Marvin Roos of Lake View and a member of the 2nd Battery Iowa Light Artillery Civil War re-enactors group, rammed and sponged the 3-inch ordnance rifle barrel. Dick Petschauer of Carnarvon, Terry Gerdes of Wall Lake and Larry Kropf of Lake View also were on the firing crew.
Marvin Roos of Lake View and a member of the 2nd Battery Iowa Light Artillery Civil War re-enactors group, rammed and sponged the 3-inch ordnance rifle barrel. Dick Petschauer of Carnarvon, Terry Gerdes of Wall Lake and Larry Kropf of Lake View also were on the firing crew.

June 1, 2018

LAKE CITY

Civil War veterans, the second woman veterinarian from Iowa State College and a farm wife and mother of 11 were portrayed in the Cottonwood Cemetery Walk on Saturday, May 26.

The event welcomed visitors to the cemetery, the oldest in Calhoun County, and raised funds to construct a directory in the cemetery.

Members of the 2nd Battery Light Artillery Civil War Re-enactors, based in Lake View, portrayed war veterans, while local volunteers played other early residents.

More than 50 people attended the walk although temperatures pushed close to 100.

Cottonwood Cemetery, located southwest of Lake City on Garber Avenue, one-half mile south of Highway 175, has gravestones spanning from the 1860s to the present day.

A program provided by the nonprofit Cottonwood Cemetery Preservation Association, which hosted the walk, said, “From the earliest, dated 1860s, to present-day stones, the story of prospecting a new land, pioneering a remote place and breaking the sod emerges. They tell of hardships like sweeping epidemics that claimed little children. They tell of lives well lives.”

At least 33 Civil War veterans are interred at Cottonwood, and many more served in more recent conflicts, according to the program.

“Cottonwood Cemetery is the home to people, ordinary and heroic, and the occasional pauper in the unmarked grave,” it said.

The historical figures featured and their portrayers included:

Edward M. Reynolds (Terry Gerdes) — Reynolds served in the Civil War under the colorful and charismatic Col. Samuel Emerson Opdke. Reynolds, a farmer and businessman, owned the second steam-powered threshing machine in Calhoun County.

Benjamin F. Reynolds (Jacob Deuel) — Benjamin, son of Edward Reynolds, enlisted in Company E, 39th Iowa Regiment, just short of his 17th birthday in 1864. He became a highly successful farmer and raised Belgian draft horses and Chester White hogs.

Peter Binkert (Marvin Roose) — Binkert served in the Wisconsin Infantry, Company D, and narrowly escaped capture. He moved with his family in 1870 to farm in Jackson Township.

Wilhelmina Volkmann Binkert, Peter’s wife (Darcy Maulsby) — She came to the U.S. from Prussia at age 18. A farm wife and mother of 11, she devoted her life to her family.

Donald Binkert (Barry Bergman) — Donald was PeterBinkert’s brother and also a Union veteran. He loved to tell the story of the family’s harrowing travels coming from Switzerland in 1852 when he was 12.

Dr. Mary Lois Calhoun (Maurine Thieszen) —She was the second woman to receive a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Iowa State College and the first female head of veterinarian anatomy at Michigan State University.

James W. Bruce (Larry Kropf) — Bruce survived being shot through the chest with a minnie ball during the Civil War. He was a successful Lake City coal businessman who enjoyed politics and was the father of 11 children.

Henry H. Sifford (Bill Albright) — During the Battle of Allatoona, Georgia, on Oct. 5, 1864, Sifford was taken prisoner by the Confederates and sent off to the terrors of Andersonville prison until the end of the war. Malnutrition and ill treatment there led to an early death. He died on Oct. 10, 1885, at age 45.

With the Civil War re-enactors featured, the portrayals focused heavily on Civil War veterans.

The re-enactors punctuated the day by firing their replica 3-inch ordnance rifle. Those guns, which had an 820-pound barrel, were remarkably accurate up to a half-mile or more, according to the re-enactors. Taps were then played by Dennis Kral of Cedar Rapids, who has family in the Lake City area and is a member of the Liberty Band of Iowa, a Civil War re-enactment band.

The Cottonwood Cemetery Association has contracted with Martin’s Welding of Auburn to construct and place a directory in the cemetery. The steel and glass directory, designed with the help of Tanner King of Martin’s Welding, will include a map of the cemetery, a directory of all gravesites and a separate listing of veterans’ graves. The design will allow for easy updating and maintenance.

The structure for the directory is up, and signs listing veterans’ names on one since and emblems of the military branches on the other side will be ready soon. A directory of the graves and mapping of the cemetery is expected to take about another year, as records for the project date back to the 1860s.

Tax-deductible contributions for the project may be sent to Cottonwood Cemetery Preservation Assn., P.O. Box 85, Lake City, IA 51449.