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Associated Press – May 29, 2010 4:04 AM ET
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (AP) – There are American flags flying this weekend on the graves of some more Civil War veterans in Rock Island’s Chippiannock Cemetery. All of them were black soldiers in the Union Army.
The veterans have been buried there a long time, but their graves were unmarked until quite recently.
The graves of 9 of the black veterans were not discovered until 2000, and 2 of them are still without headstones because there still isn’t enough information about them to qualify for free markers from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Annabell Luth, president and co-founder of the Quad City African American Museum, decorated the gravesites Friday with flags for Memorial Day.
Authorities say that from its founding in 1855 until some time in the 1920s, Chippiannock was the only area cemetery that accepted black residents for burial.
Information from: The Rock Island Argus, http://www.qconline.com/index.shtml
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.
From Trib Today
YOUNGSTOWN – A local research group that has been studying black Civil War veterans has been able to get the graves marked at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Youngstown, where several historical tours and re-enactment programs have been held.
Steffon Jones, who is among the research team of area residents compiling information on the veterans, said he and others doing research found many black Civil War soldiers are buried at Oak Hill Cemetery, 345 Oak Hill Ave.
Originally, 14 were found, but the group was soon able to locate 11 more who were part of different troops, the United States Colored Troops, United States Colored Infantry and United States Colored Cavalry, he said.
“All of their graves are marked by one of the three designations depending on which group they served with,” he said.
Jones is co-founder of the Civil War Re-enactment Group. The group offers programs on Civil War black soldiers and the contributions of the soldiers in re-enactments.
The research team learned that the great-grandson and fourth family descendant of Martin Van Housen, one of the soldiers, is Youngstown resident Laurence Pettiford. VanHousen came from Massachusetts in 1822 and joined the 29th Connecticut Regiment Colored Infantry as a private.
Jones said information compiled included that VanHousen enlisted in the war in December 1863 at age 43 and was discharged in October 1865.
”He entered at age 43 when anyone over 30 was considered too old,” he said.
VanHousen later settled in Youngstown in 1882. He died in 1897.
“On Memorial Day, we honor all soldiers who fought in every war. Today we also have the honor of knowing of the black Civil War soldiers whose families are from Youngstown,” he said.
Among the other Civil War veterans whose graves are at the cemetery are Oscar Boggess, who is believed to have had a street named after him in the city. Boggess was also one of the founders of the first black church, Oak Hill Avenue AME Church, which is now known as St. Andrews Church.
Boggess was a first sergeant of the 43rd Regiment, United States Colored Volunteers of Pennsylvania. He moved to Youngstown in 1866 and worked as a stone mason.