Soldier gets tombstone, 100 years later

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 29, 2008

AID TOWNSHIP — It’s a bit late — more than 100 years late — but for Bill Crawford, this tribute to a long-departed ancestor is truly better late than never.

Last week Crawford and his wife, Dana, traveled from their home in Jacksonville Fla., to Aid Township to place a tombstone on or near the grave of Bill Crawford’s great granduncle, Alexander Crawford, who fought in the Civil War as a member of the West Virginia 5th Infantry.

Bill Crawford said he became interested in genealogy “probably 15 years ago. My parents were dead and gone and I got into it,” he explained. “I was curious about my father. He was born and raised in Ironton and then moved away when he entered the Navy.”

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Within the last 10 years, Bill Crawford became familiar with Alexander. He knew his great granduncle was buried in Aid Cemetery, along with Alexander’s wife, Mary. But exactly where was more of a question.

“Alexander’s brother, mother and two sisters are buried there so I assume he is somewhere in that area. I don’t know exactly where,” Bill Crawford said. “I won’t be exact but I will be close.”

After perusing the graveyard, Crawford got an idea where this ancestor is likely buried and arranged for the tombstone. The Veteran’s Administration provided the marker.

One mystery remains: what ever happened to Alexander’s descendants - Bill’s distant cousins? He doesn’t know. He has never found any of them but he would like to.

For Crawford, this tribute to his great granduncle is also a salute to a fellow veteran. Bill Crawford, his father, brother and now son have all been proud to wear a Navy uniform. Insuring a monument at the head of a comrade

“I want to honor him,” Crawford said. “We’ve had someone in the military in every war and I didn’t want to miss one.”