Great Genealogy Stories

Great Genealogy Stories

Previously published by Julia M. Case and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links

A CIVIL WAR BURIAL by Derick S. Hartshorn, [email protected]

Several years ago, I set out to trace my wife's family. This was not a difficult task, due to the fact that they were, for the most part, confined to a small area in the Western Piedmont of North Carolina. Most folks in this area have an ancestor who participated in the Civil War (or, as they prefer hereabouts, the War of Northern Aggression). My wife's great-great- grandfather was no exception. Plenty of information was found in census and courthouse records. The state of North Carolina has an excellent archives with extensive war records. I had everything about Daniel C. WILSON except his death and burial.

Since he didn't appear on a death certificate (none recorded in North Carolina until 1913) or in any cemetery records, I was at a loss to determine his ultimate fate. Working backwards from 1913 through newspaper microfilm, I finally located his obituary in a newspaper dated 15 January 1911. It provided the cemetery name and I immediately drove there. Although the cemetery was small, I could not locate his gravestone. I used a steel rod to see if his marker was buried, but to no avail. Assuming his stone was either gone or never marked, I gathered his records together and petitioned the Veterans Administration for a marker. Several months later, the stone arrived and the planned dedication ceremony was scheduled. At the appointed time, a Confederate reenactment color guard, complete with ten-pound field piece, arrived and gave the traditional salute, complete with fife and drum corps.

Nearly two years passed before I was contacted by descendants of Daniel C. WILSON. From many parts of the country, they contacted me asking if it might be possible to hold a reunion. Several had seen the Web site that revolved around this valiant soldier, wounded severely in the head at Spotsylvania and held in a prison for over a year. Feeling that I was one of the very few folks who knew Private Wilson, I now have an extended family of several dozen folks who finally have come together to honor his memory.