SHILOH – Tom Schwarztrauber and the O’Fallon Historical Society are seeking community help in funding cenotaphs for patriots buried in the Shiloh Valley Cemetery. Schwarztrauber began the project in 2015 and hopes to ultimately complete five cenotaphs.
The five men are buried along what he calls “American Patriots’ Row.” The four men he hopes to provide cenotaphs for are Colonel John Thomas, Captain Joseph Ogle, Private Larkin Rutherford and Lieutenant William “Turkey Hill” Scott, and then there is also a grave for Eleazer Allyn.
In 2015, Schwarztrauber began by getting a cenotaph placed for Captain Ogle, who was the first resident of Prairie Ridge that later became O’Fallon. “I procured a free grave plot in the Shiloh Valley Cemetery through Dave Tiedemann, Shiloh Valley Township, for it’s 2015 placement,” he said.
The next cenotaph Schwarztrauber worked on was for Private Larkin Rutherford. “I first received a grave plot from the Shiloh Valley Board for a spot to place a cenotaph. I asked the Belleville Chapter of the NSDAR if they would take on this on as their project, to have a dedication. They were having a meeting immediately following my conversation with them. The answer came back that they would do the dedication, but to proceed they would have to confirm with their National Headquarters’ National Historian to research for the proper wording on a DAR plaque. This whole process might take a year. Then I had to wait as their National DAR Historian verified what could be placed on the DAR Plaque. That took many months of waiting. Now it has been approved and the plaque is being made. The OHS allowed me to create a Cemetery Fund to allow Donors toward this project to receive a Tax Deduction for their donations toward the estimated $2,000 fund goal. Funds have come in, although a little short of my goal,” said Schwarztrauber. Don Tisch of the Tisch Monument Company in Belleville which allowed Schwarztrauber to save on the estimated end budget. The Daughters of the American Revolution dedication ceremony will take place at the Shiloh Valley Cemetery on May 20th at 2:00 p.m..
Since the DAR plaque addition has taken so long, Schwarztrauber is moving ahead with the third cenotaph and has no plans to ask for a DAR dedication at this time. The third cenotaph is for Schwarztrauber’s 5th great grandfather Lt. William “Turkey Hill” Scott, the first resident of Turkey Hill. Schwarztrauber found out the Scott was buried in Shiloh Cemetery after he was doing some research following a request for information on the Turkey Hill area by author Jack LeChien.
“I realized that my work here was not finished with my Rutherford project. I was granted a third plot by the Shiloh Board, which I’m thankful for, so I began a new appeal for funding of a memorial cenotaph for Scott. This time I’d only need the funds for the actual cenotaph from Tisch Monument Company. Within days of my announcement of doing this Scott Project, I, with my cousinsTim Ogle, Donn Beedle and Dorothy Scott-Falk had donated $351 of the estimated $1,000 needed” he said.
Schwarztrauber made an appeal to Shiloh Mayor Jim Vernier for funds for the cemetery project, and within 24 hours, on March 9th, he received notice from the Village of Shiloh that they would be donating $500.00 to the project. “That was over half of my goal. Thank you to the Village of Shiloh and Mayor Vernier for that honor,” said Schwarztrauber.
Now at a total of $851.00, Schwarztrauber and the OHS are so close to their goal. “Please help if you can. No donation is too big or too small, and all donations are tax deductible. Thanks for considering to help fund this project to honor this local Illinois pioneer who is buried in the Shiloh cemetery.”
Donation checks can be made out to the O’Fallon Historical Society. and Schwarztrauber asks that people write “Cemetery Fund” in the notation field so they know where to place the donation. Checks can be mailed to the O’Fallon Historical Society, PO Box 344, O’Fallon, Illinois 62269-0344.