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Civil War Veteran Henry and Elizabeth Hagadorn

The “Companion” marker for Herbert J.,6, and Liddie Hagadorn,10 who died in October 1870 and are buried at Pioneer and Soldiers Cemetery. In the 1800’s “Companion” markers were often used for children who died within a short time. They were two of ten children of Henry and Elizabeth Hagadorn who later moved to Brainerd.

The “Companion” marker for Herbert J.,6, and Liddie Hagadorn,10 who died in October 1870 and are buried at Pioneer and Soldiers Cemetery. In the 1800’s “Companion” markers were often used for children who died within a short time. They were two of ten children of Henry and Elizabeth Hagadorn who later moved to Brainerd.

Two of ten children’s early deaths remembered with “Companion” marker

By Sue Hunter Weir

Herbert and Liddie Hagadorn are buried side by side, their graves spanned by a single marker. Theirs is what is known as a companion marker. In the 21st century, double markers usually mark the graves of married couples, but in the 19th century, they often marked the graves of siblings—children who died during an epidemic or from communicable disease, often within days of each other.

Herbert and Liddie’s marker is worn now and almost illegible. There is a dove carved into the marble over Liddie’s name and what appears to be a lamb over Herbert’s. You can still make out their father’s name; they were the children of Henry J. Hagadorn, a Civil War veteran, who served in Company H of the 7th Minnesota Infantry and his wife Elizabeth. Liddie was born two years before her father enlisted; Herbert was born three years after his father came home.

Henry Hagadorn enlisted on August 14, 1862, four days before the outbreak of the Dakota Conflict. He kept a diary from January 11, 1863 through August 31. The entries are short and focused on the weather which ranged from hot and dry to cold with heavy downpours. Food was often mouldy and in short supply, but at other times, when hunting and fishing were good, it was abundant. Henry was sick much of the time and complained that the surgeon had no medicine to give him. A religious man, he was distressed when he heard other soldiers swearing, especially on the Sabbath, and shocked by their lack of respect in the presence of a man who had died. He confessed “that [he] have seen but little of the wickedness and depravity of Man until [he] joined the army.”

There are two constant upbeat themes that ran throughout his diary, however. One is his love of the land. He found the land around Sauk Centre “as delightful a spot as the sun ever shone upon or man ever trod.” He loved the prairies and the forests—he loved it all.

The second constant was his love of his family. On May 5, 1863, when he was sick and confined to his tent, he wrote:

“I recieved [sic] a letter from my wife this evening in which I was very glad to hear that they were all well which is of much comfort to me at this time in these lonely hours which I pass alone in my tent with no one to comfort me…”

One of those who was doing well was Liddie, who would have been two or three years old at the time. Henry was discharged from the army for disability on January 22, 1864, He and Elizabeth had two children, one each in 1864 and 1865, before Herbert was born in 1867. In October 1870, Herbert and Liddie died. The cause of death for Herbert was given as “brain fever:” No cause of death was given for Liddie but since she died ten days after Herbert, it may well have been from the same cause. It is not clear what doctors meant when they diagnosed “brain fever.” It may have been meningitis, possibly encephalitis, or perhaps typhoid.

Henry and Elizabeth had eight children in addition to Herbert and Liddie. Sometime in the 1880s the family moved to Brainerd but they had marked Herbert and Liddie’s graves with a shared marker and 145 years later we know exactly where they are. Herbert and Liddie Hagadorn are buried in Lot 7, Block K.

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