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Sunday November 19th 2017

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The count of Union and Confederate Civil War Veterans remains challenging

Handwriting idiosyncrasies and paper folds led to misreading of application ordering a tombstone for James Parker as a Civil War Union Veteran when burial was of Jonas Parker who was not a Veteran.

Part I: One Union Veteran Lost but Another Gained Two New Confederate Veterans

By TIMOTHY McCALL, Guest Writer

All right, so we didn’t actually “lose” a Civil War Veteran–as it turns out, he never was one.  Let me explain.   In the early 1930s -1940s, a concerted effort was made to identify and acquire markers for all of the Veterans buried in the cemetery.  The effort was probably led by Albert Nelson, the cemetery’s caretaker.  Researching the cemetery’s occupants’ history and genealogy in the early-mid 20th century must have been a herculean task considering that the availability of information was limited to printed material, telephone calls and writing letters to known genealogical sources, i.e., libraries and historical societies.

It was in early 1932, that an application was filed with the War Department to have a headstone made and shipped to Pionee rs and Soldiers Cemetery for one James Parker, who had served in Company A, 1st Minnesota Cavalry.  Most likely due to the handwriting of Health Officer Thomas F. Quimby and an inconvenient crease running through the deceased’s name on his burial permit, the gentleman’s name appears to be James, but is actually Jonas.  Jonas B. Parker was born in Nova Scotia, Canada about 1812.  He arrived in the U.S. sometime after 1871 and was living in Gates, Monroe County, New York, with his son and daughter-in-law in 1880.  His occupation is listed as “Shoe Maker”.  Why he came to Minnesota is anybody’s guess, but it’s most likely that he came with one of his children.  Jonas B. Parker died on December 28, 1884 at the age of 73 years, cause of death was “Senile Debility”.  His grave is located in Lot 37, Block G and is marked by a white marble, Union military marker with the name James Parker.

Our two recently identified  Civil War Veterans are; Nathan W. Dutiel, who served in Company F, 8th Illinois Infantry and Isaac Breathed, who is our second confirmed Confederate Veteran. He served in Company A, 43rd Battalion, Virginia Cavalry, also known as Mosby’s Rangers.

Nathan W. Dutiel was born in Iowa and was a farmer for most of his early life.  He moved to Illinois sometime after 1856.  When the Civil War began, Nathan, unlike so many his age, decided not to volunteer for service, but to continue his vocation of farming.  By 1863, the need for men on both sides of the conflict had become so great, that the governments had no choice but to institute a draft.  Nathan registered for the draft in Brown County, Illinois, during the month of June 1863. He was called up for service and mustered in on October 13, 1864.  He served most of his time in Tennessee and Alabama and was mustered out of service on July 14, 1865.  After the war, Nathan married Katherine Faning around 1867 in Illinois. Their first daughter was born about 1868 in Illinois; she was followed by three children born in Iowa and the Dutiels’ final three in Minnesota, for a total of seven children. The Dutiel family arrived in Minneapolis in 1878. Nathan’s time in the South had taken its toll on his health, as stated on the “1890 Special Schedule – Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Widows:” “Has been in feeble health since (the war).”  Probably due to his poor health, he was limited to finding employment that was less physical in nature and so held the position of “watchman” for the last 14 years of his life.  He filed for and received a military pension in 1890.  Upon his death, his wife received a widow’s pension. Nathan died from “General Debility” at the age of 54 years, on November 6, 1892, and is buried in Lot 58, Block N. 

Isaac Breathed’s story will be in Part II of this article.  So check back next month and I’ll even include Derusha Daffin’s story, our first confirmed Confederate Veteran. Captain of Company E, 4th Alabama Militia Infantry Regiment, clerk of the Circuit Court of Clarke County, Alabama, newspaper publisher, poet, land owner and more.  Derusha Daffin, you just can’t make these names up.

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