Friday, October 28, 2011

Long Lost Civil War Soldier

I have been on a mission to find a lost Civil War Soldier. A month ago I was contacted by a fellow in Arizona, Phil Pastoret, looking for his gr-gr-grandmother who supposedly was buried at Brownlee cemetery, according to her obit. Mary Ruth and I met with him, when he was here and went to Brownlee to witch out the graves. We asked him about his gr-grandparents. His gr-grandmother is buried in Wisconsin. He knew nothing about his gr-grandfather. The soldier's name was William M. Johnson. When we looked for him we found his obit, saying he was in the Chariton Cemetery (no stone).  But in the 3rd quarter newsletter I had put in an article about a Chariton man having 2 wives. This was him. So, it took us on a very interesting journey. The article indicated that when he went off to the Civil War he just didn't show back up. Now after indepth research we find that is not so and there is a longer, more amazing story which I hope to have in the 2nd quarter newsletter next year.

Anyway, we are having a get-together at the Chariton Cemetery on Veteran's day at 1:00 p.m. for anyone that can come. The Legion will have members there and they are going to have a short service, with TAPS. I went to the VA office here in Chariton and got a Civil War marker and a flag. Pass the word to anyone you think would be interested and if you can, come join us. Bill Howes from the paper will be there. The Lucas County Historical Society will use their camcorder to tape this. It should be very touching. If you have any thoughts or ideas, just send me an e-mail at This grave is straight down the road west from the main gate, before the first corner.

"For the first time in 110 years, a flag will fly on the unmarked grave, in the Chariton Cemetery, of Civil War soldier, William M. Johnson, on 11-11-2011, Veteran's day. William M. Johnson died August 4, 1901. Thru the efforts of William M. Johnson's great grandson, Phil Pastoret, and with the help of two local genealogists, Darlene Arnold and Mary Ruth Pierschbacher, this was accomplished. At 1:00 p.m. we will meet for the Legion presentation, and at 1:10, 110 years after his death, a flag will be put on his Civil War Marker and at 1:11 p.m. on 11-11-11 a flag will be blowing and we will honor this Civil War soldier."

Thanks, Darlene Arnold, Lucas County Genealogy Society


Bill Howes, from the Chariton Herald Patriot, wrote another article on November 10, 2011, with a photo.  The following are exerpts from this article along with the picture.

William Johnson's service to his country seemed to have gone unrecognized since the Iseminger American Legion Post, of which he was a member, held a military service for him following his death in August 1901.   Even though a service was held, no marker was put on his grave.

Johnson's military service and grave were recently tracked down by persistent and diligent work of two local genealogists, Darlene Arnold and Mary Ruth Pierschbacher.  Both are long time members of the Lucas County Genealogy Society.  Arnold recently put a Civil War marker on Johnson's grave to commemorate his service.

On Veteran's Day services were held at Johnson's gravesite.  The Chariton American Legion Post #102 did a short service then played Taps.  Arnold placed a flag on the Civil War marker on Johnson's grave.  Many residents from Chariton attended this ceremony.

Through the efforts of Pastoret along with Arnold and Pierschbacher the process of finding out about Johnson started when Pastoret contacted the genealogy group about finding Pastoret's great-great grandmother, Phoebe (Boylan) Johnson.  Phoebe is buried in Brownlee Cemetery just north of Williamson.

Arnold then looked up William's obituary in her archives of the Chariton Newspaper.  His obituary stated that he was a Civil War soldier and was buried in the Chariton Cemetery.  When Arnold and Pierschbacher looked at their cemetery book, Johnson's name wasn't in there.  So they then looked at the Chariton City Hall's records and they found him.

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