Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Union Army’

Remains of Civil War Veteran Rededicated at Sarahsville, Ohio

Funeral Procession arrives at Village View Cemetery.

Funeral Procession arrives at Village View Cemetery.

Village View Cemetery in Sarahsville, Ohio was the scene of the rededication of the remains of Pvt. Absalom (Abner) Robinson, Civil War veteran.  2013 was the 120th anniversary of Abner’s death and the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln’s well-known Gettysburg Address.

Robinson brothers arrived ready to help at original burial site.

Robinson brothers arrived ready to help at original burial site.

Actual preparation for the ceremony began earlier in the week when three great-great-grandsons of Pvt. Abner Robinson met on top a hill in East Union with township trustees and the local funeral home. They knew exactly where Abner Robinson had been buried as the tombstone was still on the hill. Seems that in 1893, Abner died after being struck in the eye by a rusty nail while helping with work on a barn. At that time they were not certain of the actual cause of death or what illness might be involved, so decided to bury Abner on top of a far away hill so he wouldn’t spread his possible disease, most likely tetanus, to anyone else.

Hardware from 1893 casket

Hardware from 1893 casket

Knowing the story, the family decided they would like Abner Robinson’s remains to be moved to their family plot. After digging by the tombstone, they found no sign of any remains. But when one of the relatives suggesting digging closer to the cedar tree, they made some exciting discoveries.   Not only did they find the original cedar casket, which was squashed to about eight inches, but inside they found several bones, part of the skull, and teeth. There were also hinges that still worked on the lid as well as other pieces of rusted metal.

The local funeral home, McVay-Perkins of Caldwell, took those body parts found in the 1893 casket, and put them in a pouch to be placed inside the new casket, which was made of cherry wood.

Hearse with Sons of Union Civil War Veterans and Governor Dollison

Hearse with Sons of Union Civil War Veterans and Governor Dollison

When approaching a distinguished gentleman in a top hat before the ceremony, I asked him if he would be so kind as to let me take his picture with the Sons of Union Veterans that were present. His answer surprised me, “You are speaking to Governor Dennison, the 23rd Governor of Ohio. Next thing you know women like you will be asking for the right to vote.” When asked about the Civil War, he freely expressed his opinion, “That was a war of southern rebellion, there was nothing civil about it.”

Two black Perchenon horses prepare for the procession.

Two black Percheron horses prepare for the procession.

The funeral hearse drawn by twin black Percheron horses and provided by Robert Baird of Troy, Ohio, started their route at the Sarahsville Center Free Methodist Church.  What a procession it was! Following the horse-drawn funeral carriage bearing Pvt. Robinson’s cherry casket, members of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War marched to the cadance of the fife and drum corps. Many descendents of Abner also walked the half mile road to Village View Cemetery in Sarahsville.

Abner Robinson (1836-1893) served as a Private in Company G, 62nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil war. Three of his brother, William, George, and John, were also members of the Union forces.  Abner’s unit saw active service in places such as Shenandoah Valley, Peninsula Campaign, Beaufort, Morris Island and Fair Oaks.

Many speakers participated in the graveside service, which lasted about an hour, before the casket covered with a 34 star flag, which was later given to the family. Family members presented a wreath in honor of all Union soldiers in the Civil War conflict

Governor Dennison rededicated Pvt. Robinson's remains.

Governor Dennison rededicated Pvt. Robinson’s remains.

One of the highlights was the speech by Robert W. Davis, portraying Governor William F Dennison. His main purpose was to rededicate the remains of Abner Robinson to their new resting place. However, Gov. Dennison also portrayed his role during the  Civil War by saying, “I will defend any slaves that come to Ohio with a bayonet.” His boldness was clearly expressed when he exclaimed, “All rebels should be hung.” When President Lincoln told the governor he needed 10,000 men, Gov. Dennison replied that he only had 18,000 men total, but within the week he had over 13,000 men marching into Columbus headquarters ready to fight.  He proclaimed, “We will keep this United States together until our last breath.”

21 gun salute ends the ceremony.

A three round rifle salute ends the ceremony.

The ceremony was brought to an end with a three round rifle salute by the color guard. A traditional fife rendition of Taps and a prayer concluded the events.

Abner’s life must have been a difficult one from his Civil War battles to the farm in McCleary, Ohio (now East Union). When he died, the copy of Probate Court papers declared that his amount of personal property would be about $2.00 and his real estate about $15.00. Have to imagine that the rededication of his remains was more expensive than anything he could possibly have imagined.

This ceremony held extra interest for this Gypsy since Pvt. Abner Robinson was the great-great-grandfather of my cousin’s husband, Jerry Robinson. Jerry is one of those pictured at the original grave site and helped with discovering the remains.

