Oak Grove Cemetery
From the 1905 Blue Book of the State of Illinois: “At Beardstown, in Oak Grove Cemetery, erected by popular subscription, under the auspices of McLean Post 97, G. A. R., at a cost of $800, a marble statue of an infantry soldier, heroic size, was dedicated to the soldiers and sailors of Illinois, June 16, 1891.”
The above paragraph states that the statue was dedicated on June 16, 1891, while the inscription on the base of the monument notes that it was erected on September 1, 1890. Memorial Day, or Decoration Day as it was commonly known during that era, would seem to have been an appropriate date for the dedication. Wonder why the ceremonies were delayed until mid-June?
This 7 foot high granite boulder topped by cannon balls was erected at the behest of the Women’s Relief Corps. It was dedicated to the Soldiers and Sailors of the state and cost about $450, which was defrayed by popular subscription. According to Charles Martin’s 1915 history of Cass County, this boulder was brought from Schuyler County by Christ Bradman, a veteran.
Walnut Ridge Cemetery
This statue was erected under the direction of Downing Post No.321, Grand Army of the Republic, and cost $550. It was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1895.
The model for the life-size sculpture was former soldier George W. Cunningham of Virginia. Mr. Cunningham was a friend of John S. Martin, the sculptor. Martin was a Virginia resident whose father lost his life in the Civil War. Interestingly, Cunningham worked with Martin creating and erecting many of many of the beautiful monuments in Walnut Ridge.
Not far from the G. A. R. plot at Walnut Ridge is the grave of Phineas Underwood, Cass County’s only known burial of a Revolutionary War Veteran. Mr. Underwood’s remains were disinterred from a country cemetery and moved to Walnut Ridge through the efforts of the Downing Post of the G. A. R.
Photos © Duffy 2012