Thursday, June 05, 2014

Allen Cemetery: Three Civil War losses & Shiloh

Weaver family stone at Allen Cemetery

I headed out last week to Allen Pioneer Cemetery --- just north of the ghost town of LaGrange near the Lucas-Monroe county line --- to take a look at three tombstones in one of the small graveyard's short rows that commemorate young men who died either during or soon after the Civil War.

Most Lucas County cemeteries contain the graves of multiple Civil War veterans, but the proximity here both in dates of death and war-related causes is unusual.

So here we are again, after brief rambles into other areas of the cemetery, at the starting point.

The young men are, in order of death, Private John Weaver, killed in combat on a deadly Sunday, 6 April 1862, the first day of the Battle of Shiloh; Corporal Jonathan C. Payne, who died apparently of disease on 18 March 1863 in St. Louis some months after being captured at Shiloh; and finally, James H. Turner, discharged because of disability during 1863 and also a Shiloh veteran, who died three years later on 18 December 1866, probably of causes related to the late war.

Turner and Payne were brothers-in-law, which explains why their tombstones are located side by side. Weaver is commemorated on a family stone that also marks the graves of his parents just south of the Turner lot.

Only James Turner is buried here. The remains of Weaver and Payne rest among the unknowns at Shiloh National Cemetery and (presumably) Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, respectively. Both the Union and the Confederacy entered the Civil War with little idea of how care for their soldiers when alive, let alone how to deal with the remains of those who died on battlefields or, more frequently, in crude hospitals. As a result, when the war was over, it was impossible to identify the remains of many who died.


The first to die was Private John Weaver, killed in combat on Sunday, 6 April 1862 --- first day of the deadly Battle of Shiloh (also known as the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing) in southwest Tennessee.

John's inscription on the Weaver family stone.

John was the only son of George and Harriet (Yergey) Weaver, born 21 December 1837 in Ohio. He had moved with his parents, three younger sisters and perhaps a sibling who died young to Cedar Township, Lucas County, ca. 1851, where the family was recorded in both 1856 state and 1860 federal census enumerations. John's occupation was given as farmer, as was that of his father, in both 1856 and 1860.

John enlisted as a private in Co. B, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, at Chariton on 2 October 1861, and was mustered into the service on 24 October. He joined a company known originally as the Lucas County Guards when it was raised in Chariton during the early summer of 1861 and mustered as Co. B, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, in Burlington on July 17. It was commanded by Capt. Daniel Iseminger, also killed at Shiloh and officially Lucas County's first Civil War loss.

A total of eight Company B troops died during that battle: Iseminger, Privates Weaver, Charles J. Cheeney, Monroe Hardin, Oliver B. Miller, William Sheets and John M. Sayre; and Corporal James H. Spurling.

John's body would have been buried near where he fell on the Shiloh battlefield, but his remains were not identifiable when disinterred and moved to what now is Shiloh National Cemetery. As a result, he rests there among the "unknowns. More than 1,700 Union troops and a similar number of Confederates were killed during the two-day battle. 

John's father, George Weaver, died seven years later --- on 12 September 1869 --- in Cedar Township, and was buried in Allen Cemetery. It most likely was then that the tall marble stone that bears his inscription on its west face was erected. A considerably more elaborate inscription commemorating John, complete with flag, was carved into the south face of the stone.

Several years after George Weaver's death, Harriet married as her second husband another Lucas County pioneer, Hugh Larimer, on 12 October 1876. He moved to Sarah's Cedar Township farm and lived there until his death on 27 January 1884. He was buried beside his first wife, nee Nancy McKlveen, in the Chariton Cemetery. Harriet died Jan. 10, 1901, and was buried beside George's side in Allen Cemetery.


Jonathan C. Payne, who died in St. Louis on 18 March 1863, was born about 1833 in Owen County, Indiana, to Samuel and Nancy (Craddick) Payne. The family arrived in Washington Township during 1848 (or May of 1849 according to another story) and were among Lucas County's earliest settlers. In addition to Jonathan, there was a daughter, Sarah, born ca. 1838.

