November 16, 2009

RIGHTING A CIVIL WAR WRONG: A Gravestone for a Civil War Veteran



A Gravestone for a Civil War Veteran

      I want to make the national news headlines.

At risk of plagiarism, the headline could read: Civil War soldier gets grave marker. Union captain’s burial site went unmarked for more than 140 years.*

Let me elaborate.

My great-great grandfather, Charles F. Walker, served in Company A, 8th Regiment of Kansas Infantry, Leavenworth, Kansas. He enlisted August 28, 1861. He was discharged on July 11, 1864, at Ft. Leavenworth by reason of Surgeons Certificate of Disability.

Said Charles F. Walker was born in Penobscot in the State of Maine, is 25 years of age…by occupation when enrolled, a Umbrella Maker. On a surviving soldiers list it is noted that he was from Lamoine Beach, a Private with two years, ten months and fifteen days of service. It lists that he suffered from chronic diarrhea, chronic hepatitis, varicose veins and hernia.

There is much documentation for Charles F(rench) Walker. (To view his photo, click on:

My great-great grandfather was born in Exeter, Maine, son of Isaac and Abigail F. Holt Walker. On November 5, 1864, he married Armenia H. Des Isles in Trenton, Maine. She was a native of East Lamoine, Maine, daughter of William and Isabelle Young Des Isles; granddaughter of Louis and Mary Googins Des Isles. (Louis was a refugee from the French Revolution who found his way to Lamoine—but then, that’s another story.)

Charles and Armenia had five children—George, Nelson, Charles E., Allen Wilson and Lizzie E. Charles E. Walker died 30 August 1891.

Charles died in Lamoine in 1891. His newspaper obituary states Lamoine—Dec. 7, Mr. Charles F. Walker, aged 57 years and 3 months.

A $30.00 bill to his estate, submitted December 8, 1891 by A. W. Cushman & Co., Dr. (dealers in furniture, paints and oils, Franklin Street), was to pay for one casket, including box and robes.

Charles died financially broken. A letter from the Wm. H. H. Rice Post, No. 55, Department of Maine Grand Army of the Republic, states that Charles was a member in good standing in this Post, an honorably discharged soldier, and was at the time of his death, and had been for some time previously in destitute circumstances. Another letter, to the Treasurer of the state from the Town of Lamoine Selectmen stated enclosed you will find Bill Paid for Charles F. Walker a Soldier who died at Lamoine and was a Resident of Said Lamoine…at the time of his death he was unable to support himself and was helped by public charity.

Records, including funeral cards, lack one piece of information: WHERE IS CHARLES F. WALKER BURIED? And where is Armenia buried. No document records these facts. And no gravestone marks his—or her—resting place.


     The Lamoine town records include a list of 120 Gravesites of Lamoine Veterans. There is another listing, an Unmarked Grave w/flag standard GAR Post 55. The gravesite is in the East Lamoine Cemetery.

Is this unmarked gravesite where Charles F. Walker is laid to rest?

The evidence is circumstantial. To consider it, it is important to consider where Armenia might be buried, what the nature of the East Lamoine Cemetery is.

This is a family cemetery, where Armenia’s family is laid to rest: Mary Googins, William and Isabelle Young Des Isles, and Mary Googins’ parents, grandparents. There is even an honorary gravestone for Louis Des Isles, who died in France. Is Armenia buried in the cemetery plot? Again, the evidence is circumstantial.

Armenia died in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Her son was granted permission to transport her body to East Lamoine. But the slip does not say, “East Lamoine Cemetery.” Just East Lamoine. However, it’s logical to believe it was transported to that cemetery.

Would she not have had her husband buried in that very same cemetery?

Adjacent to the group of plots where the unknown veteran is buried is the Samuel Y. Des Isles family plot. During their lifetime Charles and Samuel purchased several pieces of land together. Would it not be logical that they would also purchase family plots adjacent to each other?

The fact that Charles died in Lamoine; might have purchased cemetery plots adjacent to those of the Samuel Y. Des Isles family; that Armenia is likely to be buried in the same cemetery as the rest of her family, and that she would bury her husband, Charles, in that very same cemetery is circumstantial evidence that the couple is resting in East Lamoine Cemetery. That there is no stone placed on his gravesite was probably a result of the family’s lack of finances. That she has no stone is probably a result of her family living away from Lamoine.

However, the strongest evidence that Charles is buried in East Lamoine Cemetery is the one unknown Civil War Veteran, one among the small number of 121 veterans. And Charles, a Civil War veteran, has no known burial site. How many unknown Civil War veterans could there be in the small community of Lamoine—or its section known as East Lamoine?

I have yet to search Armenia’s pension records, nor have I thoroughly investigated Maine’s involvement in paying for half of Charles F. Walker’s funeral. These records are difficult to search unless one is doing it in person. However, they need to be explored, and I will persist.

Tonight I spoke with Richard Essenwine of Kittanning (PA), who is involved with locating Civil War veteran’s gravesites. He offered to research the G. A. R. records. Perhaps these records will provide the one detail I need to prove that East Lamoine Cemetery is the resting place of Charles and Armenia Walker. That missing piece MUST be somewhere.

My goal is to have a proper Civil War stone marking Charles F. Walker’s gravesite. Furthermore, I would like to have the stone put in place on my next visit to Lamoine.

Will this happen? I hope so. Perhaps some of my readers will have a suggestion for “how to” find the missing piece of information.

And if I succeed, it should make headlines.

After all, A soldier’s only dead when he’s forgotten.***


*Civil War soldier gets graver marker. Brandon Keat, Tribune-Review. Undated article.

** Special Schedule list of Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, and Marines, and Widows, etc., S.D. 2; E. D. 154, Minor Civil Division: Maine, Page 3, Line 27Volume 154, Family 184.

***Stephen Nelson, who volunteered to handle the leftover money after Bell Township (pa) Historical Society’s 150th birthday celebration for the town last year. “We want to make sure they are never, ever forgotten.”


119 Memorial Days: Still Seeking Civil War Veteran’s Gravesite:



THE OVENS on Mt. Desert Island, Maine







  1. Will Civil War Veteran John W. January buried in the Dell Rapids SD. cemetery get his Civil War Stone Marking? Please look up his story on the computer…

    Only Dead When Forgotten.

    Comment by Ben Myers — April 7, 2010 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  2. Hi Carolyn,
    I seen your article in the Ellsworth American. I have photo’s of members of the Walker family that I purchased several years ago at an auction in Bangor Me. It may be of the same family. Two of the photo’s are identified as Charles Walker. They are of the Civil War Period. They may be of interest to you.

    Comment by john scappaticci — July 7, 2010 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

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