Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

St. Louis Trip, Day 2 - Saturday, July 25, 2015
The site I most wanted to see in St. Louis was my great great great uncle Philander Lockard's grave.  Philander and his brother John both volunteered for the Union army during the Civil War.  Philander died at age 24 of typhoid in St. Louis on December 8th, 1861.  John, 25 years old, was wounded April 6th, 1862 during the Battle of Shiloh, and died on May 25th in Waterloo, Iowa on his way back home. 
The gravestone where John is buried at one of our local family cemeteries commemorates both him and his brother Philander, and I had always thought they were both buried there.  But upon further research, I found that Philander was actually buried at Jefferson Barracks.

You may notice that his name is spelled incorrectly as "Lockhart" on the gravestone.  The cemetery office was not open for complaints while we were there, but after having his name misspelled for the last 154 years, I doubt if he minds too much.  It was shocking and saddening how many stones from the same time frame are marked "Unknown, U.S. Soldier."  We are very fortunate to know the fate of our family members, however sad.
War is a terrible thing, taking the lives of young men (and now also women) at their prime.  John and Philander had no families of their own.  My great great great grandfather, Ira Lockard, born in 1856, was only a small child at the time of his brothers' deaths.
Above are their parents, William Lockard (1814-1895) and Elizabeth Steinbarger Lockard (1817-1890).  The whole family moved to Iowa in 1850 and built their own log cabin.  You may notice the sadness (stronger than the usual sobriety in older portraits) in Elizabeth's face.  The Lockards were very successful farmers, but besides losing John and Philander, they lost their only daughter, Mary, who died at age 15, and two infant sons Philip and Isaac.  Only Ira Sanford, George Washington (1844-1907), and Thomas Jefferson Lockard survived.  
I do wish we had photos of John and Philander.  It would be nice if we could read the letters that must have been exchanged between the family members during the Civil War, so we could know what they actually thought at the time.

Why did my family choose to fight for the Union?  Was it simply because they were Iowans, or did they have deeper reasons?  Could the Civil War have been avoided?  I have a lot of questions.  I'm sure my grandpa Ira had a lot of questions as a 5-year-old when his brothers left and never returned alive.  But for now, I must be content with visiting their graves and honoring their memory and sacrifice.
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery is a remarkable, awe-inspiring place.  It is well-maintained, and part of it overlooks the Mississippi River.  Among the graves we saw deer nibbling on the grass and fledglings lighting on the stones.  I have visited a lot of cemeteries, but have never seen so many stones, commemorating veterans from so many wars, perfectly aligned, in one location.  Many have served, and many have given their all to preserve our nation.

"Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it." 
--John Adams

54 comments:

  1. Very interesting commentary! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Bethany it definitely well- nmaintained cementary. And completely different from Europeans. It is a wise idea to know our roots and ancestors. Have a sunny weekend. In Europe is a fantastic anmd warm summer

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    1. Glad to hear! We had quite the rainfall this weekend, but this week it is warming up again, and today was pretty nice weather.

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  3. I am quite moved to shed tears for their sacrifice and I am not even an American but they died for the cause of freedom and I gladly honor this. The view of all those headstones is almost unbelievable.

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    1. It was amazing. I had never seen a cemetery like that in person before.

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  4. My dear Bethany, what a touching post....it brought tears to my eyes. Like you, I have many questions and often wonder why something like this happened when it could have been avoided. Thank you for sharing. Hugs to you!

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  5. very sad so many families sacrificed so much on both sides of that terrible war.

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    1. Yes, true. The Civil War was particularly sad because it divided some families.

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  6. Oh Bethany, what a beautiful post and so very touching. Thank you for sharing a little of your history with us. Blessings... :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting. Blessings to you as well!

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  7. What a beautiful and touching post. The same thing crossed my mind before I read your words to that photo: "shocking and saddening how many stones from the same time frame are marked "Unknown, U.S. Soldier." So tragic. And war? So senseless. My wish is that this world will eventually be completely at peace.

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    1. It is terrible how there always seems to be some war going on somewhere. Peace is a wonderful thing.

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  8. What a sad thing. I can't imagine losing so many children. Seeing the unknown soldier headstones is also sad. Those cemeteries are very touching. This one is very well kept up - as it should be!

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    1. Losing 5 children must have been devastating! Most families these days don't even have that many children.

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  9. Thanks for this post, Bethany. Knowing some of your family history helps me to appreciate the sacrifice of life for our freedom in a more personal way. Our Oregon Public Broadcasting is presenting Ken Burn's "The Civil War" September 7-11. War brings home how much we need the Lord's peace that passes all understanding.

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    1. Ah, the Ashokan Farewell music from Burn's Civil War is beautiful! War is sad and a terrible thing. May the Lord bless you with His joy and peace.

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  10. This is really awesomely neat! i find it super cool that your ancestors served, as mind hadn't come to this country yet. The many unknown graves are so sad. What a great reminder of the cost of war.

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    1. I have really enjoyed studying my family history. On the one side, my mother and grandmother were born in Thailand, and on the other side I even have ancestors who fought in the Revolution.

