A small group climbed about a mile up a logging road in Yellowwood State Forest in search of a Civil War veteran’s grave.
Corey Frost led them. He has been placing flags at the grave each Memorial Day for three years and knows well the path to the lone soldier’s resting place, perched atop a Brown County ridge.
“I’ve known this has been here since I was a little boy,” said Frost, who lives nearby.
William Stogdill was born in 1838 in Elkinsville. He died of smallpox at age 28, about two weeks after mustering out of the Union Army in Atlanta, Georgia.
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His illness may have made Stogdill confused, or there may have been confusion among family members. Whatever happened, Stogdill was mistakenly recorded as a Confederate soldier, said Valerie Lutes Edmonds.
Stogdill is Edmonds’ fourth- or fifth-great uncle. She knew about his grave from family stories, but studying military genealogy site fold3.com inspired her to look further. After searching for about half-hour online, she found federal archive information that showed he had actually fought for the Union, attaining the rank of corporal.
Along with their father, Bill Lutes, Edmonds and her sister, Suzy Lutes Muzyka, climbed to the top of the ridge Dec. 20 to get pictures of the grave and marker.
It is possible the federal government will pay to replace the marker if it is sufficiently deteriorated, since it is a veteran’s marker, said Brown County Veterans Services Officer Ron Higgins. Edmonds wanted the pictures, in part, to document the marker’s condition.
She also wanted to create a listing on findagrave.com. Until now, not only has Stogdill been recorded as a Confederate soldier, but his grave also has been incorrectly listed as being in Elkinsville cemetery.
Muzyka and Edmonds both explore family history and track down the graves of veterans in their family tree: Muzyka concentrating on the Revolutionary War and Edmonds on the Civil War.
“When you’re involved in genealogy, you’re involved in history,” Lutes said, standing atop the ridge with his daughters. “It’s something you pass on to all your grandkids and great-grandkids, to know where they come from.”
Even for those in the hiking party with no connection to the family, there was an appeal to honoring Stogdill’s memory.
“I’d like to see him buried with the proper stone he deserves,” Frost said. “Especially if he’s been buried here as a Confederate, I think it’s very important to recognize his service as a Union soldier.”