April 21, 2005

Organizers Plan Practice For Civil War Union Burial

Members of the Sons and Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War and citizens of Memphis have been hard at work for over eight months planning for the last known funeral and burial of a Union soldier. They are drawing on help from many people and organizations to be a part of this. To assure that they are ready for the services on May 27 and 28, 2005, they have scheduled a practice session at the Keokuk, IA Civil War reenactment on April 23, 2005. This will take place at Rand Park on the battlefield near the medical tents at 4:00 p.m.

The public is welcome to view the event as organizers practice with the 1861 horse driven hearse. The pallbearers will practice unloading and loading the empty wooden coffin, folding of the flag used as a pall. Spectators will also be able to see a practice run of the Grand Army of the Republic Burial of the Dead services, the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861-1865 Veterans Memorial service, and the Infantry, Artillery and Bugle salutes.

Members not in the practice will be on hand to pass out flyers and answer questions. Commemorative T-shirts and Memorial Cockades will be available for purchase to help fund the funeral and burial.

Corporal John Peyton Byrne served with the 21st MO Inf. Company I during the Civil War. He died on January 6, 1920. He was cremated and his sealed urn was put on a shelf in the “dead zone” waiting for someone to bring him home to Missouri.

During genealogy research, a niece discovered where he was and claimed his cremains to fulfill his wishes to be brought home and buried next to his brother in the Byrne family plot at the Memphis, MO city cemetery.

A vigil and wake will begin at noon on Friday May 27 until noon on Saturday May 28, 2005. During this time, visitors will be allowed to pass through the Payne Funeral Chapel on the northeast corner of the Memphis square, where Corporal Byrne will lie in state with full military changing of the guards every half hour. Memorial ribbons and Death Notice cards will be given out to the visitors.

During Friday afternoon and evening, historical, educational and musical entertainment will take place at the Scotland County courthouse steps in the center of the Memphis square. The funeral parade will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday May 28, 2005 from the funeral chapel to the cemetery. The graveside funeral services will begin at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Memphis area citizens that are needing period clothing and accessories are encouraged to shop at the Keokuk, IA reenactment. James Country Merchantile, the official sutler for the funeral and burial will be there with a full line of items including black crepe for mourning. They will also have their sutlery tent set up on the north side of the court house lawn for last minute items and to deliver prearranged orders starting on Wednesday evening, May 25, 2005.

To view pictures and information on the hearse, please check this web site www.civilwarundertaker.net

To check the schedule for the Keokuk, IA. Civil War reenactment, check www.keokukiowatourism.org/civilwar.htm

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