In early October, 2012, I had the opportunity to visit the Kosciusko/Wabash County area of Indiana for the first time. Late in the afternoon of October 4th, I visited the small South Pleasant Methodist Church and Cemetery in North Manchester where Charles F. and Mary Nelson are buried.
The cemetery is located at a crossroads, deep in Indiana farm country, a few miles south of Silver Lake. While modern in appearance, I can’t help but wonder if it looks that much different from the farms that the veterans of the 12th Indiana Infantry returned to in 1865.
Visiting the cemetery 150 years removed from the events depicted in CFN’s diary was special to me. It’s a peaceful place and if you have read this blog carefully, you will see some photos above of the grave markers of not only Charles and Mary, but of others Charles mentioned in his diary. Names such as Jontz, Rittenhouse, Sherbondy. They were not only comrades at arms, but neighbors and family that joined the 12th Indiana together, sharing the deprivations, the fears, the dangers, the illnesses, the defeats and the victories of the Civil War.
Most made it home, but some did not. I’m grateful for the service that Charles gave to our country, grateful for my relatives that made it possible for me to read Charles’ diary, and thankful for the opportunity to share it with others via this blog.
I don’t know much about Charles’ and Mary’s life after the war. Somewhere in my “files” I have a copy of Charles’ military pension records. As I recall, and is mentioned in the opening notes of the diary, the war took a physical toll on Charles. He returned to the farm near Silver Lake after the war, but some years later began experiencing health problems, most likely a heart ailment. He was later listed as a common laborer rather than a farmer. I suppose that working of the farm became too much for him, or was left to the younger generation.
Charles F. Nelson was born September 1, 1824 and died January 10, 1883, aged 58 years, 4 months, 9 days.
Mary Rittenhouse Nelson was born January 16, 1828 and died April 29, 1908, aged 80 years, 3 months, 14 days.