nice crowd, with the American Legion Post #193 taking part.  Rod Rasmussen from Newell gave a few brief remarks, welcoming us to Newell and thanking our organization for their efforts.

Sunday afternoon, we visited Ida Grove for a gravestone ceremony, to honor Medal of Honor recipient George W. McWilliams, who served on the USS Pontoosuc during the battle at Fort Fisher, NC. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for actions from December 24, 1864 to February 22, 1865. during which action he was wounded severely. Despite high winds, the public came out to take part.  Local historian and childhood acquaintance of Landsman McWilliams, gave a brief biography of our honoree.  ASUVCW Dept. president Mary Rittel laid the wreath with Linda Linn again laying the white rose.

Again, we would like to thank Ida Grove’s Mayor Hurd for his welcome, for the participation of American Legion post #61 and the Second Battery, Iowa Light Artillery re-enactors from Sac City for their participation.

G. W. Lyon


Inwood, Iowa



Dickinson County

Spirit Lake, Iowa



James Martin

Iowa's Last Soldier

Sutherland, Iowa



Buena Vista


Newell, Iowa



George McWilliams

Medal of Honor


Ida Grove, Iowa



submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

Mike Carr, Captain, Co. B, 10th Iowa SVR

Company B, 10th Iowa Infantry SVR  gave living history demonstrations at Atlantic Middle School May 15. Participants were Dennis Sasse, Jim Braden, Mike Carr, Joyce and Glenn Kelly, and Jeannie and Alan Kirshen.

William John Pickerill Gravestone Dedication

April 19, 2015

Twelve members of Co. B, 10th Iowa Infantry SVR gathered at Graceland Cemetery at Avoca, Iowa on a very wet, blustery day to dedicate a new gravestone for Corporal William John Pickerill, 116th Indiana Infantry. Corporal Pickerill had never had a gravestone.  They were joined by six members of the ASUVCW #23, as well as about forty relatives, friends, and spectators, including members of the American Legion Post #227, who provided the rifle squad and Avoca Boy Scout Troop #97, who provided their Color Guard.


            Among the dignitaries present were Department of Iowa Commander Danny Krock, City Council Representative Sandra Peterson, and Pottawattamie County Director of Veteran Affairs Darlene McMartin.


            There were nine descendants of Corporal Pickerill present, who were introduced by his grand-daughter, Florence Pickerill Mass.


            Department Commander Danny Krock read William John Pickerill’s biography and service record.  The Gravestone Dedication Ceremony was moved to the Cemetery’s Committal Gazebo due to the inclement weather and was conducted by Captain Michael Carr, with William McAlpine, and Denise Sasse the Camp, and Auxiliary Chaplains participating as well.  Corporal Alan Kirshen acted as Master of Ceremonies.  1st Sergeant James Braden served as Officer of the Day, with Sergeant Dan Rittel placing the Symbols of the Soldier.  Corporal Pickerill’s grand-daughter Florence Pickerill Mass, laid a white rose during the ceremony.  Private David Hancock served as Bugler.


            A post-ceremony social hour was held at the Avoca/Newtown Historical Society Museum.  Many thanks to Mrs. Barb Butcher and the local historical and genealogical society for their kind assistance and hospitality. 



            William John Pickerill was born at Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana on October 26, 1846, the eldest son of George Edward Pickerill.   

            Two months short of his seventeenth birthday, William enlisted as a Private with Company B, 116th Indiana Infantry on August 8, 1863.  The 116th was organized at Lafayette and mustered in as a six month regiment. They first were assigned to Detroit, Michigan where they guarded the U. S. Arsenal. The 116th was then ordered to Nicholasville, Kentucky and moved to the Cumberland Gap, reaching there October 3. From there they moved to Tazewell, Morristown, and fought at Blue Springs, where the enemy was routed and driven for miles. The 116th Indiana took part in the battle at Walker's Ford, wading the river under heavy fire and taking a position commanding the approach through a gorge, where it held the enemy in check until the balance of the command had crossed the river. They were under fire from noon until 3 p. m., while this movement was taking place, and from that time until 5 o'clock were in a brisk skirmish with an entire brigade. The 116th was mustered out at Indianapolis in February 1864 and was discharged March 1, 1864.

