DANVILLE — The Ward Hill Lamon Civil War Roundtable will be joined by members of the Illiana Civil War Historical Society to dedicate a military tombstone Friday at Greenwood Cemetery.
It marks the grave of Pvt. John W. Winkler, who served in Company E of the 25th Indiana Infantry Regiment.
The public is invited to the 4 p.m. ceremony, which will last about half an hour at Greenwood Cemetery, located off 14th Street on Greenwood Cemetery Road near Tilton.
Larry Weatherford, president of both Civil War groups, will talk about Winkler and his regiment’s role in the Civil War. There will be readings by Donald Smith, Jeff Cheeks and Jennifer and Joseph Skowronski.
The National Anthem and Taps will be performed by Jocelyn Hammond, and a Civil War Honor Guard will fire volleys to honor Winkler and all veterans buried in Greenwood Cemetery. More than a dozen Living History presenters dressed in period attire will participate in the ceremony.
Some relatives of Winkler will attend the event.
“We chose to dedicate this stone on a Friday instead of holding our usual Saturday ceremony because we will have so many history presenters in town that day for the annual School Day at Kennekuk County Park,” Weatherford said.
At the Civil War School Days on Friday, fifth-graders will gather at the Bunker Hill Historic Area at Kennekuk County Park to learn about that time period.
Regarding the stone, Weatherford said, “We normally dedicate a new stone that has recently been cut and engraved by the Veterans Administration.
“But this particular stone dates back to 1930, just five years after the death of Mr. Winkler at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home here in Danville. Apparently the government sent a duplicate stone at the time, as the 1957 Illinois State Military survey showed that Mr. Winkler’s grave was marked with a government headstone.”
Weatherford was contacted by Jan and Greg Heath, who had found the old tombstone. They were aware that the groups worked on getting tombstones for veterans, and they wanted to locate where this one belonged.
Weatherford found that Winkler was buried in Greenwood Cemetery, and with the help of cemetery officials, they located his burial site.
“His small stone was almost unreadable. So, the timing was perfect,” Weatherford said. “We could have gotten a new stone for the veteran, but there’s something special about using one that was engraved for him so many years ago.
“We even located the government paperwork issuing this stone. It was cleaned and installed recently by Adams Memorials.”