Veterans’ Voices, South Rockwood

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Photograph by Sandy Blakeman

Some Veterans Buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood

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Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood

Civil War

Christopher C. Crook. Pvt Co. B. 1st Regiment, & Co. C in the Missouri Engineers of the West. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood

Edwin M. “Edd” Crook

Edwin M. Crook was born near Amsterdam, New York on June 30, 1841 to Aaron and Dianah Pierce Crook and he died on June 12, 1912 in South Rockwood. His obituary in the Rockwood News of June 20, 1912, said that he came to Grosse Ile with his parents about 1846 and after living there for two years they moved to Monroe County where he lived for the rest of his life.

On January 12, 1870 Edwin married Mary E. Doty, the daughter of Lewis and Catherine Donothy Doty. Their children were Walter G., Earnest, Ethel, and Olive. He earned his living by farming for many years and he was school superintendent of Berlin Township from 1878-1881

When the Civil War broke out, Edwin enlisted in the First Missouri Engineer Regiment in Warren, Illinois, on September 10, 1861 and went directly to the front lines. He participated in the battles of New Madrid and the sieges of Vicksburg and Atlanta and several others. He participated in the cutting of the channel around Island Number Ten in the Mississippi River with Colonel Bissel.

After serving three years, he was discharged at Chattanooga, Tennessee, on November 4, 1864. When he was 19, Edwin converted and joined the Methodist Church, but later joined the Evangelical Church at South Rockwood. He worked actively in the church and Sunday School until illness ended his participation. His funeral services were held in the Evangelical Church at South Rockwood and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Henry Carlton Peters

Henry Carlton Peters was a private in Company B, 47th Ohio Infantry and a member of the volunteers who attempted to run Confederate batteries with a steam tug and two barges loaded with ammunition stores at the Battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi on May 3, 1863.

He received the Congressional Medal of Honor. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Robert R. Peters

Robert R. Peters was born April 14, 1834, in Waterloo, New York. He relocated to Michigan and in 1862 he enlisted in the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, Co. K. He served for three years and was discharged on June 26, 1865 in Washington, D.C.

Robert’s regiment served as guards at President Abraham Lincoln’s funeral. Peters family tradition tells the story that Robert picked up a tassel that fell of President Lincoln’s coffin which he sent home to his wife, Harriet. Not realizing the tassel’s importance, Harriet threw it away before Robert came home. Robert died on June 28, 1890, in Monroe County, Michigan, and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood, Michigan.

George Washington Shippee. Civil War. Co. D, 11th Michigan Infantry. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

John L. Sigler. Co. D. 4th Michigan Infantry. Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

William H. Thompson. Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Samuel Wagner Van Pelt. Private, 193 Ohio Infantry, Co. E. Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

David Valrance, Jr.

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David Valrance, Jr.

According to the 1860 United States Federal Census, David Valrance, Sr. was a 51-year-old French Canadian from Canada. His wife Harriett Valrance was 35, and his children Columbus 14, Napoleon, 12, Josephine 10, and Mary 5.

In the same census and directly under the name of David Valrance, Sr. is David Valrance, Jr., age 16 who was born about 1844., He is listed as the clerk of Joseph Pierson, merchant, without any family members.

Other sources say that David Valrance, Jr. was born in 1843 and died in 1926. On August 12, 1862, David Valrance, Jr. enlisted in Company G of the 24th Michigan Infantry . One of the letters he wrote to his family in Rockwood, dated July 29, 1863, described the experiences of the 24th Michigan, Iron Bridge, during the Battle of Gettysburg. He told the home folks about the death of his friend 1st Lieutenant Walter Wallace of Company K, who was killed July 1. David commented, “I heard that Mr. Wallce went after Walter, but could not fetch him. He layed too longe on the Battle field.” David believed that Gettysburg was one of the “gratist Battles Ever fought in the army of the Potomac we are bound to follow the up…”.

He wrote that the 24th Michigan Colonel was in Detroit trying to raise a Cavalry Regiment and “git us home” and that the 24th Regiment had suffered heavy casualties, citing only 150 men left for duty out of 1,040.

Private David Valrance served through his entire enlistment, mustering out on June 30, 1865, at Detroit.

This ambrotype of David Valrance, Jr., 18, and a four page letter he wrote describing the 24th Michigan’s march to the Battle of Gettysburg were sold at Cowan’s Auctions.

