Become a Member

contact our Junior Vice Department Commander 

Alan Kirshen, JVDC 

P.O. Box 635

Red Oak, Iowa 51566  


Battlefield Flag and Monument Policy
As approved during the 136th National Encampment
Lansing, Michigan, 2017

WHEREAS, we, as the descendants of Union soldiers, sailors and marines and revenue cutter servicemen who, as members of the Grand Army of the Republic, met in joint reunions with Confederate veterans under both flags in the bond of unity.

WHEREAS, we, as members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War strongly condemn the use of any American or Confederate flag by any and all hate groups.

WHEREAS, we the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War strongly condemn the removal, defacement or destruction of any Civil War Veterans Monument or tablet, whether Union or confederate.

WHEREAS, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, support the flying of all U.S. and C.S.A. flags at our National Battlefield sites and to be honored publicly in museums as our authentic archival documentation of our National past.

THEREFORE, we, the members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War are committed to teaching the history of the American Civil War in our educational system and ask that all descendants of Civil War participants join us in this endeavor.

136th National Encampment of the Allied Orders

          The Department of Iowa was represented at the 2017 National Encampment of the Allied Orders by Department Monuments Officer Tom Gaard, Senior Vice Department Commander Danny Krock, Grenville M. Dodge Camp Commander Don McGuire and Curtis King Camp Commander Ken Lindblom.  The Encampment was held in Lansing, Michigan, August 10 - 12, and had the largest attendance in twenty years.


          Department Grand Army of the Republic Highway Officer Dan Rittel  received

the Meritorious Service Award for his accomplishments on the GAR Highway Project


Department Memorials Officer Tom Gaard  received

the Meritorious Service Award w/ Gold Star for his work on the Iowa Monuments


The Department of Iowa received

the Horace Greeley Award for Best Department/Camp Website.

       On Saturday, June 24, 2017, the Kinsman Camp #23 Guard Rededicated the Hancock Post Section at the Floyd Cemetery in Sioux City, Iowa.  The city has recently renovated and restored this section back to its original appearance and placed headstones for twenty Veterans which have lain in unmarked graves for many years. Those Veterans are as follows:

            Ralph Bailey                         Co. G, 2nd Michigan Cavalry

            John Brooks                          Co. C, 32nd Iowa Infantry

            George Brunswick                25th Colored Infantry            

            Thomas Christy                    Co. F, 32nd Iowa Infantry

            Henry Cole                            Co. G, 48th Wisconsin Infantry

            Adelbert Cone                       Co. H, 1st Wisconsin Heavy Artillery

            Thomas Wyatt Gage             Co. C, 1st New Hampshire Infantry

            James A. Garrington             Co. M, Regular Army, 6th Cavalry

            Henry Jackson Groves          Co. E, 8th Iowa Infantry

            Jacob Harmon                       Co. D, 1st Colorado Cavalry

            Jacob Hoxie                          Co. A, 20th Iowa Infantry

            Watson C. Leonard               Co. K, 65th New York Infantry

            J. Gratz Miles                       Co. F, 200th Pennsylvania Infantry

            John Obenchain                    Co. K, 48th Indiana Infantry

            Josiah Ramage                      Co. K, 5th Iowa Cavalry

            Lewis Ranck                         Co. H, 123rd Ohio Infantry

            Joel A. Rogers                      Co. B, 147th Illinois Infantry

           Thomas Strupper                   Co. I, 73rd Ohio Infantry

Last Soldier Project

        On Sunday, June 4, 2017, Department of Iowa members: Tom Gaard, Mike Rowley, Ron Rittel, Dan Rittel, Danny Krock and Auxiliary Member Marilyn Rittel traveled across five counties and performed the Last Soldier Ceremony for seven Veterans.  These men had been the Last Civil War Soldier in the County they resided in.  Beginning in Perry and ending in Oskaloosa, seven men were remembered.  Pictured above is the grave of Chester L. Dickinson - Last Soldier of Union County.  He served as a Private in Co. I, 6th Michigan Heavy Artillery.  He was a member of the  T. J. Potter Post No. 440, Creston, Iowa, Kearney Post No. 40, Oskaloosa, Iowa, and  Pitzer Post No. 55, Winterset, Iowa

Charles Sylvanus Curler   Last Soldier of Dallas County

Private, Co. I, 192nd  N. Y. Inf.

