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Local History Notes

Notes about the history of Iredell County by Joel Reese, Local History Librarian.

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Apr 17

Military Veteran Burials in Iredell County

Posted on April 17, 2020 at 12:59 PM by Jenny Levins

I usually think of the military when I think of heroes. Those that are serving and have served in the military protecting our country deserve our gratitude and respect. I remember once reading a comment from a soldier who had returned home from World War I. When asked about being a hero he shook his head no and said the real heroes were those that were still over there. Those that would never be coming back home. There are over 125,00 U.S. military men and women buried overseas in 17 foreign countries. There are more than 94,000 that are listed as missing in action.

We are hearing and reading a lot about heroes during the current health crisis. Indeed, I think the doctors, nurses, CNAs, and all the workers in our country’s health system are heroes. There is only so much social distancing you can do when you are providing patient care. Going to work for them means literally putting your life at risk. The same is true for police officers, deputies, firemen, EMS, health department, and other workers who protect and serve the needs of the public. It’s not just their lives that they risk, but also the lives of their spouses, children, parents, family, and friends. They have no way of knowing at the end of their shift if they are carrying the virus back home with them.

Memorial Day will be here in another six weeks. Most people mark Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer. It is our first warm weather three-day weekend and for most of us our first chance to vacation at the beach or mountains. In years past people would already be making plans and reservations. Memorial Day on May 25th in 2020 may be like none other we have experienced in our lifetimes. Restrictions and safety concerns due to the coronavirus may force people to stay home this year 

Perhaps that’s not such a bad thing though as it will allow people to actually focus on the true purpose of this federal holiday.  Memorial Day is set aside as a special day to remember, honor, and mourn United States military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The Iredell County Public Library’s Local History Department has created a database listing the gravesites of men and women who served in the military and are buried in Iredell County. Library volunteer Jean Moore and other library staff members have been indexing the burial information from Iredell County North Carolina Cemeteries, a seven-volume series of books by Russell C. Black, Jr., and Irene Clanton Black released in 1999. Other Iredell County publications listing the location of graves of military veterans have also been used as has online websites such as “Find a Grave” at www.findagrave.com.

This database is titled, “Burial Locations of Military Veterans in Iredell County” and is now available online at the library’s website at www.iredell.lib.nc.us. Click on “Research and Learning” and then on “Local History and Genealogy.” The database is located ………….. You can also go to the “Local History” page directly at  https://www.iredell.lib.nc.us/167/Local-History-Genealogy. This database provides an inventory of 5,231 gravesites of military veterans in Iredell County. Please keep in mind that many headstones make no mention of military service.

A check of the inventory a few months ago found gravesites of veterans from the following wars.

Cherokee War, 1, Civil War, 507, Korean, 267, Korean & Vietnam, 16, Mexican War, 2, Mexican and Civil War, 1, N.C. Militia, 1, Revolutionary War, 40, Spanish American War, 29, Spanish American War & WW II, 1, Vietnam War, 144, War of 1812, 1, World War I, 527, WW I & WW II, 14, WW I, WW II, & Korean, 1, World War II, 2011, World War II & Korean, 58, WW II & Vietnam, 3, WW II, Korean, & Vietnam, 13. These numbers continually change as we gather more information.

The data base shows those buried in Iredell County from the mid 1700’s to the year 1999. This index is incomplete and is an ongoing project of the Local History Department. The locations of men and women who served in the military are still being discovered and burial locations of those buried after 1999 are also being added as they are found. We are sharing this database online to honor those veterans who came to rest in Iredell County at the end of their lives and to assist researchers.

Inclusion in this database does not mean the veteran was born or died in Iredell County or while in service of their country. This inventory covers most of the Iredell County cemeteries and shows the location of those men and women buried in Iredell County whom are known to have served in the military. Those wishing to assist in this effort by providing the names of veterans not in this database are encouraged to contact Joel Reese at 704-878-3093, ext. 3093 or at jreese@co.iredell.nc.us.”