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Civil War veteran’s long-forgotten star returned home after research serendipity

February 10, 2016

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.

GAR marker b web 0116

This Grand Army of the Republic veteran’s grave marker was part of the Lane County Historical Society’s collection for many years.

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.

GAR marker web 0116

Lane County Historical Society executive director Bob Hart transfers the GAR grave marker of  Chester D. Holloway to Alice Morton of the Laurel Hill cemetery.

Heather Kliever is curator of the Lane County Historical Museum and a member of the Oregon Heritage MentorCorps.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Keeler permalink
    February 12, 2016 11:26 am

    Great job, Heather! Nice outcome doing “archaeology” in the museum collection! Is Laurel Hill Cemetery planning any kind of public ceremony to replace this GAR marker? I hope so. It would be a good public awareness event for both the museum and the cemetery. I assume Chester Holloway’s grave is marked, but if not, a veteran’s marker can be obtained for him. JudyJuntunen in Corvallis knows the process and contact people for this, as does Kuri Gill in Salem.

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