Redfield Post No. 26, Perry

Aaron Erastus Cleveland Last Soldier of Madison County

Private, Co. E, 1st Wisc Cav

Pitzer Post No. 55, Winterset

Charles Hester

Last Soldier of Warren County

Private, Co. I, 148th Ill Inf

Randolph Post No. 116, Indianola

Robert A. Millen

Last Soldier of Marion County

Private, Co. A, 33rd Iowa Inf

Member Taylor Post No. 317 Columbia

Harvey A. Bloomfield

Last Soldier of Monroe County

Private, Co. G, 21st  Mo Inf

Member Posts 138, 49, 452, 337, 40

Henry A. White

Last Soldier of Mahaska County

Private, Co. H, 184th N.Y. Inf

Member Kearny Post No. 40, Oskaloosa

Department of Iowa ROTC Program

Don McGuire, Camp Commander, Grenville M. Dodge Camp #75 presents the

SUVCW ROTC Award to Marcus Hill, ISU Air Force ROTC.


Department ROTC/JROTC Coordinator Mike Rowley reports that the Department of Iowa is on track to have 100% of the 14 programs participating for at least the 2nd straight year.

Civil War Fought by Boys

Page County Democrat, Clarinda, Iowa

Friday May 22, 1925


          The Veterans of the Civil War are still fondly spoken of as “boys”, “boys in blue.”  Year after year for sixty years still “boys.”  It has become almost as specialized as a designation of the soldiers of the Civil War, as senator, as alderman.  As age was to mean wisdom, the highest legislative body of old was at first actually and later theoretically, at least, composed of old men.  Senator, alderman, means simply, old man.

            So the boys in blue, who were only boys when in that blue, have stayed boys in affectionate address ever since, says the Manchester Union.  No succeeding war has carried that entitlement.  In current conversation we hear the soldiers of the World War spoken of as “soldiers”, “legionnaires”, even as “veterans”.  But seldom indeed as “boys”.  Just why is this? How did the soldiers of the Civil War gain and keep the name “boys”?

            Because they were boys, boys as the soldiers of none of our other wars were.  That war was fought by boys.  When the officer addressed them as “boys” he spoke a literal fact.  When the general before a charge cried “boys” he addressed a body that might have been assembled from school and college yards, and were so assembled.  There were majors and colonels under twenty. Charles Stoughton was colonel of a Vermont cavalry regiment at seventeen!  Boys they were and boys they remained in name and spirit and are still.

            There has always been a strange unaccountableness in the buoyancy of spirit of the soldier of the Civil War.  It was the last great war that was also a great spectacle, fought over an immense territory, with imposing marches, immense rides, and it caught the imagination as modern wars do not.  The dash of cavalry, the charge with the colors, has gone.  The Civil War was a great sporting event, fought by boys with the high spirits that they would fought a football game.

          Thanks to Linda Linn for discovering this article while searching obituaries for the Grave Registration Project.

134th Annual Encampment of the Department of Iowa


On Saturday, April 8, 2017, the Allied Orders of the Department of Iowa met for their 134th Annual Encampment at the American Legion Memorial Hall at Atlantic, Iowa.  During the Encampment, members of the newly formed Curtis King Camp #37 were presented their Charter by Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief Don Shaw and Department Commander Danny Krock.

The Department By-Laws were amended to reflect the National Articles and Regulations and respective General Orders.  Camp Commander Jeff Rasmussen, Grenville Dodge Camp #75 was elected Department Commander.

          Adnah David Bullock - Last Veteran of Cass County

On Friday, April 7, 2017, members of the Kinsman Camp #23 performed the Last Soldier Ceremony for Adnah David Bullock, the Last Civil War Veteran of Cass County.

