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Black Civil War soldier gets headstone

Nov. 8, 2010 at 7:30 PM   |   Comments

CINCINNATI, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A black Civil War veteran, buried in an Ohio cemetery for the indigent, will finally get a marked grave and headstone after 84 years, officials say.

Clay Trotter, who fought for the Union Army and lived to be 90 years old, was buried in an unmarked grave at the private Hill Crest Cemetery in Anderson Township along with 1,388 other African-Americans denied burial and headstones elsewhere.

The cemetery was eventually abandoned and left to the elements. Vandals either knocked down or stole many headstones, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Eventually it was restored with the Ohio National Guard setting up knocked down headstones and replacing missing ones. All were found but two: the one belonging to Clay Trotter, and one they still can't identify, Anderson Township Trustee Russ Jackson said.

Jackson worked with Township Administrator Vicky Earhart to locate Trotter's burial card and Trotter's actual burial place using a ground probe, the Enquirer said Sunday.

"We don't know if the grave ever got a headstone or if it was put in the wrong place," Jackson said.

The American Legion Post 318 honor guard will pay tribute Thursday when a headstone is finally placed at the grave of Clay Trotter.

"Every veteran deserves recognition for their service to their country and for the sacrifices they made, regardless of whether it was yesterday or 150 years ago," said Don Bishop, post commander. "This gives us an opportunity to do something very special."

© 2010 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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