Relative provides gravestone for Civil War soldier

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg man helped make sure his great-great grandfather’s Civil War service would be remembered.

Brett Hickle recently secured a military gravemarker for Ethelbert O. Hickle who served in Co. E 14th PA. Cavalry during the Civil War.

“I found his grave roughly 10 years ago,” Hickle said. “At that time (the gravestone) was getting hard to read.

“He died around 1911. I marked it with a GPS so it could be found. I monitored it for a few years. Last October, I saw it had been knocked over. I decided to apply and get him a military tombstone to honor his service in the Civil War.”

The new stone was dedicated Oct. 19 at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Fairchance, Pa.

Ethelbert O. Hickle, along with his brother Aaron, enlisted on Nov. 23, 1862, and was discharged as a private on May 30, 1865.

The 14th Pa. Cavalry, was stationed at Harper’s Ferry, Va. (now W.Va.), fought at Mill Point and Droop Mountain. It also was stationed in Parkersburg, Va. (now W.Va.), and fought at New Market and Piedmont.

Hickle, who is a graduate student at West Virginia University and is student teaching, thought it was interesting that his great-great grandfather was stationed in the area that would eventually become his descendant’s home.

He has been doing a lot of geneological work on his family after finding out he was supposedly related to abolitionist John Brown.

“I found out this was my great-great grandfather and I wanted to figure out where he was buried,” Hickle said. “I found out he was buried in a Fairchance cemetery. I had no idea where a Fairchance Cemetery was.

“I knew where Fairchance, Pa., (which is between Morgantown, W.Va. and Uniontown, Pa.) was because that is where my father’s side of the family was from.”

Hickle worked for more than a year to get the stone. He contacted Fayette County Veterans Affairs for information, had to get permission from the cemetery to place the stone, had to provide proof of military service with his great-great grandfather’s burial card and he went through the federal Veterans Affairs office’s National Cemetery Administration’s Memorial Program Service.

He also received help from Pennsylvania state Rep. Tim Mahoney.

“I have had relatives, you go to where they are buried and they were honored for their miliary service,” Hickle said. “I did not want him to become a forgotten veteran.”

The gravestone dedication was attended were member’s of Hickle’s family including Terry and Gayla Hickle, Brett Hickle, Ralph and Patricia Hickle, Shannon Hickle Spade and her husband Kenny Spade, Harriette Hickle, Dell Hickle, Michele Ravenscroft, Tim and Lois Hickle, Tonya Hickle. Chris Lilley came in from Pittsburgh to attend the service.

Also in attendance were Nell Swaney Budinsky and her family. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War attended with Tim Ryan speaking at the service. Also attending were the Hopwood AmVets, Joe T. Joseph of War and Veterans Inc., and Mahoney.

Hickle was working on another project involving another relative’s military service when he received a certificate from the government with the president’s signature on it. The certificate said the United States of America honors the memory of Ethelbert O. Hickle. The certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States.

“I was surprised,” Hickle said. “I was not expecting this certificate. It just showed up in the mail. I thought it had to do with the other project I was working on.”

Hickle felt the service honored his great-great grandfather.

“Yes, I think he was honored properly,” he said. “Ethelbert Hickle was a dairy man in Fairchance Pa., who fought in the Civil War.

“I do not believe that he would have ever thought, that because of his service, that he would be honored not only by his family, but by his community, his state and his country.”