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Grave Concerns

FORT WAYNE, IND. (WPTA21)-When you stroll through Fort Wayne’s historic Lindenwood Cemetery, if you ever do, you rub shoulders with the men and women who built this town. Names like McMillan, Shoaff, Foellinger, Quimby…familiar names still. But lost among the grand memorials these movers and shakers built for themselves is a humble headstone, the resting place of one of this city’s true hero’s, Col. Scion Bass, his grave a neglected spot. Until now.

He was a big supporter of Lincoln,” says Civil War reenactor Russell Gillion. “He had a calling to support the Union keep things unified and fight slavery.”

On this day Dr. Russell Gilliom and grandson Zachery have come to pay their respects to Scion Bass, honoring what this young man did and what he died for.

When America’s Civil War broke out in 1861 Scion Bass signed up to fight for the Union, organized the 30th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, farm boys mostly. Bass could have avoided the war, could have worked for his brother John, owner of Fort Wayne’s immense Bass Foundry. But he went to war instead, was wounded leading his regiment at the Battle of Shiloh and died seven days later. Today the 30th Indiana Reenactors keep the regiment’s legacy alive and the group is raising money to restore Scion Bass’s headstone. The base is falling apart, the marble headstone cracked and chipped and covered with lichen. Russell Gilliom portrays a medical officer with the 30th Reenactors.

We’re trying to restore this monument for a really great man,” he says, “who sacrificed his life…to defend the United States to keep it united and to defeat the concept and idea of slavery.”

Directly across from the Bass grave site rests another Civil War veteran, Eliza George, Mother George she was called, a volunteer nurse who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the conflict. She contracted typhoid at a Civil War hospital and died in 1865 at age 57. The 30th Reenactors will restore her monument and the Bass grave site this Fall and rededicate them in a ceremony next Spring. Their resting places will still pale in comparison to monuments erected by Fort Wayne’s rich and famous. But there will be no shortage of people who remember and admire what they did, and no shortage of those who hope the rest of us might follow suit.

Eric Olson

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