I came across a letter a few days ago concerning my great great grandfather that was published online at the end of May in the Bloomer Advance, an online edition of the community newspaper in Bloomer, Wisconsin, which is the nearest town to the Chippewa County homestead in Tilden where my great grandparents settled around 1880.
The letter was written by Vernon Kressin, whose wife, Lois, it seems, is a long lost cousin of mine. You can read his letter if you click on the link. It's only a few short paragraphs. I'm not sure exactly how I'm related to his wife, although my guess would be that she's the daughter of one of my grandfather's sisters. The letter reveals that Vernon and Lois actually visited my great great grandfather's grave at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis and that to date she is perhaps the only one of his descendants who has done so.
Vernon's letter mentions that my great great grandfather, William Lubach, fell ill with the flu while returning from the war, but that's not entirely accurate. He died and was buried on July 27th, 1865, while the rest of his unit was still stationed on the island of Brazos Santiago at the mouth of the Rio Grande, two months after the war had officially ended. His unit, the 27th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, marched on Brownsville on the 1st of August that year. The rebels there surrendered a few days later and the unit was mustered out of service in Brownsville during the last week of August. My guess is that my great great grandfather fell ill in July and was evacuated to the hospital at Jefferson Barracks, which was reputedly the best military hospital in the western theatre at that time. An aunt recently sent me an e-mail which suggests that he died of yellow fever.
I'm not sure exactly when Vernon and Lois made their pilgrimage to St. Louis. I think it's nice that they did, but it seems to me that it's also an indication that my family back in Wisconsin knew about my great great grandfather's Civil War service. So why is that important?
I have two brothers and three male cousins. So there are six of us capable of passing my great great grandfather's surname along to a sixth generation since his arrival in America in 1856. One of my cousins is older than I am. My youngest brother is only 36. Among us we have sired three daughters and no sons.
I guess what I am wondering is why I had to learn about this situation by putting the pieces of the puzzle together on the internet instead of hearing the news directly from my extended family. My website has been up and running for a whole year now and Vernon's letter is the first published acknowledgement I have had from any of my relatives, by blood or by marriage, that I am on the right track.
If you click on the Obituary link on the Bloomer Advance site and run down the list, you might notice that Vernon's brother, Norbert, died about a month ago at the age of 82. I assume Vernon is roughly the same age as his brother. If you are reading this, Vernon, please accept my condolences on the loss of your brother. And thank you, God bless you, in fact, for spilling the beans after all these years.
Oh, and by the way, my wife and I are celebrating our 18th wedding anniversary today. Cheers.