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Woman finds Civil War monument in cemetery

By By Jamie Ostroff, Reporter
Published On: Aug 26 2013 06:56:57 PM CDT
Updated On: Aug 27 2013 11:51:55 AM CDT

Woman finds Civil War monument in cemetery

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

A local woman found a special treasure hidden in Idaho Falls.

"I was looking for my great-great grandfather. He was a corporal in the Civil War," said Elaine Johnson, who makes frequent visits to Rose Hill Cemetery.

What she discovered in December was especially breathtaking.

"There was this big old tree," Johnson described. "I could see just the corner of a stone peeking out from inside the tree, and I wondered, 'Who's in there and do they know who's in there? Maybe he's lost, too.' So I pulled back the branches to look and I saw the inscription."

The inscription read, "GAR, dedicated to the veterans of the Civil War, 1911.'"

"I was astonished," Johnson said.

Cemetery management didn't know the monument was there. Crews have since removed the tree and monument from their original spot, and moved the monument to a safer place before it gets restored.

Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War is the organization that can legally claim ownership of the monument and others like it. Veterans from GAR, or the Grand Army of the Republic, placed monuments throughout the West after the Civil War.

"(The veterans) were looking for a place where they could settle down, far removed from the battle that was horrific in their life," said Eric Richhart, a member of the SUVCW in Utah.

Richhart said this is the only known GAR monument in eastern Idaho.

"It should be honored," he said.

Richhart visited Idaho Falls to see the monument on Saturday. He and the SUVCW hope to restore it by Veterans Day. It will sit in its original location, next to the headstone of Johnson's great-great grandfather.

Richhart wants to form an Idaho chapter of the SUVCW in hopes of finding more monuments like this one. Anyone interested in joining can contact Richhart directly at (801) 250-7733 or at refoals1@msn.com. 

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