PAOLA — The forgotten soldier was on the minds of those who gathered for a Memorial Day service Monday in Paola.
Members of Paola American Legion Post 156 honored a Union Army officer from Paola who died in the Civil War. The afternoon service took place May 27 at the Miami County Veterans Memorial, located at the intersection of Baptiste and Hospital drives.
“The Twelfth Regiment of Infantry was mustered in Paola, Sept. 30, 1862, and mustered out at Little Rock, Ark., in July of 1865,” said Pete Bell of the American Legion. “Nick L. Beuter of Paola was chosen as captain of Company C which numbered 101 men.”
On the night of April 2, 1864, Nick Beuter was ambushed and killed by Union Army thieves because he threatened them with court martial for stealing a horse, Bell said. The murderers were not from Paola’s Company C, but another brigade he had been temporarily charged with.
Beuter was buried in Hot Springs, Ark. Fellow officer T.J. Haughey marked the spot, according to research done by Jim Bousman, a Paola historian. Haughey went back to the grave site 23 years later and had the remains moved to the family plot in the Paola Cemetery.
“Capt. Beuter was well known and respected in Miami County and few thought they would ever have the privilege of having the remains of their old comrade resting at his old home,” Bell said. “Sadly, his gravestone was vandalized and is sitting there in two pieces. American Legion Post 156 of Paola is raising money to erect a new monument in Capt. Beuter’s memory that properly represents the esteem that Miami County once held for this forgotten solder.”
Originally known as Decoration Day, the origins of Memorial Day date to the years following the Civil War. The holiday holds a special significance for millions of Americans who gather each year to remember the fallen.
“Today I remember my uncle John Welter who was killed in action Aug. 9, 1942, in the USS Quincy and my uncle Frederick Welter who was killed action June, 4, 1943, on the PC496 in Tunisia, and my friend John Deiderich who was killed in action Aug. 23, 1968, in Vietnam,” said Mike Welter, a Paola veteran and speaker at the service.
Lewis Case, a Civil War reenactor stood by Bell as he read about Capt. Beuter. Case later went to the Paola cemetery and posed for pictures by Beuter’s final resting place.
Other services were taking place throughout Miami County, some in adverse weather conditions.
Louisburg American Legion Post 250 Chaplain Gary Brown clutched an umbrella on a rainy, blustery morning at the Louisburg Cemetery.
Brown used the umbrella to keep American Legion Commander Wayne Knop’s notes dry as he addressed a crowd huddled under a ring of umbrellas for the Memorial Day service Monday, May 27.
The service also included a chaplain’s prayer, the laying of the wreath by American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Princess Kendall Crossley, a 21-gun salute by an Honor Guard composed of members of the American Legion and Louisburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7348.
The service concluded with American Legion trumpeter Rudy Obermeier playing taps.