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Michigan woman leads drive for Civil War graves

May 27. 2013 3:44PM
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HARRISVILLE, Mich. — Three Civil War veterans in northern Michigan finally have markings for their graves this Memorial Day, thanks to the efforts of a woman whose quest began with interest in one of her own ancestors.

Markers now are in place on the Alpena County graves of Edwin R. Wyman, Augustus Johnrowe and William H. Egle, according to The Alpena News. Each grave has a flag holder representing the Grand Army of the Republic, the fraternal organization for Civil War veterans.

Marcia Simmons of Harrisville led efforts to gain recognition for the veterans.

“My role was to locate the unmarked gravesites and a descendent, to obtain documentation of the soldier’s service and to coordinate the other components involved in the application process to the Veterans Association,” Simmons said. “The application requires the signature of a family descendent, the cemetery manager, and provision of a place of delivery for the new stone.”

Wyman, alive from 1847 to 1924, was originally of Kingsbury, Maine. He was a private in the 9th Maine Infantry from September 1864 to July 1865, Simmons found, and moved to Alpena County around 1873 to farm Wyman held several township offices and eventually moved to Alpena, where he worked as a partner in Wyman & Legatske Barbers. While in Alpena, he also served several years as a ward alderman, and worked as a janitor.

Egle served as a private in Co. C, 23 Michigan Infantry from July 1862 to June 1865, Simmons said. The 1843-born Egle was a blacksmith in Genesee County before obtained a Homestead Land Grant for 40 acres in Wilson Township in 1889 and farming. He died in 1918.

Johnrowe was born in 1844 in France and moved to the Detroit area as a child. He was a private in the 1st Michigan Engineers and Mechanics, was promoted to mechanic and served from December 1863 to September 1865. Afterward, he came to Alpena and worked in the lumber business for 13 years before entering the grocery business. Johnrowe died in 1927.

Simmons’ interest in the burial locations grew out of her quest many years ago to locate the final resting place of an ancestor. So far, she hasn’t found it, but her research led to her authoring a book, “Civil War Veterans of Alpena County.”

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