Saturday, August 29, 2009

Grave Sites of Simeon and Stephen Gardner Found

The Septemeber 1, 2009 edition of Mohican News (Vol. XVII, No.17) features two articles that I want to blog on. The first, "Past Mohican Veterans Recognized," is about a "rededication of Civil War veterans" at the Woodlawn Cemetery in (the city of) Shawano, Wisconsin.

The article states that as of "[a] few years ago, Civil War veterans grave sites were unmarked or in a soldiers plot, group burial." Since Shawano has always been a predominantly "white" town, that statement is surprising: Is the Mohican News really saying that both white and Indian Civil War veterans from Shawano County were buried in unmarked graves? Is it saying that veterans of both races were buried together in a "group burial"?

I cannot tell you the answer to those questions. They only led me to scrutinize the article further and I think the News should also have been clearer on how many veterans who survived the Civil War were also in unmarked graves. They were, of course, young men when they returned and were likely to live long enough to purchase a gravestone and request to be buried with loved ones in Red Springs. (Other Stockbridge Indians who died in the late 1800's were buried in marked graves in the cemetery in Red Springs.) As a subscriber to Mohican News I wish more detail or explanation was provided.

Anyway, here's some of the "meat" of the article (these quotes are verbatim, that is, with grammatical errors):

"Through record searches, Mohican veterans, Simeon Gardner and Stephen Gardner, brothers were discovered and arrangements were made through the government to have their graves marked. Simeon Gardner received a new head stone, and now all Civil War grave sites located in the Woodlawn Cemetery will be marked."

"Simeon Gardner's grave had a musket with bayonet perched on and a Civil War backpack."
Maybe that is why Simeon Gardner's grave site "was used as the main point of representation of all 71 Civil War" veteran's grave sites in the re-dedication ceremony.

The ceremony in Shawano and the military history behind it, of course, are things for Gardner descendants and others to be proud of. We'll be hearing more about the Gardners in future posts. The same Stephen Gardner who fought in the Civil War also plays a prominent role in the church history of the Stockbridge Mohicans.

No comments :