History Mystery: Body of Confederate soldier is buried in Green Ridge Cemetery

February 1, 2010


The last History Mystery question: What former member of the Confederate Army is buried in Kenosha’s Green Ridge Cemetery?

The answer: His name was William C. McDoniel, and he is the only Confederate soldier buried in Kenosha with full military honors.

At the time of his death at the age of 66 on May 7, 1909, he may have been the first in Wisconsin to be buried with full military honors.

McDoniel was born in 1843 in Missouri. At the age of 18 he began serving with the Confederate army and served all four years of the Civil War.

He was mustered out of the service as a bugler attached to the staff of Gen. John S. Marmaduke. During his time of service, he fought in some of the most bitterly waged battles of the Civil War.

In several of those battles, Kenosha men were engaged on the Union side. McDoniel fought in the Battle of Jenkins Ferry, where Kenoshan Capt. Charles Frantz lost an arm; and the Raid of Holly Springs, where Kenoshan George Hale was in the thick of the fight.

He was there at the Fort Pillow massacre and later at the raid on Memphis in April 1864, where he clashed with many Kenosha County soldiers who were members of the 39th Wisconsin.

But by 1909, there was no North or South in the minds of gray-haired men who had fought in the war, at least not in the Grand Army of the Republic chapter here.

McDoniel lived in Kenosha for six years before he died and got to be friends with some of his previous foes.

When he died, a small funeral was held at his home on Bond Street (12th Avenue), which was well attended by the G.A.R. members.

It was his request that members of the G.A.R. serve as his pallbearers. They were George Hale, Theodore Boyington, Charles Truax, Oscar Rector, L.C. Graves and James G. Russell.

They carried his casket from McDoniel’s parlor to the horse-drawn hearse and then from the hearse to the cemetery grave.

©2010 Kenosha News

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