Our forgotten veterans


By Michael Ullery



Mike Ullery | Daily Call Steve Greggerson of the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency points out one of the many graves of veterans buried at the historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency. It is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston's family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.


PIQUA — When we think of veterans and their final resting places, our minds are drawn to places like Arlington National Cemetery.

Locally, our first thoughts would be the veterans sections of Forest Hill Cemetery in Piqua, Riverside Cemetery in Troy, or maybe Miami Memorial Park near Covington. All have sections devoted solely to our nation’s veterans. All are faithfully and lovingly cared for in keeping with the respect owed to our veterans.

Just north of Piqua, along State Route 66, the road to Detroit that became known as “Blood Road” during the French and Indian Wars, on a piece of rolling land, dotted with large shade trees, is the Johnston Family Cemetery. Many are familiar with the story of Col. John Johnston, whose land and home are now the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency.

Col. Johnston himself was a veteran, having served his country during the War of 1812. A number of Johnston’s family members also picked up arms for their country. At least two of Johnston’s sons died in the service of our country.

Resting along side Col. Johnston and members of his family are more than 50 of our nation’s veterans, lying in honor, on ground no less hallowed than Arlington National Cemetery.

Veterans who rest in peace at the Johnston Family Cemetery fought in every major conflict, beginning with the Revolutionary War and ending with World War II.

Joseph Hutton DeFrees, a member of the Pennsylvania Battalion of Artillery Militia during the Revolutionary War rests in the cemetery. The marker at the head of his final resting place is no longer in place.

Several members of the 110th Ohio Volunteer Infantry are buried in the cemetery. Their graves are significant in that they trained to fight and bivouacked in the fields of Col. Johnston’s farm, within sight of where they rest today.

Other Civil War veterans in the cemetery include John Hamilton Patterson, who died during Battle of Franklin (Tennessee) at the age of 22 years, 11 months, 14 days. Twenty-three-year-old Robert G. Ginn, of the 50th OVI, died in the same battle.

Another marker with local ties is the grave of Virgil E. Coyne, a MSGT in the United States Army. Coyne was a World War I veteran who re-enlisted at the age of 49 in order to serve his country during World War II. He lost his life in Africa in 1943. Coyne’s son, Sturkell, who is also a veteran, still resides in Piqua.

Some unknown veterans are probably interred in the cemetery. According to Steve Greggerson, an employee at the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency who has devoted many hours to researching the cemetery, when the Old Wood Street Cemetery, located at the corner of Wood and Wayne streets, was removed, “several gravel-wagon loads of remains” were moved to the Johnston Family Cemetery, where they were buried in a mass grave.

The last veteran to be buried at the cemetery was in 2005.

Some of these veterans have grave markers and headstones noting their service. In many cases, the ravages of time have caused the engraving on headstones to become unreadable, names lost to the sands of time.

“Unreadable,” said Greggerson, “just faded away.”

Andy Hite, site manager for the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency said, “To find many of these Americans to whom we owe a great debt, one has to search a bit, as many of these graves are not yet marked as the graves of America’s veterans. It is worth a visit to walk in the silence of the cemetery and contemplate what each one of these veterans experienced in service to their country, and as you depart, don’t forget to say a quiet ‘thank you for your service’ to each individual who is laid to rest here.”

Mike Ullery | Daily Call Steve Greggerson of the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency points out one of the many graves of veterans buried at the historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency. It is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_052416mju_johnstonfarmcemetery.jpgMike Ullery | Daily Call Steve Greggerson of the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency points out one of the many graves of veterans buried at the historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency. It is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1336.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1341.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1343.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1346.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1351.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1359.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1365.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1369.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1371.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1381.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1389.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1398.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

The historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.
http://dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/web1_MU2_1401.jpgThe historic Johnston Family Cemetery, which sits adjacent to the John Johnston Farm & Indian Agency is not only the final resting place to members of Col. John Johnston’s family but a number of other war veterans, ranging from Revolutionary War era to World War II.

By Michael Ullery

Reach Mike Ullery at (937) 451-3335 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach Mike Ullery at (937) 451-3335 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

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