Civil War veteran’s long-forgotten star returned home after research serendipity
by Heather Kliever
The Lane County Historical Society in Eugene has been working on a reconfiguration and upgrade of its in-house collections storage area. While working through the initial cleanup phase of this project I happened upon an object that looked little more than long forgotten garden stake.
It was rusty, one of the points was broken off long ago and it had been sawn off half way down its post. The center of the star was embossed with GAR (Grand Army of the Republic). Fortunately, the star had been cataloged and I was able to go back to our files to read up a little more on object.
This object had been donated over 30 years ago and its original owner identified. This small star was a military grave marker that belongs to Chester D. Holloway, Company B, 13th Infantry, Wisconsin. Company B was organized in Janesville, Wis., in 1861 and served in San Antonio, Texas. Holloway was mustered out in November 1865.
There is not a lot of information available regarding Holloway and his journey west after service in the Civil War. Research through historic newspapers and Polk Company directories revealed Holloway as a blacksmith in the Fairmount neighborhood of Eugene. Holloway passed away at the age of 75 on Nov. 7, 1913 after a horse backed into him. He was buried the next day in Laurel Hill cemetery.
With great excitement I called Laurel Hill cemetery and spoke with the cemetery’s historian, Alice Morton. Alice knew exactly where the star belonged and the return process began for Holloway to receive back his GAR marker.
Heather Kliever is curator of the Lane County Historical Museum and a member of the Oregon Heritage MentorCorps.