Forgotten serviceman honored 89 years after death - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Forgotten serviceman honored 89 years after death

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The burial site for an Indian War veteran is now marked with military honors 89-years after his death.

Dozens of people paid tribute to First Sergeant LeRoy H. Vokes on Saturday, proving it's never too late to honor a serviceman.

"There was not a stone. It was never marked before, and that's why it's such an honor to finally, after all this time, have him remembered and to have this place of honor for him," said Paula Ellsworth of Iowa City.

Ellsworth is the great-great-niece of the serviceman.

She said she hopes people remember him as a man who served his country with honor and dignity.

At Saturday's service, various speakers outlined the life of Vokes. They said he rode into battle with civilian scout William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and that Vokes was awarded the Medal of Honor for Gallantry in Action on May 22, 1872; but when he died in 1924, his body was shipped by train to New Hampton for burial in a family plot, but his gravestone was never marked.

It wasn't until Jeanette Kottke of Fredericksburg was doing genealogy research at Rose Hill Cemetery that the pieces of the puzzle started coming together.

She obtained a newspaper article and was able to determine, with the help of others, that Vokes was buried next to his sister in Rose Hill Cemetery.

"I am so very grateful to everyone," said Ellsworth after an hour-long service and unveiling of a new headstone for Vokes.

"It'll be a very, very special place, not just for Fredericksburg, and not just our family, but I think for other people who come here," she said.

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