Thank you to the Pioneers' Cemetery Association, Inc. for a fun evening "Dining Among the Dead," yesterday evening. Music by Arizona's Official Balladeer Dolan Ellis, the dancing of Ballet Folklorico de Tolleson, a nice assortment of items for the fundraising auction, and reenactors who portrayed early residents of Phoenix interred there made for an enjoyable event. We met a man eaten by a bear, the last man shot in a northern AZ range war, a Territorial Governor, a Phoenix mayor, a sheriff, the "Lost" Dutchman (note: the MINE was lost; HE was NOT lost), a madam, and one of her employees - but no one representing any of the Civil War veterans interred there. Technically the Territorial Governor was a veteran, with a CSA (Confederate States of America) plaque on his grave, but there are several Union veterans buried there as well. Hopefully someone will rectify that situation next year. In the meantime, though, the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War contingent in attendance, Margaret Warner Wood Detached Tent #1, had a fun time.
Wreaths Across America ships evergreen wreaths from Maine each December to be laid on the graves at veterans cemeteries across America. Many transportation companies volunteer their 18-wheelers and community volunteers go out on the specified date (this year, Dec. 17th) and set the wreaths on the graves. Costs are covered by purchasers who pay $15 per wreath, typically to be laid on the grave of a total stranger who served his or her country, though some cemeteries do accept personalized requests. Local groups can participate in selling the wreaths and in return get $5 per wreath for their own worthy cause. Margaret Warner Wood Detached Tent #1, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War in AZ (full disclosure: I am currently Tent President) will put the funds it raises toward the Grand Army of the Republic Living Memorial Scholarship Fund. If you would like to volunteer or purchase a wreath (Margaret Warner Wood's Group ID# is AZ0057P, if you'd care to send part of your $15 our way) you can contact WAA at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/. The deadline for purchasing a 2016 wreath is Monday, Nov. 28th. You can also attend their Arlington Cemetery event, visit their museum in Maine, sign up to be a location coordinator, or add a cemetery to the list. And please join me and others in setting out these wreaths to honor our departed military and veterans on Dec. 17. I will look for you at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.
When soldiers went home they often joined a local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which was a fraternal organization that was a powerful lobbying force and the forerunner of the VFW and similar veterans' groups today. If your 3rd MA ancestor lived in or near Lynn, in northeastern MA, he would have gone to the local GAR meeting. That building and others of the period are historic treasures and the city of Lynn has made a "virtual tour" that anyone can take online. Built in 1885, it has been on the National Historic Register since 1979. Here is a link to take you inside this gem: www.ci.lynn.ma.us/aboutlynn_tour_garbuilding.shtml.