Muscatine County, Iowa|
THE CIVIL WAR MEMORIAL AT GREENWOOD CEMETERY
THE STORY OF THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER
Compiled and submitted by Lynn McCleary, September 24, 2011
The Civil War Memorial at Greenwood Cemetery was created after the end the civil war, envisioned by the Young Ladies Loyal League of Muscatine in honor of the Union Soldiers who died defending their country. It was made by W.H. Simpson Marble Works of this city and cost $390.
At the time of its’ dedication the Muscatine Journal, April 29, 1867 explained that this special plot was created by carefully disinterring seventeen men who had no family lot here and brought them to this place. Their bodies were arranged in a circle around this eleven foot tall monument topped by the emblem of an American Eagle.
There was an eye-catching statement in the last paragraph of the article. It said:
“There is one grave in the lot not yet identified. It contains the remains of a soldier who was interred by his comrades while the 24th and 35 regiments were encamped at this place, and who neglected to leave the name with the sexton. As soon as it can be ascertained the appropriate inscription will be placed upon the monument.”
Time went by and all efforts failed to reveal the veteran’s identity. His marker was inscribed with the single word “Unknown”.
More years went by.
In the summer of 1897, a widow, then living in Ohio, came to Greenwood Cemetery to visit the grave of her husband. When she couldn’t find it she went to an old acquaintance, to ask for his assistance. He brought her to Miss Lou Dunsmore, President of the Loyal League, and presented the case.
Mrs. Tullis explained that her husband was a member of Co. C. 1st Iowa Infantry and that he was buried on July 4, 1861. She described circumstances of his death and the location of his grave by the fence. Like a flash, Miss Dunsmore remembered the events of the funeral and she had also been present at the time his body was moved to a place in the circle.
Further verification was found by a newspaper account of the funeral posted in the Weekly Journal, July 5, 1861: Death of a Volunteer. Smith H. Tullis, a member of Co. C, 1st Iowa Regiment, died of typhoid fever in the hospital at Keokuk and his body was brought to this place for burial on the steamer, Pomeroy. He was 23 years old and believed to be a resident of Wilton previous to enlisting. The various military companies assembled here for the celebration of the Fourth interred him with military honors in the city cemetery last evening.
The Evening Journal on Wed. April 20, 1898, joyfully announced “ UNKNOWN NO LONGER” with the comment:
Yet it seems strange that the name of the soldier occupying the only grave in our cemetery marked “Unknown” was the first Union Soldier buried in our cemetery and was followed to the grave by the largest procession ever seen in our city should be forgotten, his grave marked “unknown’ for 37 years.
The name of Smith Tullis was added to the Civil War Memorial and the word “Unknown” was banished from the soldiers’ circle. The Widow Tullis returned to her home with the inner peace that she located her husband’s body.
The Civil War Memorial is located in Ogilvie Addition, Block 11, Lots 72 & 73 ~ Click here to view
East side ~ Click here to view
Erected by the Young Ladies Loyal League of Muscatine as a tribute to Union Soldiers who died in defense of this country.West Side ~ Click here to view
John A. Kyrk, Capt. 35 inf. Co. A, ae 28ysNorth side ~ Click here to view
Chas. Hudson, Co. H, ae 21ys
James H. Howell, Co, C 16 (Inf.), ae 23ys
H. Rickenberg, Co. C, ae 30ys
John Mekey, Co. – , ae 22ys
A. Downey, Co.- , ae 26ys
John Tate, 7th Inf. Co. A, ae 47ysSouth side ~ Click here to view
John Watt, 24th Inf. Co. C, ae 23ys
N. Pulsipher, Co. K, ae 29ys
Geo. Tillett, Co. B, ae 19ys
Chas. W. Peck, Co.-, ae 17ys
Wm. D. Bird, IL 8th Cav. Co. H, 27ys 5ms
Robt. Lyons, 37th Inf. Co. I, ae 53ys
J. Thomson, Co. E, ae 52ys
Joseph Way, Co. B, ae 60ys
Jacob Schiller, 2 Cav. Co. A, ae 29ys
Geo. Haselmeyer, 9th Cav. Co. A, ae 26ys
Note: Smith H. Tullis, Co. C, ae 23ys has a stone in the circle but he is not listed on the monument.
Page created September 29, 2011 by Lynn McCleary
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