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Baxter B. Fite III (#47203738)
 member for 5 years, 4 months, 18 days
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Bio Photo April 2010. I am a soon to be 56 year old genealogist and historian that especially loves tracking down the Civil War Veterans who came from Central Illinois. My primary interest, since 1985, has been to find the last resting place of the 992 men who served in the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. I have traveled extensively to photograph the tombstones of veterans of the 86th, but, I have always been aware that I was never going to get pictures of all of their tombstones. But. then someone told me about Find A Grave. In the five months that I have been a member of Find A Grave, Thanks to the many wonderful people who use Find A Grave, I have seen pictures of tombstones of veterans of the 86th that I never dreamed that I would ever see pictures of. I can't begin to tell you how Thankful I am for all of the wonderful people that have helped me see pictures of those monuments to veterans who gave so much to preserve our union. I will forever be indebted to all of you. Thanks for all you have done!!
I am also trying to consolidate the Find A Graves sites for all of the 86th into Virtual Cemeteries. If you go to my Virtual Cemeteries you will find a number of ways that you can search for the veterans of the 86th. I hope all with an interest will learn more about the 86th and the men who served in her in this way.

P.S. As of December of 2013, I have found the final burial site of all by 89 members of the 86th. I could use any and all help in finding out about these last 89 men.

September 2011. Through the years, there has been a poem which explains why I have been doing what I have been doing. It is one of my favorite poems and I have read it countless times at Memorial Day service and Veteran's Day services. It is now our job to not let people forget "our Boys in Blue."

"When the Boys in Blue Are Gone" by John Hendricks

When the comrades have departed,
When the veterans are no more,
When the bugle call is sounded
On that everlasting shore.
When life's weary march is ended,
When campfires slumber long;
Who will tell the world the story,
When the boys in Blue are gone?

Who will tell about their marching,
From Atlanta to the Sea?
Who will halt, and wait, and listen,
When they hear the reveille?
Who will join to swell the chorus,
Of some old, Grand Army song?
Who will tell the world the story,
When the boys in Blue are gone?

Sons and daughters of this nation,
You must tell of triumphs won;
When on earth our work is ended,
And the Veteran claims his own.
You must all cherish Old Glory,
And its teachings pass along.
You must tell the world the story,
When the boys in Blue are gone.

To that flag, our country's emblem,
You must pledge allegiance, too.
To that flag, our nation's emblem,
May your hearts be ever true.
That the nation be protected,
'Gainst injustice, and all wrong;
You must tell the world the story,
When the boys in Blue are gone.

You must keep your country's honor,
From each stripe withhold all stain;
You must take the Veteran's places,
And repeat the roll of fame.
You must keep your country's honor,
And your flag above all wrong,
Then we'll trust you with the story,
When the boys in Blue are gone.

John Hendricks was the last living Veteran of the 89th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. The poem expresses his concern that the Union Soldiers,
the "Boys in Blue", not be forgotten by future generations. And since 1985, I have been trying tel tell their story and will continue to tell their story until the day I die.

I have walked through hundreds of cemeteries in my first 57 years and hope the Lord allows me to walk though a few more. It saddens me to think that most of these people have been forgotten about by too many of us. Ben Franklin once said, "One can tell the morals of a culture by the way they treat their dead." I have walked through many a cemetery over the years where it truthfully doesn't look like we remember or care for our dead at all. The Old Methodist Church Cemetery in Eureka, where Private John Wiley Adams, of Co. A, is buried, and the plowed over cemeteries or overgrown cemeteries that I have seen and walked through are examples of this. And speaking of Private John Wiley Adams, take a few moments and read about the terrible way his grave and the graves of the other people buried there have been treated.


Wandering among the stones I see
The stones so weathered and worn
‘Tis difficult to find the date
On which the babe was born

I stare at the stone and am struck with awe
At the life that I knew was gone
This was someone's child, a babe so sweet
With loved ones to carry on

So I take a photo for all to see
For the family that remains
An everlasting memory of
A child of God's domain

I brush the weeds back from the stone
And say a silent prayer
For the babes that had no chance to live
And for mothers everywhere

The dove calls out it's mourning song
Among the stones so still
Echoes of the woes, through time
The choirs of despair

The stone will someday perish
The flowers will be gone
But a photo now remains of this
Their memory lives on!

And so my friend, don't hesitate
To film the weathered stone
Those who live within your hearts
Are never truly gone.

Author Unknown

I just want to Thank the creators of Find A Grave for creating this site. It has been a wonderful place for me to leave some of the information that I have accumulated over the past 26 years about the 86th "Boys in Blue." I also again want to Thank all of the photographer volunteers who have taken their time to search out and to photograph so many tombstones of 86th veterans, that I KNEW, that I was NEVER going to see in person and that I was NEVER EVER even going to see a picture of. Thanks for getting those pictures for me and for all who have an interest in them in the future. It is GREATLY APPRECIATED!!



