Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

The US holiday Memorial Day was originally and is still intended as a day to honor women and men who gave their lives in military service. It has evolved to include a day of remembering all veterans and family and friends who have passed away also. Denver has a parade this morning, my home church, Grandview Covenant, has a service at the church cemetery. (Right: Entrance to Grandview Cemetery) Flowers adorn cemeteries, flags line streets and stand at graves of servicemen and women.
I don’t have many in my line who served in the military, although my Dad was in the Army. My 4th G Grandfather Thomas Ward (1759-1839) served in the Revolutionary War in the North Carolina Militia. He enlisted in 1777, as a Private in Capt. Cepon's Company, 1st NC Regiment, under Col. Thomas Clark. A Quaker, he's buried in the Friends Cemetery (left photo) in White River township, Winchester Co., Randolph, IN.
My GG Grandfather J.M. Pierce (1826-1865) died in Washington, D.C., at the end of the Civil War, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. He was with Sherman's "March to the Sea" and was with A Company Forage Men, whose duty it was to help get supplies from the territory in which they were located. As he said "they would kill the rebels by burning and stealing their crops and stealing their livestock". (Do a search of this blog for a posting (January) of three letters he wrote while in the war.)
Here are some graves stones I have scanned, I know my genealogy records and books contain more photos of tombstones but I’ve yet to scan them all.
The next four photos are all stones at Grandview Covenant Cemetery, rural Larchwood, Lyon County, IA
Left: My GG Grandparents Adolph & Greta Swanson

Right: My Grandparents Joe & Phoebe Johnson
Left: My brother Steve

Right: Johnson stones.
Left: At a reunion of Joe and Phoebe Johnson's descendants in 2005, we visited the Grandview Cemetery.

My G Grandparents, Charles and Anna Swanson are buried at Grandview Covenant Cemetery, rural Larchwood, IA
My GG Grandparents, Carl and Carolina Swanson are buried at the Lutheran Cemetery north of Canton, SD
My G Grandparents, Andrew and Albertina Johnson are buried at Grandview Covenant Cemetery, rural Larchwood, IA
I took a day trip in Eastern Iowa a few years ago to search out the graves of some of my Pierce relatives. I first went to Ackley, IA to find my GG Grandmother Sarah Wilson Pierce Watters and her second husband’s stones. (Her first husband was J. M. Pierce, of Ackley, IA, who died at the end of the Civil War and is pictured above.) When I drove in the cemetery I had no clue where the stone was. I parked the car and saw a caretaker talking with someone and he said wait a second and he would talk to me in a bit. I decided to move the car out of the lane and pulled over and got out of the car and guess who's stones I was standing in front of? Yep, Sarah (1830-1903) and Robert Watters (1841-1898). Robert had lived in Washington Co. IA until May of 1861 when he responded to his country's call and enlisted in the 8th IA Volunteer Infantry. He entered the ranks as a Private and after serving valiantly for 4 years, 7 months and 20 days, returned as a Corporal. In the Battle of Shiloh a ball went whizzing past his head so closely that it cut a track, he lanquished in a prison pen for seven long months and was released. About a year after the war he came to Ackley, IA, May 1966, and was fond of sitting down and recounting his army experiences with the Grand Army boys as often as opportunity permitted.
Then I drove down to Bevin’s Grove Cemetery, Liberty Township in Marshall County, IA., going off a map I pulled off the internet to get to the cemetery. Well I came over a hill from the south and was surprised at how fast I came upon the cemetery and missed the first driveway because I was driving so fast, so I quickly pulled into the second lane. As I stopped I noticed a parking area over to the north and thought of driving over there but someone was parked there so I decided to stay where I was and when I got out of the car guess who's stone I was standing in front of? Yep, the Pierce family! My GGG Grandmother Lydia Ward Pierce (1803-1880) is buried there. I got chills! Two cemeteries in one day and someone was showing me the way to the stones.
Lydia's husband, my GGG Grandfather Thomas Pierce (1800-1868), a quaker, died in Indiana and his tombstone also has Lydia's information on it at White River Friends Cemetery in Randolph, IN.


Anonymous said...

You may be interested to know, that R.H. Watters is listed on the Ackley Veteran's Memorial, which was recently dedicated in Ackley, Iowa. Eventually, we will be posting a picture of the memorial at From there, find the Veterans Memorial button.

Diane Johnson said...

I wonder if my GG Grandfather J.M. Pierce is also listed on the Ackley Veteran's Memorial?

Anonymous said...

I did not see that name. Was he a resident of Ackley at some time? And which war would he have served in?

Diane Johnson said...

So glad you checked back!
Yes, he was from Ackley when he enlisted. See the post Civil War letters in my January Listing for more information on him.
John Milton Pierce, 38, enlisted in Waterloo, Iowa on the 21st day of October, 1864 as a Private in Company B, 15th regiment of the Iowa Volunteers in the War of 1861. Post office address: Ackley, Hardin Co. Iowa. My e-mail is


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