Gravestone of Civil War veteran to be dedicated

~by Valerie Ogren, Greene County Genealogical Society

Isaac Ford tombstoneAfter the passing of 109 years, the gravestone of Isaac H. Ford will be dedicated Saturday, May 30, at 1 pm in the Junction Township Cemetery.

The dedication will be performed by the honor guard unit known officially as Company “A”, 49th Regiment Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry, and called colloquially “The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles.” Since 2013 this unit has been honored to have served as the “Tomb Guard” at the tomb of President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, IL. It will be under the command of 1/Lt. David M. Lamb and attired in full Civil War uniform. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The Greene County Genealogical Society was contacted three years ago by a volunteer of a veteran’s organization and asked to try and locate any descendants of Isaac Ford, a Civil War soldier who died in 1906. The volunteer informed the genealogists that Ford’s grave was unmarked. He was kind enough to send along all the necessary information and forms to fill out for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs so that a free military grave marker could be ordered.

Extensive research showed that Ford was twice married. He and his first wife Mary had two children – Charles O. and Carrie E. A marriage record was found for C. O. Ford and Retta M. Keasey in 1895. They were found on a later census living in Minnesota, but no other information could be located. Carrie Ford married Charles Van Pelt and was living in Guthrie County in 1920 with two children: Bonnie Lucille and Wesley Ford Van Pelt. Both were still single and living at home in 1940.

It was learned that Wesley Ford Van Pelt and his wife Lucy were buried in St. Mary Cemetery north of Jamaica in Greene County. The gravestone gave the names of their children: Ronald, Gregory, Richard and Rozanne. Thanks to Luann Waldo, editor of the Scranton Journal, the local genealogists were able to get in touch with Richard Van Pelt, who filled out the forms for the VA. The gravestone was subsequently delivered to Jefferson Monument Company which installed it late last fall.

While the gravestone is provided by the government free of charge, the installation is not. The Genealogical Society is deeply indebted to Aaron Schroeder, owner of Slininger-Rossow Funeral Home, who immediately stepped forward and offered to pay that bill for us. Schroeder said, “As a veteran myself, I would be honored to pay for the installation.”

Isaac Ford came to Iowa from Ohio in 1860. In August 1861, he enlisted in Company I, 2nd Iowa Cavalry and served until September 1865. He participated in many battles including Corinth, Memphis, Tupelo and Nashville. He enlisted as a private and was discharged as a sergeant. After the war, he moved from Jones County to Greene County where he lived until his death.

Now at the close of the sesquicentennial observance of the Civil War, Isaac Ford will finally get the recognition he deserved. Also, it was just learned that the last Civil War veteran to die in Greene County was R. G. Martin, father of the late Dr. Worley Martin and sister to the late Hannah Grow, both of Rippey. Ironically, his grave is also in the Junction Township Cemetery just a few steps away from the grave of Isaac Ford, so he will be recognized that day as well.

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