Archive for August 2009

Cemetery Vandalism – The Desecration of More Than Just a Headstone

August 21, 2009
Charles E. Moore, photo taken on August 20, 2009

Charles E. Moore, photo taken on August 20, 2009

Yesterday, I made my second visit to Greenvale Cemetery located in the village of Fairport, New York.  My previous visit had been on the third of June when I began my research into the Civil War soldiers of Perinton and Fairport.  As I wandered the well-manicured lawn, I noticed a headstone that had toppled over.  A closer look showed that the headstone belonged to Charles E. Moore, a Civil War soldier who had died in service.  Charles joined the 108th NY Volunteer Infantry as a drummer boy.  Less than one year later, Charles was dead of disease at the tender age of 16.

While I don’t know how Charles’ headstone ended up looking skyward, I can imagine the cause may have been vandalism, as there were 6-8 other headstones in the same vicinity which were lying on the ground.  The photo I took on my first visit to Greenvale confirmed that the headstone belonging to this young drummer boy had been upright just a few months before.

I’m not usually one to discuss my views and beliefs in public, but I must say that cemetery vandalism ranks near the top of my list of abhorrent behavior.  What difference does it make to the people of today if someone vandalizes a headstone belonging to a boy of yesterday, long dead and seemingly unremembered, when there is so much strife in today’s world?

The fact is that cemetery vandalism is the desecration of more than just a headstone.  Headstones serve as symbols of our loved ones.  They help us remember our dead.  Who has the right to determine that this boy doesn’t deserve to be remembered?  By knocking over his headstone, this vandal has tried to desecrate the identity which belongs solely to Charles E. Moore.  His headstone is the only way we have to remember him now. 

I’ve contacted the Village of Fairport to alert them of the issue in the hopes that they will be able to right the fallen headstones.  Luckily, the headstone belonging to Charles lies unbroken in the grass, and can once again be placed back on its proper pedestal.  I’ll update the status on the possible vandalism at Greenvale Cemetery as soon as I have more information.

Because Charles was a soldier, his death is all the more poignant to me.  He left his home to serve his country.  He died of illness before being allowed to experience life.  He mourned his fallen comrades in arms even as he himself was mourned just a short time later.  Charles earned his identity and, by his service, earned his military headstone.  Charles E. Moore deserves to be remembered, and I will ensure that he is.

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Mount Hope Cemetery Civil War Tour

August 1, 2009
Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY

Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY

It was an unusually beautiful day today in Rochester, New York.  Warm weather prevailed as puffy white clouds filled the skies – a perfect day for a cemetery tour.  How fortunate that Mount Hope was holding their annual Civil War tour this afternoon!

Local historian and columnist Bob Marcotte led the tour, assisted by Friends of Mount Hope president Marilyn Nolte.  We began the tour with Major George B. Force of the 108th, who fell at Antietam.  You’ll recall that two of the Ambrose boys, Robert and Edward, were with the 108th.  Next was Frank A. Badger of the 140th.  Frank was missing and presumed dead after the battle of the Wilderness.  His body was never recovered, but there is a stone in his memory.  One of my Pittsford boys, Matthias L. Lord, was Assistant Surgeon of the 140th.  I wonder if Matthias knew Frank Badger?  We eventually visited seven Civil War soldiers, some of whom died in action.  Others, like Albert Hotchkiss of the 8th NY Cavalry, died at Andersonville Prison.  Several of my Pittsford soldiers were with the 8th Cav.  They will be discussed in upcoming posts.

After the tour the group, about 40 strong, headed back to the cool confines of the gatehouse for some refreshments.  Bob graciously signed his book, Where They Fell, for the interested tour-goers.  As always, it was a pleasure hearing Bob speak.  He is so knowledgeable about Rochester’s Civil War soldiers.

If you haven’t been on a tour at Mount Hope, I’d highly recommend the experience.  There is a lot of walking and many hills, but there are so many beautiful and unique monuments to see.  If you are interested in historical figures, you can find those residing at Mount Hope as well.  Susan B. Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Western Union founder Hiram Sibley and architect Fletcher Steele are among the many notables whose earthly remains were laid to rest at Mount Hope.


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