Belmont Countys last Civil War Veteran, W.W. Groves, to be memorialized at Salem Cemetery gravesite October 13

A granite marker, placed at the grave of W.W. Groves in old Salem Cemetery in Kirkwood Township, will be dedicated Saturday, October 13, 2012, at 1 p.m. The ceremony will be conducted by Dan Hinton, commander of the sponsoring organization, Benjamin D. Fearing Camp #2, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. This groups goal is to present a marker on the gravesite of the last Union soldier in each of Ohios 88 counties. Groves is Belmont Countys last Civil War veteran. Groves descendants from California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio will join representatives of the Belmont County and Cumberland Trail genealogical societies, Civil War Roundtable and all other interested persons at the event.

Barnesville native, Carol Murphy Daniels, is one of the four great-grandchildren expected to take part in the program. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Harvey H. Murphy, whose mother was Mary Matilda Groves Murphy, daughter of the honored Civil War veteran.

Six days before his 19th birthday in 1862, William Wirt Groves, along with 10 neighborhood boys, enlisted in Company B of the 126th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He served three years during which he was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness as well as being very sick with measles and pneumonia.

In an interview that Helen Murphy Nelson conducted with her grandfather, Mr. Groves said, On the morning of the sixth of May, 1864, I helped Bob Hilles, my Second Lieutenant, off the battlefield after the Battle of the Wilderness. He was shot in the left lung and was groaning terribly. Blood was coming from his mouth. He lived only a few days- died in Fredericksburg, I think. (This is the same Bob Hilles for whom the local VFW post is named - Robert E. Hilles Post 2792, Veterans of Foreign Wars.)

Returning home, William W. Groves taught school for eight years, along with farming. Mr. Groves was active in the Salem Methodist Episcopal Church and later in the Hendrysburg M.E. Church where he taught Sunday School for 40 years and served as Sunday School Superintendent for many of them.

After the death of his wife, he moved to Barnesville and made his home with his daughter, Mary Groves Murphy, and family at 507 N. Chestnut St.

Barnesvilles oldest citizen and last Civil War veteran died at age 98 at Barnesville Hospital on December 28, 1941, the same month the United States entered World War II.

jeandavies@comcast.net