Share |

Veterans’ Headstone Project wraps up 2014 installations

The 2014 Veterans' Headstone Project (VPH) installations are now complete. On August 28, 15 headstones were installed at East Springfield UMC Cemetery, Beulah Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery.

This summer, 29 soldiers with service in the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War I were honored with replacement or supplemental headstones. The VHP has now completed a total of 60 headstone projects in LaGrange County with many more identified and in the “to do” file. In 2015 there are over 30 projects “on the wish list” for soldiers who served in the War of 1812, early Native American Wars, the Black Hawk War and the Civil War.  

The most recently installed headstones and markers were:

Greenwood Cemetery

Melanethon Hoff

Melanethon Hoff mustered in on November 22, 1861 to the 44th Indiana Infantry, CO H. He was discharged due to illness and disease on May 3, 1862 and he died June 3, 1863. He is buried next to his parents in Greenwood Cemetery in LaGrange.  Records reflected that Melanethon was issued a headstone in 1879 but nothing remained of it at his grave. Sure enough, as Chris Speicher dug the footing for the new headstone he found the remnants of the old one that had been broken off years ago. Pvt. Hoff’s new headstone will mark his last resting place for years to come and honor this young man for his service and sacrifice to our country during the Civil War.

John Lytle Vaughn

Pvt. John Lytle Vaughn has the distinction of being the first LaGrange County soldier to give his life in World War I. John, son of James and Sarah J. Vaughn, was born August 30, 1886 in Mongo. He entered service on September 20, 1917 at LaGrange. He was sent to Camp Taylor, Ky., then transferred to Camp Shelby, Miss., where he was assigned to Company B, 139th Machine Gun Battalion. He was later assigned to Headquarters Company, 148th Machine Gun Battalion. Pvt. Lytle embarked overseas in June 1918 for France. He drowned July 3, 1918 and his body was buried in "a little cemetery somewhere in France" by his comrades. In October 1920 John's body was returned home and buried in Greenwood Cemetery.  The Veterans’ Headstone Project had the great fortune to communicate with John’s great-grandniece, Karen Kletka. She provided the VHP with copies of articles originally printed in the LaGrange Standard in 1918 regarding John’s death. Karen writes, “John was a son of my great-great-grandparents, David Blair and Mary (Shepler) Vaughn.  My grandmother had these (the articles) stored in an old tin box I found, wrinkled and yellowed with age.”

Ephriam M. Hutchinson

Ephriam Hutchinson was born in Ohio in 1839. He mustered in to the 82nd Ohio Infantry, CO D in December 1861 and mustered out January 2, 1865. After the Civil War, Ephriam, his wife Martha, and their family came to LaGrange County where Ephriam engaged in farming. He died September 7, 1907 and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, LaGrange.

Beulah Cemetery

 George Washington Inks

Born in Holmes County, Ohio, on October 2, 1841, George Washington Inks migrated west with his family and was living near Wawaka in Noble County, Ind., when he enlisted to serve the Union and was assigned to the 12th IN Infantry, CO B, on August 12, 1862. He was wounded at the battle of Missionary Ridge in November 1863 but was able to return to duty.  He mustered out June 8, 1865 in Washington, D.C. George lived in Clearspring Township, LaGrange County, in the latter years of the 19th century with his first wife, Diantha Harding. George died November 9, 1908 and is buried in Beulah Cemetery.

Orin (Orrin) J. Harding

Orin (Orrin) J. Harding was born in St. Joseph County, Mich., on Christmas Day in 1846 to Thomas and Polly Harding. At age 18 he enlisted in Company M, MI 9th Cavalry on May 19, 1863, transferring to Battery L, 1st MI Light Artillery. Corporal Harding mustered out on August 22, 1865. On New Year’s Day 1867 Orin married Nancy Fleck in Clearspring Township, LaGrange County.  He died on December 15, 1870 and is buried in Beluah Cemetery.

Henry Harding

Henry Harding was born in 1845 in Indiana. He and his brother Charles both served in the 100th IN Infantry, CO C. In addition to Charles, there were two sisters, Octavia and Diantha – Di married George W. Inks who was also honored with a supplemental headstone in 2014.

Henry enlisted August 15, 1862 as a private and was promoted to full Corporal by the time he mustered out on June 8, 1865. He contracted measles during service and although he recovered, it left him with a chronic cough. He was married on December 23, 1866 to Adelia Price. They had one daughter, Anestrelle, born January 21, 1868. Henry died on March 18, 1868 and sadly, his baby daughter died 10 days later – only two months old. The family is buried in Beulah Cemetery.

East Springfield Cemetery

Harvey B. Hall

Harvey B. Hall was born about 1840 in New York, the son of Rufus and Clarissa Hall. He and his parents migrated to LaGrange County about 1848. Two sisters were born in Indiana, Lydia and Emma. 

Harvey enlisted in Company A, IN 21st Infantry on July 24, 1861. He was promoted to full Captain on November 21, 1863. The 21st reorganized from infantry to heavy artillery in February 1863. The 21st Indiana Infantry Regiment was also known as the “Jackass Regiment” and served primarily in the Trans-Mississippi Theater and the Gulf Coast states. Its nickname stemmed from the fact that the unit used hundreds of mules to transport supplies and material.

Harvey was severely wounded at the Battle of Baton Rouge in August 1862 – he died while in service on January 11, 1864. His brother Lucius sacrificed to save the Union, serving in the 78th New York Infantry.

Harvey is buried in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.

