Finding and upgrading old grave markers for Medal of Honor recipients
There are about 3,400 known graves spread across the US, Canada, and indeed the world for deceased recipients. But the location of about 100 of these have remained a mystery to MOH researchers for decades, and longer.
One of the goals of the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the US, of which I am a proud member, is to try and find these graves. Once found, we like to ensure the marker clearly displays the name of the veteran and his status as a MOH recipient. Sometimes this is most difficult as permission is necessary from family and the cemetery involved. When luck is on our side, we locate graves and have taken steps to have new markers erected where needed and permissions obtained. Often unveiling ceremonies are quite official, the firing of muskets and the laying of wreathes and attendance by senior military officials, the government and of course families. These include lots of pomp and ceremeony.
The above grave marker on the left, is that of Joseph Noils, a Nova Scotia born sailor and MOH recipient who saved a life of one of his drowning shipmates in the early 1870's. Until this year, his grave was lost to history, even though it is within a very few miles of the US Capital buildings. (More on him in a future blog.)
On the right is the grave marker of Denis (Dennis) Buckley, whom you read about briefly in yesterday's blog. (More also in a future blog.) This grave is located at Marrietta Georgia and was unveiled in quite a wonderful ceremony that was attended by representattives of the Canadian Government, at my request. We erected a similar marker in Ontario the following year.
I call these two markers my poster children because, side by side, little more needs to be said about the steps needed to bring these men the honour they have earned.
Of the very few known graves in Canada, two have just been verified over the past year. I am quite happy to say that the above society, myself, some great genealogical investigatiors and others all played a role in the detective work needed to confirm that the grave site is indeed the final resting place of the hero involved. Then many of these same parties have played a role in the organising of a new marker for one. It has been mounted but unfortuantely a ceremony has yet to take place. The creation of the second marker has been delayed by government action in the US, but difficulties are now sorted out and hopefully I can report soon that the marker will have arrived here on Canadian soil.
Details will be posted at the markers and memorials page of this site over the next 48 hrs.
(NOTE: Noil grave image courtesy of the Chicora Foundation Inc of Columbia SC. The Buckley image is courtesy of the 136th NY Infantry's historian John DuBois who was very much the driving force behind the locating and correcting of the Buckley grave in Georgia.)