       "May 30, 1941 was the 73rd observance of Memorial Day.  The Civil War was long past, one lone veteran of that war remained in this county; 33 years later, this Country went to war with Spain; 100 years ago we entered the War to End All Wars; we had been through the Great Depression; and, we were seven months from the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Memorial Day 1941, Adnah Bullock was here, to once again cherish tenderly the memory of our heroic dead and  to preserve and strengthen those kind and fraternal feelings which had bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress the late rebellion. May 30, 1941, Adnah Bullock was here, here for the last time. After the invocation, and the playing of “America’, by the Atlantic High School Band, cousins William and Robert Watson sang “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground”.  William Watson would serve during WWII.


       In the final General order of the Iowa Department, Grand Army of the Republic, Department Commander James P. Martin wrote: “One by one, my comrades have slipped away, so that now I can call no others together”. On the morning of July 28, 1938, Adnah David Bullock became the last Civil War Veteran in Cass County, all the others, had slipped away, he became the last personal link to a period of our Nation’s history and a generation which we’ll see no more.   

       We honor Adnah Bullock, who by the thinning of the ranks - became the last –the final representative, of all Civil War Veterans who made Cass County their home, who, one by one, were gone to narrow quarters with flag above.  I will be speaking on the life of Adnah Bullock, but his story could represent any of the other 167 known Civil War Veterans buried here in Atlantic, or the 100 others, in other cemeteries, across the county.

       Adnah David Bullock was born April 10, 1846, in Sherburne, New York, nearly 171 years ago.  He was the son of Wayne Bullock and Cornelia Skinner.  Adnah was the 2nd of 8 children born to that union; he was named after his father’s older brother, who had died 4 years earlier at the age of 27.  


       In 1856, Adnah’s older brother, Miles, had gone to live with their grandfather, Simeon Bullock.  The old gentleman was left alone on the farm as far as male help was concerned, his son Seth, Adnah’s uncle, had moved to Michigan in 1855. Three years later, at the age of 13, Adnah also went to live with his grandfather.  Adnah’s Mother died February 1, 1861, three weeks after giving birth to her 8th child. We can only hope that he was there to say good-bye when his mother passed.  His father married Euseba Tuttle, a widow with two young children, in December that same year.  She was a 3rd cousin to Louisa May Alcott, the author of “Little Women”.  The rest of Adnah’s siblings then came to live with their grandfather on the old family farm.  Grandpa Bullock was 81 years of age at the time, his daughter Diadama, was in fact the one running the farm.


       Aunt Di had never married. She kept school when a young woman and always made her home with her father and looked after her father and her sister Eliza who was quite helpless from the age of 13.  Aunt Di was a small woman and frail looking but was of wonderful activity and had great energy and endurance.  She seemed to have a sad look about her, with her sunken eyes, but there was always a twinkle within, and she always had the hint of a smile upon her face.  She had four or five of her brother’s children with her all the time and sometimes more; she was known as the “old maid that had so many children.”  Adnah grew to love her as he had his mother.


       In April of ’61, the Civil War broke out.  Adnah’s older brother, Miles, enlisted in Co. G, 61st N.Y. Infantry, on October 16, 1861.   Miles Wayne Bullock was an eight month child, weak and peevish and had to be carried on a pillow for his first six months and was unable to walk when two years old. He commenced going to school at six years but was not well or strong until the age of 16.  He had just turned 17 when he enlisted in the army.  Nine months later, on June 30, 1862, at the Battle of Glendale, the sixth day of the Seven Day Peninsula Campaign, while making a charge upon the enemy, Miles was fallen, having his hands and wrists broken.  He was taken to the hospital. While recuperating he lost the use of his fingers except forefingers and thumbs. Two months later he reported back for duty. The officer said, "I sent you home to die." Miles replied, "I can still pull a trigger, so here I am." He was discharged on September 16, 1862.   Miles returned home to further his education and help on the farm.  Grandpa Bullock died that winter, on January 13, 1863, at the age of 82.  In his later years, Adnah had a striking resemblance to his grandfather.


