Honoring a Veteran, 130 years later

JOPLIN, Mo. — After 130 years, a Civil War Union Veteran has officially been laid to rest with military honors and a new head stone.

Civil War Union Soldier, Littleton J. Perry, was laid to rest at the “Peace Church Cemetery” in Joplin, in the year 1892. Perry served in “Company C” of Missouri’s 44th Infantry Regiment.

Unfortunately though, Perry was buried without any government markings or military honors.

“This area had, Civil War, both Union and Confederate come through here. Rader’s Farm is just north of us. And that’s where the Unions and Confederates met for a battle and a lot were killed. Some of the soldiers are buried here in unmarked graves,” said Jim Beeler, Caretaker, Peace Church Cemetery.

Perry was buried next to his sister, Stella, who passed away at 10 years old. Because his sister’s grave was marked, cemetery staff were finally able to locate Perry.

Cemetery staff have been working for the past three years to identify 26 Veterans in the cemetery, who also have unmarked graves.

“We’ve helped them identify some of the Veterans, because he’ll give us names and we can run it through the Veterans Administration and truly identify if they were a solider, either a Union or Confederate during the Civil War, because the records are fairly thorough for both to be able to find what units they served with and that type of thing,” said Bob Harrington, Commander, Joplin American Legion Post 13.

Thanks to the joint effort by the cemetery’s staff, the Joplin “American Legion Post 13” and the “Veterans Affairs”, a commemoration ceremony was held on Saturday to honor and remember Perry’s sacrifice to his country.

“They’ll either give you a bronze plaque that has your name, rank and years of service on it. Or, they’ll actually do a stone for you, either one. In this case, it’s actually a grave stone that we’re providing, that they provided for him,” said Harrington.

The service included a 21-Gun Salute, a flag presentation and the playing of taps. Finally, Perry’s brand-new headstone was revealed, right next to his sister’s.

“We just want to recognize not only those that have stones, but those that we don’t know who they are and, we just want to give them the recognition that they’re due,” said Beeler.

“This person served their country and they deserve the honor of being recognized for doing that,” said Harrington.

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