Drake cemeteryCivil War veterans remembered in Boone County

By Lisa Rodgers


CALEDONIA-It was a sunny, crisp morning at Drake Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 17. Fall leaves scattered the ground where a ceremony to honor and remember three men buried over 150 years ago.

Had it not been for a young Boy Scout by the name of Andrew Geyer looking for an Eagle Scout project, they would most likely have been for forgotten in the annals of history. He did not intentionally set out to find them, but instead, his project would reveal their final, unmarked resting place.

Eagle Scout Andrew Geyer went above and beyond the requirements of his Eagle Scout badge to see his project completed. His commitment to Drake Cemetery and three Civil War Veterans came to a full completion on Saturday; three years after earning his Eagle Scout.

A service of dedication was held at Drake Cemetery as new headstones now reside in the cemetery. Honored were Private Alanson T. Knox: 95th IL US INF GAR Co K; mustered in 4 Sept. 1862, killed in action at Siege of Vicksburg, MS on 24 June 1863, Private Oscar O. Knox: 153rd IL US INF Co A; mustered in 7 Feb. 1865, mustered out 21 Sept. 1865, and Private Nelson P. Rice: 18th Cavalry 163rd Reg Co B Pennsylvania; mustered in 19 Sept. 1862, mustered out 11 July 1865.Their bodies were returned and buried in Drake Cemetery.

The Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War John Logan Camp #26, Rockford, Ill., along with Eagle Scout Andrew Geyer and his Boy Scout Troop 141(St. James, Belvidere, Ill.) participated in the event. The service was adapted from the 1917 Service for the use of the Grand Army of the Republic; it was used to dedicate a headstone for a Civil War veteran.

Steve Haight who served as Commander this day is a member of The Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War John Logan Camp #26, Rockford, Ill.

He opened with the following remarks:

“Brothers, we have met here as Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War to consign to the house prepared for the living, the memory of these soldiers of this country, Private Alanson Knox, Private Oscar Knox and Private Nelson Rice. The march of these soldiers is over. Let us remember Comrades Private Alanson Knox, Private Oscar Knox and Private Nelson Rice here at rest under the blue skies of Heaven, guarded by the silent stars that in life watched over them when they bivouacked on the battlefields or lay down weary and foot-sore on the soil of the Southland.”

“May we, as we stand here by their graves remember that it is our duty, as Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War to honor the memory of the men who stood shoulder to shoulder on the bloody fields of battle, who guarded so faithfully, so honestly and so well the sacred bonds of Statehood and who fought for liberty and the dear old Flag. They have passed away to their final review and upon us has devolved the sacred right of heritage the duty of perpetuating the principles for which they fought. May we not forget as the years roll on that we too shall have battles to fight, that in time we too shall be carried to the silent city of the dead and that our lives here should be but fit us the great bivouac of Eternity.”

Philip Thompson who served as Chaplain said the following:

“God of battles and peace. Ruler of the destinies of country and men. In this silent camping ground of the dead we come before Thee asking Thy blessing as we honor the memory of these defenders of our country’s honor. Wilt Thou in Thy infinite tenderness comfort those who mourn these…Look in mercy we pray Thee, upon the widows and orphans of deceased veterans everywhere. Bless and save from every evil the country for which these soldiers and our fathers fought…and at last grant that we may all meet before Thy throne and to Thy name shall we ascribe praise both now and forever. Amen.”

“We are very proud of the effort put forth by Eagle Scout Andrew Geyer. He revitalized a down trodden cemetery,” said Paul Zeien Senior Vice Commander for the State of Illinois and Secretary for Logan Camp #26.

Drake Cemetery is located on Dawson Lake Road, between Route 76 and Caledonia Road.

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