Jonathan Payne's tombstone.

Samuel was elected Lucas County's first sheriff during 1849, then re-elected in 1850; Nancy Payne has the dubious distinction of another first, becoming the first permanent settler of the county to die.

According to Lucas County lore, Nancy became ill with typhoid fever during early August of 1849 at the family's isolated cabin south of what became Russell and when it became evident that death was near was brought  to the home of Abner McKinley in the Greenville neighborhood, where she did indeed pass away. Her burial reportedly was the first in Greenville Cemetery.

Jonathan, a carpenter by trade, married Lucy M.S. Olmsted in Lucas County on 12 March 1854 and they settled in Chariton, where a son, Charles, was born ca. 1858. Then Lucy died.

In the meantime, Samuel Payne had remarried --- twice. He married Julia Ann Keller on 21 June 1851, but promptly divorced her. His next try at marriage, on 9 December 1852 to Sara Lowder --- daughter of Joel and Didema (Laxton) Lowder --- endured until the end of his life and produced four additional children. After the second marriage, Samuel moved to the LaGrange neighborhood of Cedar Township and the widowed Jonathan and his son Charles apparently joined them there after Lucy's death.

Jonathan married as his second wife Angeline Turner, daughter of Jesse and Eveline (Tomlinson) Turner, on 17 February 1860 and they were enumerated in the federal census of that year as residents of the village of LaGrange with Johathan's son, Charles. A son of their own, James H. Payne, was born during 1861.

Jonathan, age 27, enlisted at LaGrange on 10 August 1861 as a corporal in Co. I, 8th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, and was mustered in Burlington on 12 September. The next spring, on 31 March, he was promoted to full sergeant. Co. I was raised for the most part in Monroe County.

The Eighth Iowa was another of the Union regiments involved in the Battle of Shiloh on 6-7 April 1862 and although Jonathan survived, he was captured by Confederate forces along with most of the surviving troops  of the regiment. Imprisoned in Macon, George, he was among soldiers exchanged during November of 1862, but apparently was to ill to rejoin his unit.

Military records state that Jonathan died 18 March 1863 in St. Louis, but no details concerning the cause are given. Nor does he have a marked grave at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, where the Union dead buried in scattered locations in St. Louis were reburied after the war. Most likely he died of disease, perhaps after being taken off a transport ship bound upriver.

Back home in Lucas County, Angeline (Turner) Payne's mother, Eveline, died two weeks later, on April 3, 1863, and was buried on the family lot in Allen Cemetery. It may have been decided then to place a memorial tombstone on the same lot for Jonathan.

The widowed Sarah Payne married Spencer Hardy, a widower with children, on 7 November 1864 and they had seven children in quick succession before he died on 22 September 1872 near Melrose, in Monroe County. Sarah, who did not marry again, took her family first to Missouri and then to California, where she died in Placer County on 17 March 1902.

What happened to Jonathan's son, Charles, isn't known. His son, James H., accompanied his mother to Harrison County, Missouri, where they were living in 1880, but has not been traced beyond that.


James H. Turner, whose parents were Jesse and Eveline (Tomlinson) Turner, was born 9 July 1833 in Putnam County, Indiana, and accompanied his family west to the LaGrange neighborhood ca. 1856. He was enumerated there in his father's household as a farmer when the 1860 federal census was taken.

James Turner's tombstone.

James enlisted at the age of 28 at LaGrange in Co. E, 6th Iowa Volunteer Infantry on 1 July 1861 and was mustered with his regiment on 17 July in Burlington. He survived Shiloh and other engagements, but was discharged for disability on 26 May 1863.

Early the next year at home in Cedar Township he married Margaret A. Cresswell on 7 February, but died just under two years later, on 18 December 1866, most likely of causes related to his disability.

He was buried just south of the tombstone commemorating his brother-in-law Jonathan Payne. What became of his widow isn't known.

The neighboring tombstones of Jonathan Payne (left) and James Turner.

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