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Friday, January 15, 2010

An Iowa Burying Ground

This appeared in the Chariton Patriot on October 28, 1891

     A few miles southeast of Russell is an obscure and rather neglected burying ground where the ivy angles up the yellowed and leaning marble shafts, with their moss covered bases, that mark the last resting places of many of Lucas County's early pioneers.  Here and there may be seen rugged mounds, covered with tufts of tall grass - the covering lies someone awaiting the judgment day - forgotten by friends who have drifted away, or perhaps, the last of his race.  This spot is sacred.  Six soldiers are buried here, the heroes of the four great American wars, who are awaiting the bugle for the eternal review.  One of 1776, three of 1812, one of 1846-48 and one of 1861-65.  William McKinley was a Revolutionary soldier, enlisting at the age of 16, was captured by the British and taken to Quebec where he was afterwards exchanged.  He died and was buried here nearly fifty years ago and is the early father of the multitudious McKinley Family and is believed to be the only Revolutionary soldier buried in this section.  Of the war of 1812 there are three - John May, Joseph McReynolds and Aaron Kendall.  The latter lived to be almost a centenarian and to see two generations of his grandchildren and was mustered out but little over a decade ago.  Peter Gittinger was admitted into the United States navy in 1838, and shipped in the Macedonia under Commodore Perry, from Annapolis, MD, for the coast of Africa in the suppression of the slave trade, and was transferred to the land forces during the period of the Mexican war, and afterwards stationed in California.  The only soldier of the rebellion buried here is Ed Hickox, a gallant soldier in the field who was cut down in peace by as incidious a foe as southern slave-holders-consumption.  So few in numbers, where is there a cemetery that better represents the war periods than this, and when the 30th of May rolls round again we will not forget this roll of honor, nor neglet to strew the flowers of spring upon their graves and moisten them with a tear, for
"On fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread.
And glory keeps the solemn round
The bivouac of the dead".
H.W. Gittinger
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