Following Morgan’s Raiders Trail 150 Years Later

Sketch of Brig Gen John Hunt Morgan

Sketch of Brig Gen John Hunt Morgan

During the Civil War, 150 years ago in July of 1863, Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan led a band of scoundrels, known as Morgan’s Raiders, through Ohio on a two week expedition consisting of many raids and robberies. Their purpose was to create terror and deviate the attention of the Union troops from Confederate forces.

The Ohio Historical Society has commemorated that John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail with 56 interpretive signs from Cincinnati to West Point in northeastern Ohio. Official dedication took place at the entry point into Ohio at Harrison in July of 2013, although planning has taken several years.

First Morgan's Trail sign in Guernsey County at Cumberland, Ohio

First Morgan’s Trail sign in Guernsey County at Cumberland, Ohio

Wanting to explore the local side of this route, my drive began in Cumberland, Ohio, which is the first place in Guernsey County, my home county, that Morgan’s Raiders appeared. Here in front of the old Cumberland High School is plaque #39, which begins the local trail of clever escapes by Morgan. Having invited themselves as dinner guests, Morgan’s men stole horses, cash, and even a guide before heading on to Point Pleasant (today’s Pleasant City).

Watch for signs like this to follow the trail easily.

Watch for signs like this to follow the trail easily. Former Pleasant City High School sits in the background.

Morgan’s Trail is well-marked with signs at frequent intervals so you can rest assured you are still on the correct route. Stories on the plaques tell about real events that happened near each marker and all contain a couple beautiful old pictures from Civil War days. Each sign also explains, in the lower left hand corner, the location of the next commemorative stop

At the corner of State Routes 313 and 285 in Senecaville, followers will find plaque #40. On July 24 at 3 am, Morgan’s men rode into the village boldly knocking on doors to find out local road information. Lucky for Morgan, Colonel William Wallace of the Ohio Infantry had received an erroneous report and hours earlier had moved from that very crossroads. Ever since the battle at Buffington Island, Brig. Gen. James Shackelford had been in hot pursuit of the Raiders and seemed to be closing the gap.

Interpretive sign #41 at Lore City trailhead.

Interpretive sign #41 at Lore City trailhead.

Campbell’s Station (today’s Lore City) had the most destruction of any place in Guernsey County with Shackelford being only seven miles behind. Located at the trailhead of the Guernsey Trail, #41 plaque area was the only one in Guernsey County that had been expanded with other information about the history of that area, as well as beautiful flowers.

At the edge of town on Old Mill Road, the battle at Washington (today’s Old Washington) is recognized. Sign #42 is near Cemetery Hill where Shackelford’s troops began firing on Morgan’s Raiders, who had spent the night in Washington. The officers had moved in, unwanted, to the American Hotel while others slept throughout the town, even in the streets. It came as a surprise that the plaque was not downtown with the 1927 monument to this skirmish.

Those four stops mark the route through Guernsey County, then the Trail guides you on toward Piedmont. By now you are beginning to get caught up in the thrill of the chase and to understand the lay of the territory they are crossing. Winding roads follow the Trail as best they possibly can, but Morgan’s Raiders attempted to travel through the woods quite often so the route is close, but can’t possibly be perfect.

Imagine the surprise and fear when up to 2000 Confederate soldiers arrived in one of these small towns along the way.  No wonder the unruly children were disciplined with the phrase: Morgan will get you!

Monument to honor Morgan's Raid erected by Carroll County Historical Society in 1868.

Monument to honor Morgan’s Raid erected by Carroll County Historical Society in 1868.

My original plan had been to follow Morgan’s Trail just through Guernsey County, but once caught up in following Morgan’s Raiders, it was impossible to stop before reaching the spot where Morgan was captured. Being led through Harrison, Monroe, Jefferson and Carroll counties, the posted signs by the Ohio Historical Society were  easy to follow.

With troop numbers diminishing at each spot, Morgan continued to use clever escape tactics as long as he could.  The Raiders might pretend to be Union soldiers, stir up dust to hide themselves, or give promises they could never fulfill.

The last few marked encounters led through rugged, gravel roads. As you slowed down on these rutted and often muddy roads, you could almost feel the weariness of the troops.

End of Trail near West Point, Ohio

End of Trail near West Point, Ohio

Finally, Morgan’s Trail, with plaque #56 entitled West End, came to an end in someone’s front yard where a monument had also been placed years ago. Morgan had tried his best to get back to cross the Ohio River and he was getting so close. Minutes later, I saw the beautiful Ohio River and felt a little sympathy for Morgan’s never reaching it.

The Heritage Trail from Cumberland to West End took Morgan’s Raiders four days from July 23 – July 26. By car, it took about eight and a half hours and I didn’t steal any horses, demand any dinners, or burn any buildings. They must have been worn out to have covered all that territory so quickly on horseback.

Even though he was captured for the moment, his cleverness helped him escape prison and travel unknowingly with a Union soldier on a train back home. Despite the chaos and destruction left behind, he taught the importance of never giving up in your quest to reach a goal.

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