       On September 2, 1864, Adnah enlisted as a Private in Battery A, 1st New York Light Artillery under the command of Capt. Bates.  Miles reenlisted with him.  Battery A was ordered to Philadelphia by the Secretary of War to guard against riots. From that day until the battery was mustered out of service it was employed in Pennsylvania, on the borders to prevent raids into that state.  Adnah and Miles were discharged June 28, 1865 at the end of the war, at Elmira, New York. Adnah was now 19 years of age.  According to his discharge papers, Adnah was 5’ 5” tall, light complexion, brown hair, blue eyes and weighed 130 pounds.


       He returned to the old family farm and Aunt Diadama and there remained until 1869, when he said his good-byes and moved to Waukee, Iowa, and there operated a hardware store.  It was in Waukee he met Ella Fuller.  She and her family had come to Iowa from Palermo, New York.  Ella was born January 11, 1854, the daughter of Timothy and Alice Fuller.  Her mother died October 23, 1871,in Waukee, when Ella was 16.  Adnah and Ella were married four months later, on January 16, 1872, he was 27, she had just turned 17.  They remained in Waukee until 1876, when they moved to Rippey, Iowa.  In Rippey, the two of them ran a dry goods store.  Adnah’s younger brother Jesse had arrived from New York and became a partner in that store.


       It was at Rippey, on January 11, 1878, their only child, Wayne was born.  He was named after his grandfather, Adnah’s father, Wayne Bullock, and he was born on Ella’s twenty-fourth birthday.  In 1882, Adnah, Ella and four year old Wayne moved to Wiota, Iowa.  Brother Jesse Charles Bullock bought Adnah’s share in the store and stayed in Rippey.  Jesse married Nellie Johnson of Ft. Dodge, they had one son, Jesse Charles Bullock, Jr.   


       At Wiota, Adnah became a member of the Grand Army of the Republic joining the Meade Post # 50, located in Anita in 1896.  Wiota was a small town, population of 180 at the time.


       In 1898, Adnah moved to Anita, Iowa and there operated a dry goods store, along with his son, Wayne.  Of Adnah it was said: “His strict honesty and sterling qualities have built up a good business and he has a fine residence and property there.”  The Anita store was the largest in a 40-mile area. 


       Back in Rippey, Jesse’s wife, Nellie, died May 23, 1892, when Jess Jr. was 19 months. Jesse Sr. converted the dry goods store into a grocery; he died October 13, 1913.  The next spring, Jesse Jr. payed a visit at Uncle Ad’s and Aunt Ella’s’, he was on his way to Alaska, in search of gold. While in Alaska, the United States joined in the fight of World War 1.   Jesse Jr. was drafted into the Army; and being the next of kin, Uncle Ad and Aunt Ella received the telegram telling of Jesse’s death on October 18, 1918.


       Ad and Ella would have celebrated the end of the war and they would have been in the square on July 10, 1919, when the Cass County Soldiers Monument was dedicated. 


       On June 2, 1921, The Rippey newspaper ran a story that: For the purpose of remembering “Their Honored Dead”, the citizens of Rippey wish to create a Legion Park and within that park a large stone with four bronze tablets, each with the names of our veterans, so we keep them in our minds.”  We can well imagine Ad and Ella made a donation towards that park and the bronze tablets. The park was dedicated on November 7, 1926 with Governor John Hammill as the keynote speaker, I’m sure the Bullocks were there.


       Adnah’s son, Wayne, had two children, Wallace Orville and Max Adnah.  In 1925, Adnah and Wallace bought the L. Oransky and Son store in Atlantic. Wallace operated the Atlantic store, Adnah and Max operated the store in Anita until they sold it in 1927.


       On June 12, 1936, Doctor R. M. Needles was called to the Bullock residence.  Ella had been down and out for the past 10 days.  He returned on the 13th and again on the 14th, she was diagnosed with arterial and coronary sclerosis.  At 5:40 in the morning, on June 15, 1936, after 64 years of marriage, Ella died, she was 82.


       After Ella’s death, Adnah moved to Atlantic and lived with his son and daughter-in-law.  Of the 80 men who had once belonged to the Anita GAR Post, Adnah was the only one left, he joined the Sam Rice Post #6 in Atlantic in 1936,  with only three members left, the VFW began conducting the Memorial Day ceremony using the GAR Ritual.  Through attrition Adnah Bullock became the Post Commander and the last member of the Sam Rice Post.


