Michigan Civil War Soldier’s Grave Finally Gets Headstone

By Associated Press

January 30, 2023

EMPIRE—The grave of a man who served in the US Civil War has been formally marked at a northern Michigan cemetery.

Claude Fields ensured that Ruel Boynton’s service wouldn’t be forgotten.

Fields, manager of the Maple Grove cemetery in Empire Township, has performed research on many of the dead who are buried there, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

“We can’t have a vet in here with no headstone,” Fields said. “That isn’t right.”

Working with Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home, he contacted the US Department of Veterans Affairs, which approved a headstone for Boynton, who died in 1910 after settling on a 160-acre farm in Leelanau County after the war. His wife’s name was Martha and they had eight children.

“It was lovely to see that Claude respected the cemetery and the veterans and wanted to see that they were honored, not just now but into the future,” said Megan Fryer of the funeral home.

Fields’ research has also led to recognition of the graves of six men who worked for the US Life-Saving Service, the predecessor of the Coast Guard.


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