      I think it would be good for everyone to visit cemeteries once in a while.

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  11. How interesting to know so much of your family history, though sit is a somewhat sad story. It's neat that you were able to find your relative's true grave site! Good job on your research.
    What a powerful quote you chose from John Adams! Also, those are beautiful photos of the cemetery.

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  12. Bethany, a very touching post. War is a very sad thing.

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  13. Oh, Bethany...I did 'enjoy' reading this...it is well written. It is just so sad...it is hard to imagine losing that many of your children. I would find it hard to go on living...

    I don't even know whose side of the war my family was on...and I always wonder what I would have felt had I lived back then.

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    1. I do wonder if any of my relatives fought for the Confederacy. The Lockards and the Carsons were on the Union side, but the Collins/Berry side of my family lived in Kentucky at the time, where they could have been on either side. My Kentuckian Great-great-great-Grandpa Will Collins was born in 1840, so he would have been just the right age to have been involved in the war. It would be interesting to find out.

      They do say the worst thing that can happen to a parent is to lose a child. Losing 5 children must have been tough. Losing two as infants was bad enough, but to lose a teenage daughter...and to have two grown sons die while off to war would be painful. I think of Susanna Wesley who had 19 (!) children, only 10 of whom lived to maturity. It must have been hard to be a parent back then!

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  14. What a special thing to be able to trace your historical roots. Well written post, Bethany.
    <3 Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen! Love ya--looking forward to your upcoming violin recital!! :)

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  15. A lovely tribute to your family Bethany. We visited a national cemetery near Rapid City SD and it was a beautiful military cemetery too.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Felicia. I'm glad you got to visit a national cemetery. I've only been into South Dakota once--just over the border for a brief time, so I could say I've been there. :)

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  16. What a tugging at the heart post. To read the sacrifices those men in your family gave for our freedom. I loved this post. And your photo alongside your kin....just too awesome for words.

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    1. I wonder how much I would look like my great great great grandmother in the picture if I fixed my hair similarly and wore a similar facial expression.

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  17. It's so amazing that you know so much about your family's history and that you got to visit those graves. Thank you for sharing the very interesting stories with us!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Beate! I am blessed to know as much as I do about my family.

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  18. I know what you mean about visiting a cemetery like this with rows and rows of perfectly aligned markers. It's very moving. The first one I ever saw was the American Cemetery in Luxembourg. Gen. George Patton is buried there along with hundreds of other service men. I'm glad you were able to visit the grave of your family member in St. Louis.
    Have a great week!

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    1. That must have been an impressive cemetery to visit. Have a good week as well.

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  19. Thanks so much for sharing some of your family history Bethany. It is just fascinating (and astounding) to me how many lives were lost in that war. Such strong feelings over their different beliefs where sometimes brother fought brother. Just crazy to me. The photos of all of those headstones is impressive and so sad at the same time. A time in our history we should never forget - and hopefully never repeat!!! xoxo

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    1. The Civil War must have been one of the saddest times in the history of our nation.

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  20. How interesting that you've been able to trace your family's history back that far! My family seems to be relatively "new" as Europeans immigrants go, from what I've heard, most of my ancestors arrived in the USA around 1900.
    I like visiting old cemeteries, but it is sad how many children especially died in past centuries--living to adulthood was much harder.

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    1. Yes, it was. Life was tough for the early settlers--as well as for most everyone else. People had to survive (or try to) without all of our nice modern conveniences.

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  21. It is very sad to go in such places. You are an Hero!

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  22. Thanks for sharing this Bethany, I have found many similar stories in my own ancestry..it always fuels my desire to know more. Have a safe holiday weekend!

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    1. I think knowledge does work that way a lot of times. The more we know, the more we realize how much we still don't know, and the more we want to learn.

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  23. Olá amiga, vim desejar-lhe um abençoado início de mês, e lindos dias
    de outono que se aproxima!
    Que bela recordação...amo suas postagens!

    Doce abraço Marie.

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  24. Bethany, your posts are always so inspiring and beautiful! Thank you for sharing this with your readers...God bless!!

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  25. It is very interesting to know about the past of your relatives. The John Adams quote suits very good to your post. The cemetery is impresive. I think that History of America is worth to be read. Have a good day!

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    1. American history is a fascinating study. You have a great day as well.

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  26. These kinds of places are so rich with history and feeling. I visited some of the WW1 grave sites in Turkey - remarkable experience.

    Hope all is well.

    Stewart M - Melblourme

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    1. I'm sure those cemeteries must have been interesting to see!

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  27. Hi Bethany, The thing that caught my attention in this post is misspelling of your relative's name on the gravestone. I wonder how often that happens and how it affects our ability to track back in history? As you will know, only one letter wrong in a computer search may keep a computer from finding what you are looking for. Your reports from this trip are quite interesting!

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    1. Yes, misspellings can be tricky. Fortunately, my relative's first name is uncommon, so searching "Philander" as the first name in the veterans' cemetery database and "Lock" as the start of the surname, yields the right results.

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