       As the years, the lines had grown thinner, and the tramp of the columns, were with ever-lessening tread, the gaps in the picket lines grew wider every day. Details for the reserve summoned to the shadowy regions until by and by only a solitary sentinel stood guard, waiting for the bugle call from beyond.  Out of Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty…Honor and Duty, Adnah faithfully attended each Memorial Day, Independence Day and Armistice Day.  He had helped raise money for monuments and memorials, as well as for those Veterans that had fallen on hard times, he attended the Final Rites of many those Veteran Comrades buried here and elsewhere, until there were no more.


       Hamilton Campbell died in 1935, as did Bluford Scarlett, Bluford was the Last Confederate Veteran in Cass County; Bertrand Stauffer and Robert McGeehon died in 1936 and Robert Murray died in 1938.  Three years and three months later, at 4:15 in the morning of October 11, 1941, at the age of 95, Adnah David Bullock, answered the bugle call from beyond, gone to narrow quarters with flag above.


Robert Stewart McGeehon

"Uncle Mac"

          With the assistance of Dan Rittel, the Iowan in the “Mary Bowditch Forbes” video  has been identified as Robert Stewart McGeehon.  McGeehon was a member of the Sam Rice Post #6, Atlantic, Iowa, and can be seen at 3:30, 5:24 and 6:15 through 8:22 during the video.

          McGeehon was born May 18, 1839, near Enon Valley in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, the second of nine children.  He enlisted as a Private in Company “I”, 134th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry in July of 1862 and mustered into service on August 19.  They were taken to Harrisburg where they were given their uniforms and then sent to Washington for their first meal, two slices of dry bread and a pint cup of black coffee.  They laid in camp at Arlington Heights for some time and then forced marched to Antietam, arriving after the battle had ended.  From there they went to Fredericksburg, then Chancellorsville. At Fredericksburg while in support of a battery, they were ordered to charge the enemy.  They were told to lie down until the battery had fired and then charge.  Theirs was the last charge of the battle; he did not hear the order to fall back. When he “did” turn, a bullet struck his bayonet, knocking the rifle from his hand.  Running, he grabbed it and returned to the ranks. He was wounded at Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863, hastily brought into the line of battle, and under attack, while loading his rifle, he ran his ramrod through his right hand.   Reluctantly going, he was ordered to the hospital for two weeks.  Company “I”s term of enlistment expired and they were discharged at Harrisburg on May 26.  

          His service records list him as Stewart Robert McGeehon.  In his G.A.R. file is a card upon which he states: “My real name is Robert Stewart McGeehon, but when the officers made out the pay roll they got my name wrong and I went through the service as Stewart R. McGeehon”.  

           He came to Atlantic, Iowa in 1868 and became a carpenter, a trade which he had learned from his father.  McGeehon built many of the first homes in Atlantic.   In 1883, he open a grocery store, retiring in 1904, residing at 801 Poplar Street.  

          He was a member of the Iowa Division of the National Association of Civil War Musicians, playing the bass drum. They performed at the Iowa State Fair for many years and at several National Encampments of the Grand Army.  Just before the Parade at the 1935 Department Encampment at Waterloo, McGeehon suffered a foot injury at the hotel, which hampered his marching ability.  He was 96, and the oldest musician in the nation in 1935....While there have been many who were musicians during the war a goodly number of soldiers took up the fife and drum after being mustered out. A drummer quite familiar in Iowa for many years was "Uncle Mac" McGeehon, of Atlantic, who fell in love with the big bass drum after the close of the war. He was a prominent business man, but at the Iowa State fairs he was prominent with his "Old Soldiers Drum Corps." On account of his age and his long white beard he was a real feature. In 1936, on May 18, he passed his 97th year, but in June he played his bass drum at the encampment in Des Moines with all his old time vigor and enthusiasm. He answered the final roll call on August 10 of that year. We all knew how much "Uncle Mac" loved his bass drum; and in 1924 the national encampment was to be held in Boston the same week as the Iowa State fair. The drum corps had agreed to play at the fair but "Uncle Mac" wanted to go to Boston so he could visit his old home near by, so it was arranged for him to go but leave his drum. But he said if he went the old bass drum had to go along, and the drum went along. The National Drum Corps, with sixty-five members, marched in the Boston parade and there was but one from Iowa. He was placed on the outside of the line and on his big drum was the inscription, "Iowa Dept. G. A. R." The Boston papers in their account stated "what a fine drum corps Iowa had in the parade." "Uncle Mac" had the laugh on his comrades when he returned and told how much Iowa would have missed had he not taken his drum along....

