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Repair is a matter of grave concern



Published: Thu, July 25, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The marker is one of earliest in the area for a Civil War soldier.

By AMY HOUSLEY

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

A MONUMENT TO AN EARLY WAR HERO from Trumbull County has been restored in Niles City Cemetery.

Last month, walking tours of the cemetery were led by historian Wendell Lauth. At that time, the group realized how many monuments and tombstones were in disrepair.

In preparing a map for the walking tour, Lauth discovered the grave of William VanWye, a sergeant who died in the Civil War.

"I knew he was here," Lauth said, adding he knew about where the grave was.

Lauth said the grave marker is one of the oldest in the area for a Civil War soldier.

VanWye was a part of the company known as the "Bloody Seventh" because of the number of deaths and injuries the unit experienced. The company was the earliest to leave Trumbull County for the war.

VanWye was killed at the battle of Ringgold in Georgia on Nov. 27, 1863. His obituary tells how he was one of the "best of soldiers," and was always kind and obedient and never complained.

The VanWye family owned a lot of property along what is now Warren-Niles Road. There were several siblings, and memorials to two of his sisters are to the side of his monument. The graves of his parents, Abram and Charrity, are just in front.

Repairing the damage

The monument to VanWye was found knocked over and twisted around, possibly as a result of the tornado of 1985. Half the marker was buried, and a vertical mark shows where it was underground.

"It shouldn't be lying there half-buried in the ground," said Lauth. The side with VanWye's memorial was only half-visible.

Jim Yuhasz of Holeton-Yuhasz Funeral Home did the repair work, which included laying a foundation for the monument three feet below the ground. He put the four pieces together and cleaned the resurrected monument.

The monument shows few scars, mostly the usual wear of the elements.

"We're really pleased it wasn't damaged," said Anne Townley, past president of the historical society who was instrumental in the restoration effort.

Toward the top of the marker, a soldier holding a rifle is chiseled into the stone, a rarity on such markers. Under that, the gravestone reads "Sergt William VanWye" and the date and name of the battle in which he was killed.

Lauth said it was most likely erected by the family because it does not match usual government memorials.

The individuals involved in the restoration hope that this will be the start of other similar projects in the cemetery. They also hope to get a marker placed at the monument explaining the site's historical importance.

ahousley@vindy.com




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