After he returned home to Rockwood, David Valrance continued to contribute to community life. When organizers established the Rockwood State Bank in 1911 with a capital stock of $20,000, David Valrance and William Milliman were appointed vice presidents. A.B. Chapman was named president and H.A. Wager, cashier.

David Valrance, Jr. died on July 4, 1926 and he is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood. Henry A. Van Riper. Co. D. 11th Michigan Infantry. Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

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Henry A. VanRiper

Henry A. Van Riper. Co. D. 11th Michigan Infantry. Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

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Quincy Adams Woodruff

Quincy Adams Woodruff. Co. A., Michigan First Infantry Regiment. Civil War. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

World War I

Harry Walter Avery. World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Dyke A. Berry. Pvt. U.S. Army, World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Guy Ford. Ohio. 54th Infantry, 6th Division, World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Frank R. Gay. Sgt., U.S. Army, World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Elmer J. Huff. U.S. Army, World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Corporal Archie Mc Isaac, Michigan. Corporal Co. F. 339th Infantry. World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood. He was part of the Michigan Polar Bear Expedition.

Elroy Thomas Spicer. Michigan. Pvt. 256 AM CO, 14 SN TN, World War I. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

World War II

Robert Jackson Adams. PFC, U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Bruce Wise Bartlett, Tech 5 U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Leo A. Beaubien. Pfc. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Robert Francis Beaudrie. Sgt.U.S. Army, World War II. Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Charles R Beaudry. Pfc. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Norman William Boyea. S2 U.S. Coast Guard, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Edward Frederick Brown. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Glenn J. Chamberlin. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Robert John Charlesworth, AM03 U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

James Alva Cicotte, Sr. U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood. Winner of the WWII Victory Medal.

Walter Craig Collier. Corporal, U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Cleo William Danley. Arkansas. F2, U.S.N.R. World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Kenneth J. Davis. Sgt. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Harry Dwight Deroest. S1 U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Paul Rene Deroest. U.S. Marine Corps, World War II. He saw action in Bougainville, the British Solomon Islands, Guam, the Marianas Islands, Iwo Jima, and Volcano Islands. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Franklin V. DuChene. PFC U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Wilton H. Edmunds. Sgt. U.S. Army Air Forces, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

James Lloyd Everidge. PFC U.S. Army, World War II. H is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

John L. Harrington. Sgt. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

James R. Henderson. Pvt. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Frank Charles Huff. AO1M U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

John Franklin Hughson. Sgt. U.S. Army Air Forces, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Hubert E. Hurd. Corporal, U.S. Army World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

George Tures Kerr. Pfc. United States Marine Corps, World War II. His memorial is in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood. He was killed in action in the South Pacific on June 17, 1944.

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George T. Kerr

James Norman Kerr. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Floyd D. Lezotte. Private, U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Elvin E. Lundin. Pvt. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Jonie L. Nunn. SC2, U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Darl “Whitey” O’Harrow, Staff Sergeant U.S. Army Air Corps, World War II. Purple Heart. Air Medal. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Robert E. Pearch. BM2 U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood

Marvin Powers. PFC, U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Robert Jack Probst. U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Goldman Ross. Tech 4, U.S. Army World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Harvey W. Sanders. Pvt. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Eugene H. “Shab” Shabinaw. U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Emil “Ace” Simmons. Co. A. 860th Engineer Aviation Battalion, Corps of Engineers. World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood

George R. Simmons, U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Michael Sledge, U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

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B-17 Crew

Joseph P. Sligoski. World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Ol’ Gappy/Topper B-17 Crew. S/SGT Joseph P. Sligoski was the ground crew chief of the 157 missions that the B-17 Flying Fortress flew, the most missions that a B-17 flew during World War II.