            On January 24, 1865 William enlisted from Watterstown, Wisconsin into Company G, 47th Wisconsin as a Veteran Volunteer at the rank of Corporal.  The 47th Wisconsin was organized and mustered in at Madison on February 27, 1865. They were ordered to Louisville, Kentucky, thence to Nashville, Tennessee, and Tullahoma, Tennessee. They were assigned to guard the railroad at Tullahoma and the District of Middle Tennessee until September. The 47th was mustered out on September 4, 1865 at Nashville, Tennessee.  William Pickerill had accomplished all of this before reaching his nineteenth birthday.


            William followed farming as an occupation and later took up the barbers' trade and followed this trade to Western Iowa and Nebraska. He was also a well-known violin player and become a member of several well-known Nebraska orchestras.


            He married Millie E. McCuen, of Newton, Iowa on December 20, 1875 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  William and Millie became the parents of three sons; George William, Frederick John and Francis Marion, his obituary mentions a daughter Estella.  Millie passed away on January 31, 1919 after forty-three years of marriage.  William then made his home with his son Fred in Colorado. He died at St. Benedict Hospital in Sterling, Colorado on April 24,1931 at the age of 83 years.  He was one of two remaining members of the U. S. Grant G.A.R. post in Avoca.


            "Mr. Pickerill was a man who made friends easily and never missed an opportunity to pay his friends a short visit. He was ill but a few days and his sudden death came as a shock to many. One by one the members of the Grand Army of the Republic are being mustered out and taps sounded. In a few short years the "Boys in Blue" will be but a memory. Yet they played a most important part in making history and the United States."


            The following poem was included in Millie’s obituary:


The pains of death are past….Labor and sorrow cease

And life’s long warfare closed at last…..His soul is found in peace

Soldier in Christ! Well done…..Praise be thy new employ

And while eternal ages run….Rest in thy Savior’s joy


submitted in Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty

by Captain Michael Carr, Co. B, 10th Iowa SVR

               In Remembrance of the 150th Anniversary of                    President Lincoln's Death


Atlantic, Iowa, April 15, 2015.  At 7:00 pm, members of the Colonel William H. Kinsman Camp #23 & Auxiliary along with members of Company B, 10th Iowa Infantry SVR, gathered around the sixty-two foot granite Civil War Monument to Commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the Death of President Abraham Lincoln.

2nd Lieutenant Dennis Sasse of the 10th Iowa was Master of Ceremonies, Kinsman Camp Chaplain, William McCalpine led with a prayer, Denise Sasse, Chaplain of the Kinsman Camp # 23 Auxiliary spoke about Lincoln, the Grand Army of the Republic and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, Brother John Butcher laid the wreath.

Brothers Charles Boeck, and John Weber were the Honor Guard.

Also in attendance were Brothers Robert Boots & David Hancock.

submitted in F, C & L by Dennis Sasse, 2nd Lt., 10th Iowa SVR

Lincoln Remembered

For many throughout our country, the programs, projects and events to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil war ended on April 9th.  Some extended until April 14th.  For the Iowa Department SUVCW those observances would extend a day longer.
As April 15, 2015 was the 150th anniversary of the death of our 16th President it was important to Iowa Department Commander Danny Krock that this day did not go without a special observance.
So on this night as the sun began to set and its rays bounced off the broken clouds overhead, members of the Iowa Department, the Dodge camp, the women's auxiliary and even those from the S.A.R. came together to remember Lincoln, to remember veterans and to remember their families. 
Below the gold leafed dome of the Iowa Capitol, at the bottom of the main entrance steps near the monument of Lincoln and son Tad, the man was remembered more for being a son, a husband and a father than for Commander in Chief.  He was remembered as one who had to deal with extraordinary circumstances faced by many servicemen and women and their families who serve our country.
The stories shared and the period music selections chosen by Commander Krock and Mary Rittel gave those listening in the crowd an almost eerie sense of looking into the family home of the Lincolns during war time.
At the conclusion of the program I was able to introduce myself to a few folks in the crowd.  I was particularly impressed with one young man who stood alone.  I asked him what had brought him out on a night that threatened rain.  He told me that he was a history major.  He knew this was the anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln and just felt it was important to come here and remember.  He had no idea there would be others doing the same. Perhaps that is why we do these things and how we often see there are others who feel the same.
Among those present were Marilyn and Mary Rittel from the Women's auxiliary, Dodge Camp Commander Jeff Rasmussen, Last soldier project creator Ron Rittel, creator Tom Gaard, brother Daniel Rasmussen, and other guests.

submitted in F, C & L by Mike Rowley, photos by Marilyn Rittel


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