In our cemetery, if you have a tiny sticker on your tombstone, it indicates that you’re a veteran. On Memorial Day, the local American Legion group decorates every grave with a sticker. What if you lack a tombstone, or your sticker wears off? You don’t get a flag.
Lisa, a woman in a nearby town is on a mission to get tombstones for the graves of any veteran in our county who doesn’t have a marker, so I set about getting her a list of unmarked veterans’ graves in our cemetery. Over a decade ago, the Colorado State Archives had a list of veterans’ grave registrations which I’d use to compile a list for our local American Legion group when they wanted to decorate veterans’ graves. But that list was no longer on the website, so I resorted to the Wayback Machine to retrieve the list. Since I subsribe to Fold3, I can easily access documents related to veterans, but I had trouble finding information on Clarence Owen, partly because the cemetery records lacked a birthdate, and the list of vets didn’t say what war he served in.
Is he the Clarence Owen who served in Company E of the 14th Regiment, US Infantry (Regular Army) during the Civil War? It’s possible, because other Civil War soldiers in our cemetery lived into the 1930s. I scoured the local newspaper for information, but didn’t find an obituary. Mesa County Public Library has their obituary index online, and they listed two notices for Clarence, one in May, one in September. Last week, I finally made it down to the library to check the notices. The first one mentioned that he’d died, and they thought he had a couple of sisters, one living in Gunnison. The second one said they’d been unable to contact any relatives, and so they’d buried him.
This summer, Bill unearthed his temporary marker. I’ll keep trying to find out more about Clarence, but it’s possible that this is the only marker he’ll ever have.