          Robert McGeehon died August 10, 1936, and is buried at the Atlantic Cemetery, Atlantic, Iowa.  His funeral was conducted by the local American Legion Post under the direction of the WRC and the LGAR.  He was 97 years, 2 months and 2 days.

“There was something infinitely grand about this 97 year old veteran, who until the last few weeks went about his daily rounds of the city and was a familiar figure.  He was a living example of how fine a thing it is to grow old gracefully.  He was philosophical in his views of life and death and disposed to accept what the fates dealt out to him without complaint….We of the present generation have had a privilege generations to come will not enjoy, in that we have been permitted to personally know many of the men who laid down their future upon the altar of their county in 1861 and carried to a victorious close the most sanguinary struggle in the history of the world.”





McGeehon's drum is now

on display at the

Cass County Historical Museum

Griswold, Iowa

 Keokuk County Freedom Rock

What Cheer, Iowa

       Like many counties in Iowa they have some great Veteran stories ranging all the way back to the Civil War.  The front (road facing) side of this Freedom Rock features the GAR or Grand Army of the Republic. The GAR was a fraternal organization composed of the veterans of the Union Army, Navy, Marines and the Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War for the Northern/Federal forces. There were many GAR Veterans who settled back in Iowa after the war and Keokuk County was no exception. In fact, there was even one man who had the honor of escorting President Abraham Lincoln in and out of the capitol. After reading the stories and seeing the rock I knew I wanted to create a tribute to these heroes. I painted a Union soldier and an aged GAR Veteran with their GAR ribbon/medal between them. I think it turned out to be a powerful image along with a quote they often used

       On the back side is a tribute to some local Veterans who represent a few different eras of service. Ronald Shirlaw had distinguished service in both WWII and Korea. He earned the Silver Star, 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star and Prisoner of War Medal. Ronald was captured by communist forces after he was shot down over North Korea, and was held as a Prisoner of War until his release during Operation Big Switch at the end of the war. I represented Ronald by painting his photo and then behind him creating a POW scene with his plane crash landing in the background. Like most of my work it is not only for the local guys but also a nod to all those who were, and are, POW/MIA. Gary Ferns, a decorated Vietnam Veteran, retired after 21 years of service in the US Army as a Special Forces officer. He earned the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. I painted a photo of Gary along with a Green Beret in action and a Vietnam background. Emery Kerr was a medic in WWII and the photo I used of him was a photo of him in action in Sicily. This pic speaks volumes and it was sad to find out that he was killed in a crash not long after returning from the war while attending a relatives funeral.

       What Cheer is a town determined to not let their town fade away and is working on many projects including their impressive Opera House which is right next to the rock. You’ll have to make the trip to see this one and I hope you enjoy it.
Big thank you to our Veterans and those currently serving.. you are my inspiration.


Ray Sorensen

The Freedom Rock®


Grenville M. Dodge Camp #75

1916 - 100 Years - 2016

On Saturday, June 11, 2016, members of the Grenville M. Dodge Camp #75, Department of Iowa, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War as well as members of the of Dodge Auxiliary #8, celebrated 100 years of the Camp.  A pot luck dinner was held at the Elks Lodge in Clive, Iowa.  The Dodge Camp meets at 7 P.M. the Last Wednesday of the month at the Urbandale Public Library,

3520 86th Street, Urbandale, Iowa.

                                           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?


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


Print Print | Sitemap
© Department of Iowa Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War