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Old graves, new stones

Civil War veterans to be honored with new markers at Oakland

November 17, 2010
By BILL SHEA Messenger staff writer

Up to 70 re-enactors clad in replica Civil War uniforms and dresses of that era will converge on Oakland Cemetery Saturday to honor two veterans of that conflict.

The group will dedicate new headstones on the graves of George P. Pierson and Carmi W. Walker during back-to-back ceremonies that will feature music, rifle salutes and a blast from a cannon.

The events, which are open to the public, will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the cemetery on North 15th Street.

''It's a very solemn dedication,'' said Jerry Rowe, the Fort Dodge historian who organized the event.

''We're just remembering the veterans,'' he added. ''I'm sure they didn't get proper recognition when they died.''

Pierson and Walker are among 247 Civil War veterans buried in the cemetery, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rowe, who along with his wife, Marva, did much of the research to get the cemetery on the National Register, has secured headstones for 12 other Civil War veterans.

Some of those veterans had no grave markers. Pierson and Walker had headstones, but they were badly deteroriated, Rowe said.

Pierson enlisted in Company F of the 98th Illinois Infantry Regiment on July 26, 1862. He was living in Louisville, Ill., at the time.

He was discharged from the unit on April 23, 1863. Pierson later moved to Fort Dodge, where he worked for 23 years as a plasterer. He died on Sept. 25, 1887. Pierson was married and had two daughters.

Walker, a native of upstate New York, moved to Illinois and then to Colorado during a gold rush there around 1860. In 1861, he enlisted in McLain's Independent Battery of the Colorado Light Artillery. He was discharged in August 1865. He moved to Fort Dodge in 1869. Walker, a painter, was married and had five daughters. He died in 1898.

Walker's great-great grandson, John Dewey, of California, will attend the ceremony. At his request, Walker's old headstone was saved so that he can keep it at his home.

Contact Bill Shea at (515) 573-2141 or



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