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Vern Paddock of McHenry was disturbed about the final resting place of some Lake County’s early settlers, including his own ancestors — buried in the 175-year-old Fort Hill Cemetery.

His “inquiries regarding ownership triggered a chain of events that eventually led to the pending transfer of the cemetery deed from Lake County to Avon Township” and extensive cleanup and professional stone repair has been completed. Read of this major project at

To “preserve the legacy of the Fort Hill Settlement and the individuals buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery,” Paddock has created a website at The toolbar across the top provides links to history (5 articles to read including Arthur Whitney of the 37th Illinois Infantry Regiment, and Tyler Cleveland & James McMillen of the 96th Illinois Infantry Regiment), genealogy (Fort Hill Cemetery inscriptions), preservation, contact and search.

Paddock has also written several genealogies of early settlers.

Cemetery preservation should be every citizen’s concern. Paddock is a fine example.

New markers for war vets

A cemetery in Oswego recently dedicated 22 military markers for Civil War veterans buried there. They include several African-Americans who served in Union units.

Information on this event, including the names of these 22 veterans and their units, can be found online at

Black veterans honored

The Union Baptist Cemetery “is the oldest Baptist African American cemetery in Cincinnati” and is the final resting place of at least 120 free black men who “fought as soldiers against a Confederate army that would have kept their people in bondage.”

One of these vets, Powhatan Beaty, “earned the highest honor a soldier can receive, the Medal of Honor.”

The story of the continuing restoration efforts can be read at Be sure to view the video included in the article, “Valor: The Story of the Union Baptist Cemetery.”

Fallen vets honored online

The Veterans Legacy Memorial is the first online digital platform dedicated entirely to memory reservation for the 3.7 million veterans interred in VA national cemeteries. Each veteran will have their own memorial page.

Search the site for veterans, find out where they are buried and read the details of their lives and service at

U.S. vets honored worldwide

The American Battle Monuments Commission was established by Congress in 1923 to be responsible “for the construction of monuments honoring the American Expeditionary Forces,” and later to “construct memorial chapels in the eight permanent military cemeteries in Europe.”

Today, the ABMC is in charge of 26 permanent American burial grounds and 30 separate monuments and markers overseas. The ABMC has posted a beautifully illustrated Commemorative Sites Booklet, with details of each memorial, at This pamphlet would be a valuable addition to any genealogical researcher’s library! It includes instructions to visitors, services to the public (e.g., floral decorations, headstone photos, etc.) and education programs.

It is possible to search the ABMC database of burials and memorials for a fallen veteran at For example, a search for a cousin whose plane was shot down over the Pacific in WWII, Calvin Raymond, results in a page giving his full name, rank (corporal), service/serial number, branch (U.S. Army Air Force), war/conflict (World War II), cemetery/memorial (Honolulu Memorial) and home state (New York).

There are 18,095 names of WWII veterans, 8,209 Korean Conflict veterans and 2,504 Vietnam War veterans listed on that Honolulu Memorial. Other ABMC Memorials are equally impressive.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.