After being in an unmarked grave for more than a century, Isaac Ford’s new headstone is ready for dedication.

Gravestone of local Civil War veteran to be dedicated

Isaac Ford’s grave unmarked for 109 years

Special to The Jefferson Herald

GRAND JUNCTION — After the passing of 109 years, the gravestone of Isaac H. Ford will be dedicated at 1 p.m. May 30 in the Junction Twp. Cemetery.

The dedication will be performed by Company A, 49th Regiment, Iowa Veteran Volunteer Infantry — the honor guard unit known as “The Governor’s Own Iowa Rifles.”

Since 2013, the unit has been honored to serve as the Tomb Guard at the tomb of President Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Ill. It will be under the command of 1st Lt. David M. Lamb and attired in full Civil War uniform.

The public is encouraged to attend.

The Greene County Genealogical Society was contacted three years ago by a volunteer and asked to locate any descendants of Ford, a Civil War soldier who died in 1906. The volunteer informed the genealogists that Ford’s grave was unmarked.

All necessary forms were filled out for a free military marker from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Extensive research showed that Ford was twice married.  

He and his first wife, Mary, had two children — Charles O. and Carrie E.

A marriage record was found for C.O. Ford and Retta M. Keasey in 1895. They were found living in Minnesota, but no other information could be located.

Carrie Ford married Charles Van Pelt and was living in Guthrie County in 1920 with two children, Bonnie Lucille and Wesley Ford Van Pelt.  Both were still single and living at home in 1940.

It was learned that Wesley Ford Van Pelt and his wife, Lucy, were buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery north of Jamaica in Greene County. The gravestone gave the names of their children — Ronald, Gregory, Richard and Rozanne.

Local genealogists were able to get in touch with Richard Van Pelt, who filled out the forms for the VA.

The gravestone was subsequently delivered to Jefferson Monument Company, which installed it late last fall.

While the gravestone is provided by the government free of charge, the installation is not. Aaron Schroeder, owner of Slininger-Rossow Funeral Home, immediately stepped forward and offered to pay the bill.

“As a veteran myself,” Schroeder said, “I would be honored to pay for the installation.”

Isaac Ford came to Iowa from Ohio in 1860.

In August 1861, he enlisted in Company I, 2nd Iowa Cavalry, and served until September 1865.  He participated in many battles, including Corinth, Memphis, Tupelo and Nashville.

After the war, he moved from Jones County to Greene County, where he lived until his death.

Also being recognized on May 30 will be R.G. Martin, the last Civil War veteran to die in Greene County.

Martin is also buried in the Junction Twp. Cemetery, just a few steps from the grave of Ford.

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