|New head stone for Corp. John W. Miller|
Photos and Blog by Randy Economy
April 9, 2011
Talk about an incredible memorial service for someone no one really knew. Today around a hundred community members gathered today to pay respect to a real American Civil War Hero who has been "resting" in the same cemetery plot...unnoticed for more than 100 years.
Until recently, no one actually new his identity. But after a lot of keen "detective work," the mystery of who was in the "unmarked" grave at the Artesia Cemetery for more than a century has been solved.
Today, Corporal John W. Miller, who was born in 1831, and who died in 1909...finally...was given his gravestone in an emotional ceremony today in the historical Artesia Cemetery here on Artesia Boulevard in the city of Cerritos.
Miller was a "Unionist." He stood about 5'6, and had a light complexion, auburn hair and piercing blue eyes.
He was a Protestant and he was well educated, meaning he could write and read well during those times.
Miller was born to Miles and Rebecca Miller on October 24, 183 in Ohio. Miller jumped around in the mid west living in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa before moving to California in around 1870 where he eventually settled in the Norwalk-Downey-Artesia area.
Cerritos was not around in those days, other than dairy and farm land. On August 13, 1908 he moved into the Sawtelle Old Soldier's Home, and contracted pneumonia and passed away during the early hours of March 29, 1909.
|21 Gun Salute with REAL MUSKETS!|
|Randy Economy (with glasses now....yikes) and event organizer Robert Yuetter from the Artesia Cemetery District!|
The month John Miller enlisted his regiment was severely engaged in the vicinity of Liberty and Brookhaven, Louisana, taking many prisoners, capturing a canon and in destroying contraband and medical supplies and burning down a depot of the N.O.R.R. After a seven day expedition, they returned to Baton Rouge, having marched over 200 miles and being in combat for more than five of those seven days. Man, these guys were the "real" deal, if you can put your place in their boots. (BTW...I wonder what was considered to be "contraband" at that time....as compared to today's standards of the term?)
Today during the hour long ceremony that was well attended by many local dignitaries and elected officials and retired and some active military members, Miller was honored with the installation and dedication of his grave stone after the grave had gone unnoticed for more than a century.
|Me and my new "peeps!"|
Today, the surviving great great great grandson of Corporal Miller was in attendance at the ceremony.
A United States Flag was presented to the Miller family that was flown over the US Capital Building on March 29, 2011 at the request of Congressman Dan Lungren of California.
A Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition was presented on behalf of Congressman Bobby Schilling of Illinois.
What a honor. What a morning.
Let Freedom Ring!