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Veterans buried in Strang's Cemetery are remembered

May 26, 2003|By DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

SOUTH MOUNTAIN, Pa. - Sixteen million American men and women served in uniform during World War II, and the village and surrounding community of South Mountain sent its share of sons and daughters when the nation called.

Seventy-four veterans of that war are buried in Strang's Cemetery, nearly half the veterans from seven wars who found their final resting place in this Guilford Township meadow.

More than 50 people gathered in the cemetery Sunday for an outdoor service by the New Baltimore Church of God in honor of the veterans. Relatives placed 142 tiny flags in their memory around a small memorial to the three men from the community who died in action during World War II.

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As the roll call of veterans was read, many last names were said over and over.

Fifteen Bakers are among the 142 military veterans buried here.

One served in the Civil War, 10 in World War II, two in Korea, one in Vietnam and another who was in the armed forces but did not serve during war time.

Along with those who served in World War II, there are 18 from World War I, a dozen from Korea and 10 who served in the Civil War. Two each from the War of 1812 and the Spanish-American War of 1898 are here, along with seven from Vietnam and 17 whose military service occurred during peace time.

"This is for you, Dad. Thank you," said Edward Baker as he planted the Stars and Stripes in the soil. Baker's father served in the Army during World War II. Edward Baker was with the Marines in Vietnam in 1966-67.

Eva Daywalt Mowen placed a flag in memory of her late husband, Cleason C. Daywalt.

Book chronicles vets

Most of the veterans who found their final resting place here survived their wartime experiences and in many cases lived to a ripe old age, according to "Fallen, but not Forgotten: The Veterans of Strang's Cemetery," a book by New Baltimore Church of God Pastor Lee Daywalt that contains the names of all the veterans known to be buried here.

Leonard Martin Kauffman and Abram Staley lie here, although their war took place about half a century before the cemetery was established at the time of the Civil War, according to Daywalt. The veterans of the War of 1812 both lived through the Civil War and beyond.

Kauffman died at the age of 95 on Oct. 9, 1879. Staley was 104 and was Franklin County's oldest resident at the time of his death on Feb. 10, 1898, according to excerpts from his obituary in Daywalt's book.

"His sudden death will be learned with deep regret by many persons here and by hundreds who were at the Centennial Museum and grasped the hand of this venerable man," the Waynesboro (Pa.) Village Record related in the somewhat florid style of journalism that prevailed 105 years ago.

George Washington was president when Staley was born and William McKinley was in the White House when he died. The newspaper stated he was born in Germany and was the youngest of 15 boys.

His father, it noted, lived to be 107.

At the time of his death, Staley had 63 grandchildren, 163 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren. Seven Staleys, perhaps not all directly related, are among the veterans buried here.

Others remembered

Relatively few of the soldiers actually died in combat or of their wounds. One who did was Jacob Strang, who was 39 when he "died as a result of the War" on Nov. 8, 1865, his obituary noted. He lingered almost seven months after the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse.

Crawford Naugle was serving with an antitank unit in Sicily when he was killed in 1943. It was more than five years before his remains were returned from an overseas military cemetery to be reburied in Strang's Cemetery.

"Our congregation had him disinterred and brought here," Daywalt said.

"They brought back Harry Strang, too," he said of one of the three men from the community who were killed during the war. Strang, he said, is buried in another cemetery in the Waynesboro area.

Crawford Baker never returned home. He was killed on Nov. 11, 1944 - Veterans Day - in France, according to his brother, Luther Baker.

Baker said his brother was among those killed when an artillery round scored a direct hit on the vehicle in which they were riding. He remains buried in France.

"There were seven boys and all of us were in the service, except one. He was hard of hearing," said Luther Baker, a Korean War veteran.

His brothers Kenneth, Jesse, Alfred and Lloyd all are buried in this meadow among the pines. Ruth Mojecki, a Korean War veteran, was the lone woman among those honored Sunday.

Names are repeated

They rest here among many other family members. Wagaman, Verdier and Carbaugh are among the names repeated over and over among the rows of tombstones.

The small stone monument to Crawford Baker, Crawford Naugle and Harry Strang was moved here some years ago, according to Daywalt. It had been at the New Baltimore School, which has long since closed.

While doing his research, Daywalt relied primarily on the obituaries of the veterans.

"Some of those we couldn't find obituaries for, we used things like Civil War pension records," he said.

"Some of them, it's impossible to find their actual graves because they were marked with field stone," he said.

Their final resting places may in some cases be forgotten, but their lives and sacrifices have long been remembered by the loved ones who gathered for the service.

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