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Telephone # (309) 685-5861
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First NameLast Name

Virtual Cemeteries
Co. A, 86th Illinois (107)
Co. B, 86th Illinois (97)
Co. C, 86th Illinois (106)
Co. D, 86th Illinois (98)
Co. E, 86th Illinois (98)
Co. F, 86th Illinois (98)
Co. G, 86th Illinois (102)
Co. H, 86th Illinois (100)
Co. I, 86th Illinois (115)
Co. K, 86th Illinois (111)
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Find A Grave Friends
Messages left for Baxter B. Fite ... (1223)[Leave Message]
Carolyn Wilson
Philip F. Minch
Thanks so much for all the details for Philip. It's always great to have additional info for memorials.
Added by Carolyn Wilson on Mar 24, 2015 6:54 AM
Respectfully, Linda Jones Everett
Marmaduke Grider
Hello Baxter, Yes, Iam related to Marmaduke Grider.
He was my Grand-Uncle, brother of my Grandpa William Perryman Grider.
Added by Respectfully, Linda Jones... on Mar 22, 2015 5:10 PM
Ann S
RE: Private Thomas Boston Lane, Co. G, 86th Illinois
Hi Baxter...Thank you for the quick response to my message and the update on Thomas's memorial. I should have mentioned that Chelsea and Gertrude were married on 11/28/21, and that they were actually divorced and she remarried before his death. I am not sure when they divorced, but I do know that my Mom was quite young, and was raised primarily by her father and great aunt Ethel (Essie). Gertrude married Edward Wells Dale on 9/3/36. Regarding Alice: You mentioned that you can't find her in the 1910 census. She is in the Mackinaw Township census along with Chelsea, Ethel, Clyde and Howard. A fellow genealogist provided me with information that she died of a heart attack, but there was still no mention of where she is buried, and the obit incorrectly listed her father as Henry B. Lane. I am sorry to say that the only picture I have ever seen of Thomas is on this site, however, if I do find any, in the future, I will be happy to share with you. Sincerely, Ann
Added by Ann S on Mar 16, 2015 3:55 AM
RE: John A. H. McGrew, Co. F, 86th Illinois
Hello again, this is what I have on Belle and her sister Anna McGrew, which isnt much on Anna.

Belle C. McGrew (no idea yet what the C. stands for). was b. on the 8th of Aug 1858 in Chesnut, Knox, Ill., to her parents John A.H. McGREW and Amanda A. STEPHENSON.
Belle C. married my great-grandfather John Albert SENN on the 8th of June 1880/1 in Ft. Dodge, Webster Co., Iowa.
Children of John A. & Belle C, all born in Ft. Dodge, Webster Co., Iowa:
1. Frank E. b. 1881- d. 1970. My Grandpa
2. Bertha A. b. 1884-d. 1958.
3. Gould A. b. 1887- d. 1946
4.? Louie L. b.1882 death unknown, I dont know for sure if Louie is one of their children or not..??
Bell was a Teacher, John was a Farmer but when he /or they were in Burwell Nebraska, he was a Merchant, I believe that he or they went there for a short time, because his father, William McGREW was living there and he was a "Trader of Goods" (also a Merchant and a Farmer), also, he d. in 1893. John Albert Senn was also a Brakeman on the railroad, as was most of the men in my family..anyway back to Belle.. when Belle was young it seems that her parents moved around somewhat and also lived whith Amanda's parents for sometime and then lived next door to them for a while..That was in the Richard Smythard STEPHENSON and Laura W. FINCH household.
When Belle and John Albert were getting up in age, her, (Belle's) Aunt, Octivia STEPHENSON-PETTIBONE came to live with them, she was a Nurse and I think maybe one of them, Belle or John A. was ill and she took care of them..(??).
Now as for Anna F., Belle's sister, I dont have alot of info on her other than she was b. 1850/1 in either Ill. or Indiana..the other 2 sisters names are Amanda no dates or info and Helen b. 1873 in Iowa. Sorry abt seems that there was some somewhere but cant put my hands on it.. my computer crashed awhile back and it had abt. 20-25 years worth of info on it and alot of it was lost and some was saved, by a friend that worked at the police dept. and he put them on floppy's and disk's and alot of those are no longer any good.. I always thought that once the info was on a disk it was saved forever.. not true, they lose something and it cause's the info to be lost too.. I could just cry, again!!
Well until I can get into my other info I will leave this for now and will write more when I find it..
If you have any info on Belle's family that you would like to share I would love to have it..
Bye for now,
Added by Sandee on Mar 15, 2015 10:36 AM
RE: John A. H. McGrew, Co. F, 86th Illinois
Hi, if by chance I havent answered you yet please forgive me, if I have already done so please forgive me for not memory seems to be leaving me more often!! ugh!! and I have been having trouble logging in to findagrave..this computer & I have alot of issues!!!
please contact me at:
thank you and again Im sorry if I have not already taken care of this..
Added by Sandee on Mar 15, 2015 7:33 AM
david thomas
Julius Bridegroom Company E 86th Illinois
Hello Baxter;

Came across Julius Bridegroom in my research. The book William G. Cutler's "History of the State of Kansas, published in, 1883, tells a little about his life in Kansas. Thought you would be interested in it. Go to and then go to Crawford County part 13.


Dave Thomas
Added by david thomas on Mar 14, 2015 2:16 AM
memories live on
RE: Private Samuel Bitner, Co. I, 86th Illinois
Sorry Baxter, I am not related.
Added by memories live on on Mar 13, 2015 8:58 PM
Louise Taraba
RE: John M. W. Smith

Thank you for explaining. Not so sure links should be made on a memorial that is not the burial place. When this is done we end up with double links. Find A Grave needs to mark it "cenotaph" also.


Added by Louise Taraba on Mar 08, 2015 7:19 PM
John A. Westerfield
Information has been added. Thank you, Bonnie
Added by Bonnie on Mar 07, 2015 8:43 AM
Terry Fenoglio
RE: Civil War vets
I will certainly let you know what I find. I am board member of the Marion County Historical Society, and am currently going through all our records.
Added by Terry Fenoglio on Mar 06, 2015 3:31 AM
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