Cemetery was recently rescued from neglect by local historian Barbara B. Barksdale, who began the
Friends of Midland
That organization is the best source of information on the cemetery.
They can be contacted at the following address:
Upon the death of a veteran of the Civil War, the community would rally around the bereaved family, offering condolences, assistance and moral support. So highly esteemed were these men, as symbols of the triumph of union and freedom, that most enjoyed a minor celebrity status in their communities. Notice of their death was not infrequently announced by the tolling of courthouse bells, particularly as their numbers thinned with the passing of years.
Graveside ceremonies often involved an honor guard, and their burial site was often marked by an official government marker of a special design, as seen in the example at right for Charles W. Henderson.
The government-issue style marker of Charles Henderson, Company G, 127th United States Colored Infantry. A Charles Henderson is listed in Dauphin County, in "Upper Swatara" Township, in the 1870 census. Born in about 1841 or 1842 in Maryland, Henderson was about 22 years old when he joined the 127th USCT in 1864. This style of marker is the original permanent marker for those who died during the Civil War, adopted in 1873 by Secretary of War William Belknap. It replaced old frontier-style wooden headboards with rounded tops. Called the "Civil War type," the first markers, constructed of marble, measured 4 inches thick by 10 inches wide, by 12 inches high (above ground). This style was redesigned in 1902, to measure 4 inches thick by 12 inches wide by 39 inches high. This style of marker was originally intended only for known war dead, but in 1879, Congress authorized their use for the unmarked graves of veterans in private cemeteries. 1
Richard Johnson, who died on July 4, 1909 at 63 years of age, also served in the 127th, Company G. The National Park Service's Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System shows that Johnson was a private in that unit. His stone sits near the edge of the cemetery, in front of un-cleared brush.
Johnson died impoverished, and his remains were interred with the help of Peter Blackwell, Lloyd Polton and Charles W. Henderson, who applied to the county for a decent burial for this Civil War veteran.
► Right: Gravestone of
Richard Johnson, c1846-1909.
Because Richard Johnson died without funds for a decent burial, and no family members were available to provide for his burial, his friends and fellow veterans took steps to see that he received a proper burial.
Federal law stipulated that each county should provide the means to bury impoverished veterans. Steelton newspaper publisher Peter S. Blackwell and others filled out the necessary forms to ensure that Richard Johnson was given an honorable burial. A transcription of the official form, seen at left, follows.
"Application for Burial of Deceased Soldier,
Name, Richard Johnson
STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT
STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
1. Information about
government supplied grave markers was obtained from the web page
"History of Government Furnished Headstones and Markers"
by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, revised April
2001 at url http://www.cem.va.gov/hmhist.htm.
"Application for Burial of Deceased Soldier or Widow," in "Dauphin County Soldiers Burial Records 1885-1933," Microfilm roll #8878, Pennsylvania State Archives, Harrisburg, PA. Image researched and contributed by Calobe Jackson, Jr.
Midland Photo Galleries
Civil War Burials at
Names of Persons Buried at Midland
Special Feature ~ The People of Midland:
material on this page copyright 2005 Afrolumens Project.
The url of this page is http://www.afrolumens.org/rising_free/vetburial_app.html
This page was updated November 23, 2005.