I have the most wonderful time with this splendid group of people, who are so kindly and so wise. They have shared great stories with me about the St. Louis of their youths and their humor is delightful.
There are over sixty in Bellefontaine Cemetery alone. Connie Nisinger, Bellefontaine’s archivist and docent, generously joined us so that we didn’t miss some of the most important of these – James Buchanan Eads (whose ironclads proved critical to the Union victory at Vicksburg), Sterling Price (eleventh Governor of Missouri and Confederate Major General), Roswell Field (whose strongly crafted suit for Dred Scott and his family won favor with a St. Louis jury) and his wife, Frances, and Lily and Adolphus Busch (who served under Ulysses Grant in the Civil War, preserved “Hardscrabble” after St. Louis’ World’s Fair of 1904 and established a national heritage site in Grant’s honor well-known to St. Louisans as Grant’s Farm).
We found Dred Scott’s grave site (not an easy feat even with a map) with the assistance of Michael Epsinger in the office and a grounds keeper at Calvary Cemetery; surprised by all of the Lincoln pennies that have been left there. It’s a lovely final resting place for one of the most famous St. Louisans in American history; who tragically lived less than one year of his life in freedom.
Lastly we viewed the grave site of General William Tecumseh Sherman and his family. There are great stories about the Shermans – before, during and after the war – in St. Louis, Vicksburg and points south. The monument depicted here was dedicated to Willie Sherman by Union veterans who had served under his father. Willie, who loved to drill and train, emulating the soldiers, and who they dubbed their “little drummer boy,” succumbed to camp fever contracted in Mississippi.
Thank you, Hazelwood Seniors, for giving me the opportunity to share The Lou’s rich Civil War history with you!
Photo Credits: Hazelwood Community Center Seniors, the Old Spaghetti Factory (March 16, 2011), Entrance to Calvary Cemetery, Mausoleum of Adolphus and Lily Busch in Bellefontaine Cemetery, Grave Site of Dred Scott in Calvary Cemetery and Grave Marker of Willie Sherman in Calvary Cemetery – Maureen Kavanaugh, author of this blog.