The unmarked graves of two local Civil War veterans will soon be honored with military headstones.
Separate consecutive ceremonies to dedicate military gravestones for the pair of men will start at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6, in Granby Memorial Cemetery in Granby.
The event is organized by Campbell’s Company Camp 2252, Sons of Confederate Veterans, a heritage organization made up of blood descendants of Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines. Campbell’s Company Camp is based in Republic and has several local members.
Currently unmarked by any grave memorial are Private Benjamin J. Lowther, Company K, 8th Missouri Infantry (CSA) and Private William E. Seat, Company E, 16th Missouri Infantry (CSA). Both men are buried in the same cemetery, according to their respective death certificates.
It is unclear why Lowther and Seat are unmarked. If they ever had gravestones, they aren’t there now, say event organizers.
After getting a green light from the cemetery board and the Granby City Council, the Camp applied to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for military markers for the two men. The VA requires strict documentation of military service and place of burial, which was provided and approved.
According to U.S. Public Law 810 and U.S. Public Law 85-425: Section 410, Confederate veterans are recognized as American veterans, and equal in official status to Union veterans.
According to his death certificate, Lowther was born Jan. 8, 1840, in Higginsville, Ark. A decade later his family was living in Jasper County, Mo., per census records, though Benjamin seems to have migrated to Newton County as a young man.
A little over a year after the Civil War broke out, Lowther enlisted in what would eventually become Company K, 8th Missouri Infantry, Confederate States Army. He fought in a handful of major battles on the west side of the Mississippi River, including engagements at Pleasant Hill, La., Jenkins Ferry, Ark., and possibly Prairie Grove, Ark.
After the war he returned to Newton County, became a farmer, was married, and raised a family. He died of a heart attack on April 29, 1914, in Granby.
Seat was born in Kentucky on Feb. 18, 1844, according to his death certificate. By 1860 the family had relocated to a farm outside of Granby.
When the War Between the States started, Seat was only 16 years old. The following year, at age 17, he enlisted in what would become Company E, 16th Missouri Infantry, Confederate States Army. He fought in the Battle of Prairie Grove, Ark., the Battle of Helena, Ark., the Battle of Pleasant Hill, La., and the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, Ark.
When the war ended he returned home to the family farm in Newton County, eventually married, started his own farm, and raised a family. He died of tuberculosis on May 21, 1926, in Granby.
Because the military headstones are to be placed in the two men’s respective family plots in the cemetery, two back-to-back ceremonies will be held, each lasting about 20 minutes, say organizers. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.
“We are thrilled to be honoring a couple of local boys from local units who fought for Missouri and for Southern independence,” said Travis Archie, commander of Campbell’s Company Camp.
“There’s a very special story there and it is our privilege to be able to recognize the service of these two brave men. Special thanks to the cemetery board and to the City of Granby for their support and assistance in making this day happen.”
Granby Memorial Cemetery is located at Cemetery Road and Main Street in Granby. At the blinking yellow light in Granby, turn south onto Main Street and travel 1.3 miles. The cemetery is on the west side of the road.
For more information, please call (417) 658-8443 or (417) 840-7675.
By Wes Franklin