Volume 4 , Number 11, Spring 1973
CHRISTIAN COUNTY VETERAN RECALLS
CEREMONY AT LONCOLN BURIAL
There was visiting in Springfield Saturday a man who was chosen as one of thirty-six out of fifteen thousand soldiers, to fire the mourning salute as the last shovelful of earth was thrown over that which was mortal of Abraham Lincoln, martyred president of the United States.
The visitor was G.B. Seals, father-in-law of J.D. Well, deputy constable. The veteran is a prosperous Christian County farmer and owns a large tract of land on Finley Creek near Nixa, Mo.
Mr. Seals arrived in Springfield Friday morning and visited with his daughter. During his stay he entertained a large number of pioneer residents of the city in the office of Justice Dan B. Rainey by his narrations of army life. Mr. Seals is well known in Springfield.
Although the Christian countain is seventy- three years of age, he is as "Pert," as he expresses it, as a man half his age.
"I was a private in Company K, Second Missouri Light Artillery," said the old man in the Justices office.
At the time of Lincolns assassination we were stationed at Franklin, Mo., between Springfield and St. Louis, (sic) where we had established winter quarters before the surrender of General Robert E. Lee.
"Our captain, U.S. Roland, a man of experience as a leader of men and one who had seen years of service in the army, was detailed to pick thirty-six men from among the members of our company and to report at once at Springfiekd, Ill., I was one of the thirty-six chosen.
"We each selected a black horse from the companys property. Some of the animals had white feet and others bore a star on the forehead. We took the horses to St. Louis and there every white mark on them was given a coat of paint or some coloring. We then boarded a train for Springfield, Ill.
VIEWS LINCOLNS BODY
"Arriving there the day before the date set for the funeral we pitched camp just outside the city limits. The following morning we fell into line at the capitol building where the body was lying in state and we filed past the coffin of the deceased president. I did not get a good look at him on my first trip and I fell in line again after leaving the building and a second time viewed the body of Mr. Lincoln. I shall never forget the sight.
On the afternoon of April 18, the
members of our party went to the Lincoln residence in Springfield and each drank from a silver pitcher and placed our names on a register in the house for that purpose.
"Later the funeral cortege started from the capitol building and proceeded to Oak Ridge Cemetery where interment was made.
KEPT THEIR MOUTHS OPEN
"We retreated to within a quarter of a mile of the city limits and at a signal from the cemetery we started firing one shot every minute for five hours. At the expiration of that time we ceased and at sundown sounded the final mourning shot. We had two 12 inch guns and the amount of ammunition we used was never estimated."
In explaining the detonation caused by the explosion of one of these guns, Mr. Seals declared that the men around them were compelled to stand on tip-toes and with mouth open while the gun was being fired. Should anyone not follow this rule, said the Veteran, blood would flow from the ears. The house for fifty yards around where the guns were stationed remained open all during the firing he said. The windows and doors were left ajar.
Mr. Seals returned to his home on Finlay Creek Saturday afternoon. The veteran has lived for forty-three years on one farm in Christian County and has improved it during that time until it is the pride of the surrounding country.
BOWERS CHAPEL CEMETERY
Bowers Chapel Cemetery is located approximately two miles north of Urbana, Missouri and a short distance east of U.S. Highway 65. It is one of the oldest cemeteries in Dallas County. The land for this cemetery was donated by the late Emanuel Bower, an early settler of Dallas County.
Many of the early poineers and their descendants are buried here. Near the fence on the east side there is a stone marker giving brief historical data concerning this cemetery.
On the top of this stone marker is the following inscription: FIRST GRAVE HANNAH YEAGER, THIRD GRAVE REBECCA DARBY. On the east side reads; BOWERS CHAPEL CEMETERY Est Sept. 30, 1838 and on the west; THIS DAY Aug 31, 1930, 1000 GRAVES.
Now, concerning the people mentioned on the marker, Hannah Yeager was the first wife of Reverend Elijah Fisher Yeager a pioneer Methodist minister of Dallas and surrounding counties.
As to Rebecca Darby she was the daughter of Daniel and Phebe (Evans) Darby and aunt of the late Alburt E. Darby of Urbana.
It is family tradition that the second grave is of a young Negro boy who was a slave traveling through the country with his master and became ill while they were camped near by and passed away.
Also, it has been said by the older generation of the Lindseys, that the fourth grave is of CYNTHIA ANN LINDSEY, the first wife of Abraham Lindsey and mother of James Franklin Lindsey.
Cynthia Ann Lindsey was the daughter of Peter and Hunt of Buffalo, Missouri.
Later a church was built here known as the Bowers Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and for many years services were held regularly. In recent years the church has been used only for memorial Day services.
Copyright Ó White River Valley Historical Quarterly
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