The SUVCW camp I belong to, Old Abe Camp #16, here in Topeka holds a monthly work day where we go to Topeka Cemetery and work to preserve the heritage and memory of our Union Civil War soldiers.

This past month one of our members stumbled across a plot that had a direct connection with our camp.

Osco Ashbaugh was the son of John M Ashbaugh, who was Bugler of CO. C 5th KS CAV and member of Lincoln Post 1. Brother Osco was born in Topeka in 1867 and was a member of the original Old Abe Camp #16 and passed away in 1935.

To be a brother in this camp and to be able to look down at a son of a Civil War veteran and was obviously proud of that fact enough to have it on his headstone is testament as to what the SUVCW stands for and does and left me with a feeling of respect and duty.

It’s more than just setting headstones straight, cleaning them up and then leaving. There was a post on the SUVCW Department of Missouri’s Facebook page that really sums things up, at least for me.

We Are The Chosen

We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, “Tell our story!” So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.” How many times have I walked up …to a grave and felt somehow t…here was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do.

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, “I can’t let this happen.” The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.

It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.

-Author Unknown