December 19, 2014

Alonzo H Cushing – Medal of Honor Recipient Joins Our John Whitmore In Civil War MOH History

Today, the Medal of Honor was bestowed upon First Lt. Alonzo H Cushing by President Barack Obama for his conspicuous bravery during the battle of Gettysburg. See story at CMH News and Features.

I hope our Wilkerson family will take renewed pride in the fact that their ancestor John Whitmore was also awarded the Medal of Honor for his service during the Civil War. What makes John Whitmore’s Medal of Honor recognition so remarkable is that he was not an officer, but a lowly Private. It’s important because his courage and bravery must have been substantial in order for him to be recognized by his higher command. This is not meant to take anything away from Cushing’s heroism, but remind everyone that there were others who received the Medal of Honor as well.

iPentimento Memorial Day Remembrance 2008
Graveyard Rabbit Carnival – The Whittemores of Pleasant Grove Iowa
Tombstone Tuesday: The Wilkersons of Pleasant Grove, Iowa

 

WHAT WAS GAINED, WHAT WAS TAKEN FROM THE 24 NEW ARMY MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS

John W. Whitmore, headstone at Pleasant Grove, IA

An Honorable Way To Fight Back Against Racism

I lived through the 60’s when race riots were in full swing. I truly thought we were making racism more and more of an anathema, but as we have all seen in the news racism has come back with a fury since President Obama was elected. As an American, I am proud to see there is a small righting of wrongs that will be done to honor the service of 24 men who were denied the Medal of Honor because of the color of their skin. As you probably know, no one “wins”  a Medal of Honor, but it is also not just wearing of a medal.  Consider these other benefits:

  • Special Medal of Honor pension of $1,194 per month above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible. The MOH pension is subject to cost-of-living increases.
  • Special entitlements to Space A air transportation.
  • Enlisted recipients are entitled to a supplemental uniform allowance.
  • Commissary and exchange privileges (includes eligible dependents).
  • Admission to the United States military academies for qualified children of recipients — without nomination and quota requirements.
  • 10 percent increase in retired pay.
  • Medal of Honor Flag.
  • Allowed to wear the uniform at anytime as long as the standard restrictions are observed.
  • Many states offer Medal of Honor automobile license plates.
  • Interment at Arlington National Cemetery if not otherwise eligible.

Which brings me to the “What Was Taken” part of the title of this article. Decades have passed since the end of the Vietnam War. The men who are deceased and were awarded posthumously the medal will have the honor attached to their names, but it is their families, and those of the few still living that I think of now with some sorrow for what was taken away from them. First in my mind is the missed educational opportunities the children of these men were denied. What great mind did we fail to enrich? Did any of the families falter financially when the extra money from the award might have meant better health, or a longer life? So many “what if’s” to be sure.

Twenty Four Heroes

One last thought, this award of the Medal of Honor cannot be seen as anything more than honoring the gallantry of individuals who didn’t think of the color of their skin when they fought and gave their lives. We need to focus on the kind of men they are and were: HEROES

Thank you gentlemen.

Medal of Honor: Congress Only APPROVED It Graveyard Rabbit Carnival – The Whittemores of Pleasant Grove Iowa

Graveyard Rabbit Carnival – The Whittemores of Pleasant Grove Iowa

Mary E. and John Whitmore.

This is an early photograph taken around 1995 in the churchyard at Pleasant Grove, Iowa. The headstones are for John Whitmore (Whittemore, etc.) and his wife Mary Elizabeth DeSpain. The churchyard is at the Shinar Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Des Moines County, Iowa.

I’m participating in the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival hosted by The Graveyard Rabbit. Won’t you join us as we scamper through the graveyards?

Whitmore – Miller in Macon County, IL History

Whitmore – Miller in Macon County, IL History

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Macon County, Illinois History – First Marriage

Formed in 1829, the county of Macon in Illinois was where our ancestor John Parlen Whittmore wed Delilah Miller, their’s being the first marriage in Macon on 20 January 1829.  John who was born in either Connecticut or Massachusetts was the son of Sarah Parlin and Josiah Whittmore most likely of Massachusetts.  Whittmore Twp. is named for John P. Whittmore (see Place Names of IL – Edward Callery; page 375).

John W. Whitmore – Medal of Honor Recipient (USA – Civil War)

John and Delilah Miller Whitmore were the parents of nine children, one of which was John W. Whitmore b. 03 July 1844, m. 05 Nov. 1865 Des Moines County, Iowa.  John was served in the Civil War as a Private, Company F in the 119th IL Infantry and was the recipient of the Medal of Honor for capturing a flag.

*Note – The death date on his headstone is incorrect, as he died February 26, 1913.  The VA who supplied the stone was given the wrong year by the man who arranged the MOH Ceremony for a veteran’s group.  The stone and ceremony were placed and attended respectively in 1997.

In his lifetime, after the war, two of his homes burned and it is entirely possible that the actual medal was consumed in one of the fires.   We do still have documentation of his service, and his cemetery headstone at the Shinar Presbyterian Church at Pleasant Grove, IA gives further proof.

Most recently, one of our Wilkerson cousins was instrumental in getting John Whitmore’s photo and military record on display at the Hall of Valor at Ft. Benning, GA Infantry Museum.  John’s photo in the museum is only one of 27 currently shown.  Illinois should be proud of her native son. It’s highly unusual for a Private to have been awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.  More often, they went to officers.

After the end of the Civil War, John Whitmore married 05 Nov 1865 Mary Elizabeth DeSpain, daughter of John and Mariah Perkins DeSpain also of Pleasant Grove, Iowa.  They were the parents of six children, five of whom lived to maturity.  A daughter, Mariah M. Whitmore married William Henry Wilkerson.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Wilkersons of Pleasant Grove, Iowa

I wasn’t sure how to really title this blog post because it encompasses so many topics: Illinois history, notable ancestors, **The Face Of Genealogy, and military history.

**Applicable article to follow

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