Donald P. St. Andre. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Joseph C. Sterling.1st Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Oscar Franklin Towler. U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Anthony W. Vanderbush. USNR U.S. Navy, World War II. USS Cummings. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Allan Douglas Wiseman. U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

William J. Wiseman. PFC. U.S. Army, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Louis Wojcik. S2 U.S. Navy, World War II. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Korea

Derwood D. Bondy. Sgt. U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Winford Collins, U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Jackie A. Damron. Pfc. U.S. Marine Corps, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Joseph W. Franchak. A2C U.S. Air Force, World War II and Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Robert G. Hasselbach. SN, U.S. Navy, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Glen E. Lewis. A1C U.S. Air Force, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Coleman “Ray” Luke. Sergeant 1 st Class, U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Gilbert J. Magolan, SFC U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Joseph Albert Ouellette. Pvt. U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Richard F. Repp, Sr. Corporal, U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Herbert R. Smukal. SFC U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Vernon Donald Sundin. Sgt. U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

William L. Trotter. Corporal, U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Raymond L. Winter. Corporal U.S. Army, Korea. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Vietnam

Gary Duncan Burghard. Sgt. U.S. Army, Vietnam. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Sgt. Walter Wayne Cunningham

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Sgt. Walter Cunningham

Walter Wayne Cunningham was born on June 22, 1944 in Trenton, Michigan, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Cunningham.

While he attended Trenton High School, he participated in crosscountry and baseball, and he graduated on June 13, 1963. He worked at Great Lakes Steel Corporation’s Zug Island plant before he was drafted into the Army in 1965. Walter trained as a paratrooper for Troop E, 17th Calvary, 173rd Airborne Brigade and spent the next year serving on dangerous missions, including one patrol where he sustained shrapnel wounds and spent ten days recovering in a hospital.

After his years’ service was completed, Walter returned home to Trenton to spend a 30-day leave with his family. Much to his family’s trepidation, Walter reenlisted and returned to Vietnam for a second tour of duty. Promoted to sergeant, he volunteered for an additional six months of duty in the war zone.

On October 31, 1967, Sergeant Cunningham was serving as the point man for his platoon in Tuy Hoa Province, Vietnam, an assignment that meant moving ahead of the advance guard to make sure the route for the rest of the platoon was clear, a task meant to flush out the enemy. His platoon was traveling through high elephant grass when it encountered a wood line and suddenly fell under heavy automatic weapons fire from a North Vietnamese squad. Without hesitation, Sgt. Cunningham rushed the enemy squad, firing his weapons and throwing grenades. He had almost reached the enemy position, when he was killed.

American military UPI and AP dispatches released after the attack stated that Sgt. Cunningham was one of 26 GIs killed in the ambush and 49 others were wounded. On December 5, 1967, Sgt. Cunningham received a posthumous Silver Star for gallantry in action and on May 13, 1968, he was awarded the Military Merit Medal and the Gallantry Cross with Palm.

Brigadier General George Blanchard, Chief of Staff, posted a letter accompanying his presentation of Sgt. Cunningham’s Silver Star. The letter read: “Specialist Four Cunningham distinguished himself by gallantry in action on Oct. 31, 1967, while serving as a point man of his platoon. At approximately 1000 hours. His platoon was moving through high elephant grass in Tuy Hoa Province when it came upon a wood line and fell under heavy automatic weapons fire from an estimated North Vietnamese squad. Spc. Cunningham unhesitatingly rushed the enemy force, firing his weapon and throwing grenades. He had almost reached the enemy position when he was shot and killed.

By exposing himself to heavy fire and rushing the enemy, he displayed an aggressive and professional attitude and caused the enemy to withdraw without inflicting heavy casualties to the rest of his platoon. Specialist Cunningham’s personal courage materially contributed to the success of the platoon in discovering and routing an enemy ambush. Specialist Cunningham’s extraordinary heroism in close combat was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”

Sgt. Cunningham was honored as Veteran of the Month at American Legion Post 301 in Rapid River. Patterned after a national program established by the American Legion, a new Veteran of the Month is honored each month in a formal service at the Legion. Sgt. Cunningham was 23 years old. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Dennis Dean DeCumen. ABH3 U.S. Navy. Vietnam. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Veterans

Danny Brent Byrd. Sgt. U.S. Air Force. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Paul R. Carpenter, U.S. Army. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Francis L. Cook, Corporal U.S. Marine Corps. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery in South Rockwood.

Casey F. Forrest. United States Air Force. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Duane A. Galloway. PFC, U.S. Marine Corps. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

William L. Sigler. Pvt. Quartermaster Corps. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Clarence Lovell Thompson, U.S. Army. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Max A. Wilson. U.S. Army. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

Guy Allen Winter. PFC. U.S. Army. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

James Wright Jr., U.S. Army. He is buried in Riverside Cemetery, South Rockwood.

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