Marion National/V.A. Hospital

Marion National Cemetery/
V.A. Hospital

Marion National Cemetery Records now ONLINE. The records were obtained the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Click here.
For a little history of the cemetery read the following. This is what I have on the National Soldiers Home. The article below was written by Agnes Kendall in about 1944. 'up the Mississinewa probably ten miles is the resting place of other of the Nation's Heroes. Established by an act of Congress July 23, 1888 and given the name of Marion Branch National Military Home, Indiana. Plans for the establishing of this hospital were consummated in 1890. A burial ground was set aside at some distance from the buildings which we for years have called "THE HOME". Here Governor Campbell, first Governor of the home, planned "The Silent Circle". Number 1 in this plat is Thomas Jefferson, Co. B 2nd N.Y. Cav., number 1345 is John W. Stewart Indiana Serg't 9 Cav. This Silent Circle is designated as Section 1. The numbers are in succession but do not indicate the order of death. A section has been reserved in this part for the burial of civilian employees and members of officer's families. All others who are buried in this cemetery are those who have participated in Military Services of the United States and who have received honorable discharge. Seven concentric rows of graves form Section 1. Each grave has a plain marble marker with the name of the deceased his rank and regiment. The graves in the center circle is that of the first Governor of the Home, Justin Chapman and his wife Kate. An iron fence surrounds the two graves which have a large granite stone bearing this inscription: "Justin H. Chapman born Oct. 7, 1839 died Nov. 3, 1904, enlisted Apr. 17, 1861, discharged Jan. 1, 1868. Services being no longer required. Governor Marion Branch N.H.D.V.S. Feb. 1891 to Nov. 1904." "Kate M. Chapman wife of Justin H. Chapman died Feb. 11, 1914." In the segment reserved for officers and their wives is the marker for the first surgeon of the hospital. "Abner D. Kimball born January 24, 1839, died Nov. 4, 1904" His wife who was Henrietta Haupt is buried beside him but no data is on the stone. Before the original plat was fully occupied the need for more space became apparent. A larger section was provided to the north of the Silent Circle. The total population is now 3342 as of July 25, 1944. The graves are in the customary formal rows and on many of them vigorous plants of peony bushes grow. On Decoration Day these bloom in a most glorious showing, every kind and color and all varieties making it a most beautiful place on that day. Native trees, some cedars and hedge rows outline the cemetery. Driveways radiate from the central park which contains a most impressive group of statuary. Captain Steele greatly admired the original which stands on the Battlefield of Chicamauga. The figures are of heroic proportions and are cast in bronze at a cost of $10,000. The three figures appear in Civil War costumes and are posed as if in action. The central figure, whose boyish face seems turned toward the enemy, holds the American Flag. To his right is an older, bearded man with his rifle poised, his eyes looking into the distance as if waiting for his target. To the left, a man has fallen to both knees, his musket is still in his hand as he draws open his blouse with his left hand, his head sags, the Flag drapes itself about him and we are left to draw our own conclusion. On the gray granite base in bold relief are these words: IN MEMORY OF THE MEN WHO OFFERED THEIR LIVES IN DEFENSE OF THEIR COUNTRY. On the east face are these words: Marion BRANCH NATIONAL MILITARY HOME INDIANA ACT OF CONGRESS JULY 23, 1868.
The roadway entering THE SILENT CIRCLE from the statuary group is bordered on the east side by seven plaques on which is found the poem "The Bivouac of the Dead" This information was furnished by Mr. Will C. Sturgis who is Secretary to Colonel Botts.
This cemetery has probably more than doubled it's size by this date (1999). Very well taken care. Records for the burials are kept at the Home. Also a copy of burials to 1991/2 are located in the Marion Public Library - Indiana Room.
Directions: When you go to the cemetery there is an office and someone there will direct you straight to the proper area. They even have handout maps to help you. I will try to explain to you where it is located. State Rd 9 is our bypass sort of around Marion. At least that was the original intention. Now Marion kind of grew up around it. State Rd 9 runs north and south, and what you need to look for is 38th St., which is near the south edge of Marion. There is a stoplight there. Turn east and go about a mile which will take you across several small side streets, and then still proceeding east, staying on 38th street, where it intersects with Lincoln Blvd. is where the Veterans Hospital is. The cemetery is in the east part of their grounds. There are I think 3 entrances on 38th street. If you pass the first one I believe the cemetery office is at the 2nd entrance or maybe the 3rd. I am pretty sure that where 38th street intersects the bypass (St. Rd. #9) there are green signs that direct you to the Veterans Hospital.
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