A Pittsfield woman thinks it's a shame that more hasn't been done to honor Pike County's Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans, so she's proposed placing a memorial on the courthouse lawn.
"These men helped create our nation during the Revolution and helped save it during the War of 1812, which was kind of the forgotten war," Kathy Zimmerman said.
There are 18 Revolutionary War soldiers buried in Pike County "that we know of," Zimmerman said, and more than 90 soldiers from the War of 1812.
The Nancy Ross Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sangamon River Chapter of the National Society of U.S. Daughters of 1812 hope to have a stone in place within a year listing all the veterans' names. Zimmerman, a member of both organizations, said the public's help will be needed to pay for the project, which could cost $4,000.
"We'll probably put out an appeal to see if descendants of the men or the general public will help us," she said. "It's something we really feel like we need to do."
Zimmerman outlined the project last month for the Pike County Board's Building and Grounds Committee. Chairman Michael Boren said the committee invited Zimmerman to its next meeting for more discussion of the size, material, location and wording of the proposed marker.
Finding the grave sites, especially for the oldest veterans, has been a challenge.
The DAR chapter has marked the grave of one Revolutionary War veteran, Abraham Scholl, in Griggsville and knows where two others, Hugh McNary and David Roberts, are buried. The Sangamon River Chapter of the National Society of U.S. Daughters of 1812 marked the graves of eight 1812 veterans at Bethel Church cemetery and two at Green Pond Cemetery between Milton and Pearl. Bronze markers placed by the organizations honor patriotic military service, but one marker on the courthouse lawn could honor all the county's oldest veterans.
"Because Pike County was bounty land, we have a lot of soldiers buried here," Zimmerman said.
The search for grave sites of Civil War veterans for a book project by the Abe Lincoln Project of Pike County yielded the final resting place for some earlier veterans.
Zimmerman tells the story of one searcher who discovered that a young Civil War soldier actually was buried at Vicksburg but found the grave of the man's father, who served in the War of 1812.
Still more veterans might be buried in abandoned cemeteries across the county, but their final resting places remain a mystery.
"It's just too sad these men aren't getting any recognition," Zimmerman said. "This way at least, if they don't get flags at Memorial Day, they will be recognized for their service."
More information about the proposed Pike County memorial for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 veterans is available by contacting Kathy Zimmerman at 217-285-6995 or the DAR chapter Treasurer Julie Kremer at 285-1300.