Civil War veteran’s headstone unearthed at Glendale
Civil War veteran Henry Pickett’s grave is no longer unmarked.
Last month, we told you about Pickett, an Akron inventor who in 1874 patented an easy-to-use scaffolding. A plasterer by trade, Pickett operated one of the city’s first Black-owned businesses, Excelsior Whitewashing, in the 19th century.
He died in 1897 at age 71, and is buried at Glendale Cemetery in Section 2, Lot 30, next to his wife and son. According to government records, the Vermont Marble Co. supplied a headstone for the veteran who had served in the 27th Ohio Infantry Regiment.
When we visited Pickett’s grave, though, we couldn’t find the marker.
Several readers contacted the Beacon Journal, offering to raise funds, make a donation or contact Veterans Affairs.
“Do you know if anyone is trying to get a replacement gravestone?” asked Howland Davis, a Vietnam War veteran who maintains a list of all known veterans buried in Summit County. “I have started filling out the VA form.”
Jim Leone Sr., owner of Akron Monument & Granite Co. on North Hill, said the article saddened him.
“No grave should be left unmarked,” he said.
He offered to donate a suitable gravestone for Pickett and his family.
“This is my 50th year in the monument industry, and this would be a good way to give back in some manner,” Leone said.
Bill Ankeny, chairman of the 29th Ohio Civil War Living History Association, volunteered his group to take on the project. On Sept. 10, the association held a Glendale ceremony to dedicate 14 new markers for Civil War veterans who didn’t have headstones or whose original monuments could no longer be read.
“It would be an honor to provide him with a new headstone,” Ankeny said.
Joan Moke, another member of the group, also mentioned the dedication ceremony at Glendale.
“The cemetery worked with us on filling out the paperwork and they donated the labor to have the markers placed at the gravesite,” Moke noted. “Since the government is involved, it is a long process and you have to make sure you have all the documentation they require.”
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Ankeny contacted Steven R. Kaut, chief operating officer at Glendale, about getting a replacement stone for Pickett.
Kaut’s prompt reply had surprising news.
“I had a sneaking suspicion there may still be a grave marker there, although not visible,” Kaut wrote. “Upon investigation, and a little digging, the marker was just below the surface.”
The government marker originally was upright, but for some reason it was laid flat. Over the decades, nature reclaimed the stone until grass and soil completely covered it.
“It appears to be intact, although the lettering has faded over the years.” Kaut wrote.
A groundskeeper has returned the headstone to its upright position. The weather-beaten marker has a crescent crater in the middle, but Henry Pickett’s name is visible at the top.
The VA won’t replace a headstone if it’s readable, Ankeny said.
“But it is great that he now has a marker to mark his final resting place,” he said.
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That brings us back to Leone, the owner of Akron Monument & Granite Co.
He still wants to donate a headstone.
Every month, he said, he tries to do at least one good deed.
Leone planned to contact Glendale about providing a flat granite marker with the names of Henry Pickett, his wife, Mary Jane Pickett, and their son, Alexander Pickett, to be placed near the marble slab.
“I’d like to do it,” he said.
Mark J. Price can be reached at email@example.com.
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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Civil War veteran’s headstone unearthed at Glendale Cemetery