James Rawles

James Rawles was born in Kentucky about 1797. He and his second wife Frances Miller had at least eight children.   James served during the War of 1812 from Ross County, Ohio, in Wallace's Company of Ohio Militia during July-September of 1813. He died on January 30, 1853. In addition to his military service, James and his family were part of the first group of pioneer families to settle in what is now LaGrange County – his civil service included Sheriff of LaGrange County from 1843-1847. James is buried in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.                  

Anthony Rogers

Anthony Rogers enlisted in the 8th Regiment MI Cavalry, CO B, on December 30, 1862 as a blacksmith. He was promoted to full Quartermaster Sergeant on March 1, 1865 and mustered out at Pulaski, Tenn., on July 20, 1865. The 8th Regiment MI Calvalry was engaged in numerous battles, most notably the Battle of Franklin on November 30, 1864. Union casualties were at least 2,633 and Confederate losses in excess of 7,300. Following is Anthony Roger's obituary from the Steuben Republican - a moving tribute to this soldier:

Anthony Rogers was born at Orleans, New York, July 23, 1833, and died at his home in LaGrange County, Indiana, Dec. 18, 1901, aged 68 years, 4 months and 27 days. When but a babe his parents moved to Cook's Prairie, Michigan and from there to Butler, Branch County, where he remained until 18 years old, when he came to Indiana. Here he was married to Mary R. Newman, August 22, 1851. In the fall of 1862 he enlisted in Company B, 8th Michigan Cavalry and remained in the service until the close of the war. He leaves a wife and one child, Mrs. Ida Phillips, of Steuben County, two grandchildren, one great-grandchild, two brothers and one sister. He united with the Methodist church about 10 years ago and lived an earnest Christian life. His sufferings were very great, but with patience he awaited his release. He had selected his pallbearers from among his soldier friends, and requested to be wrapped in the folds of the flag he had loved so well. His funeral was conducted by Rev. A. G. Neal, of the Angola M. E. Church, at East Springfield on Friday, Dec. 20. — at East Springfield UMC, LaGrange County, IN.

John Spearow

John Spearow (aka Spearo, Spero) was born January 12, 1831 in Pennsylvania. He and his family came to Indiana prior to 1850. He married twice, first to Louisa Curtis and then to Anna Maybee. John mustered in to Company H of the 44th Indiana Infantry on November 22, 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862.  In and out of hospital, suffering from debilitating gastroenteritis, John was discharged on January 21, 1863 at Nashville, Tenn., and lived the remainder of his active days farming in LaGrange County.  He died in Noble County, Ind., on April 15, 1901 and is buried in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Israel Pray

Israel Pray was born in 1845 in Delaware County, Ohio. Prior to 1860 his parents, John and Charlotte, along with four siblings still living at home came to LaGrange County. On September 24, 1861, Israel enlisted in Company G of the 30th Indiana Infantry. His young life was cut short by illness and he died at Camp Nevin, Ky., on December 8, 1861 – aged 16 years. Camp Nevin was ravaged by disease with nearly 900 deaths attributed to illness.  Israel is buried in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Daniel Knight

Daniel Knight was born in Virginia on February 17, 1804. He, his wife Lucy, and their children migrated west and eventually settled on a farm in Milford Township, LaGrange County. Daniel enlisted in Company H of the 44th Indiana Infantry on November 22, 1861. He was discharged at Nashville, Tenn., on September 19, 1862 due to illness (a tribute to this man that he enlisted at age 57!). He enlisted again on December 16, 1863 to Company C of the 129th Indiana Infantry and served with that regiment until mustering out on March 28, 1865. Daniel is buried at East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Jeremiah Greenfield

Jeremiah Greenfield was born December 10, 1785 in Massachusetts. His parents migrated to Cayuga County, New York where he and his siblings were raised. Jeremiah married Mary Waldron in New York and it is believed that all their children were born there as well. The Greenfields arrived in LaGrange County prior to 1840. Their two daughters died in childhood and their son Daniel died from pneumonia at age 39.

Jeremiah is a veteran of the War of 1812, serving in a New York Militia during the first months of 1814. Jeremiah and Mary's son Delos served in the 88th Indiana Infantry, CO G, and perished at the Battle of Chickamauga on September 20, 1863. He is buried in the National Cemetery at Chattanooga, Tenn. 

Jeremiah is buried in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.

Earl Harris

Earl Harris was born in Garrett, DeKalb County, Ind., on September 30, 1886. On May 3, 1907 he married Katie Emerick in LaGrange County. When Earl enlisted for duty on June 5, 1917 with the U.S. Army during WWI, he was living near Stroh in LaGrange County and was working for the Wabash Portland Cement Company.

He died on November 7, 1918 at the age of 31. He is buried in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.


Charles Bixenstine

Charles Bixenstine enlisted on February 23, 1864 into the 152nd PA, 3rd Heavy Artillery, CO M, and mustered out on November 9, 1865 at Ft. Monroe, Virg. He and his wife Mary were residents of Springfield Twp., LaGrange County, sometime before 1880. Mary died on Valentine's Day 1891, leaving Charles alone (they had no children). On February 19, 1895 Charles was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers at Dayton, Ohio, transferring to the Marion Indiana Home on March 11, 1899. He died at the Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Marion, Ind., on May 1, 1910. His body was brought back to LaGrange County by friends Ralph and Frank Ashley, and laid to rest next to his wife Mary in East Springfield United Methodist Church Cemetery.