Honoring veterans buried in eastern Delaware County cemeteries began as a pre-Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day community service project for members of Sunbury Halter and Saddle 4-H Club, but it’s become an ongoing labor of love. On Friday, May 23, club members will gather once again to honor veterans, followed by a potluck supper for club members and veterans at Sunbury Town Hall.
This year, members of Sunbury Halter and Saddle, joined by members of Sunbury’s Col. Benson W. Hough American Legion Post 457, will recognize World War I veterans buried at Berkshire Cemetery and also recognize several Berkshire veterans who are not buried at Berkshire Cemetery.
During this year’s ceremony members of the club will also make special mention of Colonel Benson Hough, and how Post 457 was named in his honor. Hough was a charter member of the post, established in 1939.
At the end of the formal service, the gathering will move to the gravesite of Staff Sgt. Shannon Smith, who was killed in action on September 8, 2009, in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
World War I Soldiers in Berkshire Cemetery that will be recognized are:
* Major Benson Walker Hough, 1875-1935. Colonel 166th Regiment, 42nd Division World I, Ohio National Guard 1923-1935, Federal Judge, Southern District of Ohio 1925-1935. Buried in Berkshire Cemetery.
* Private George Oscar Beddow, 1893-1959. Enlisted in National Army on June 23, 1918 in Delaware, Ohio; Served in Company L 333rd Infantry and Machine Gun Company to October 25, 1918; American Expeditionary Forces September 2, 1918 to April 27, 1919; also served in Company D, 129 Machine Gun BN during World War I. Buried in Berkshire Cemetery.
* Thomas Dunham, WWI.
* Private Robert Burns Finch, 1887-1950. Enlisted May 29, 1918; Served in the 162nd Infantry 41st Division & Sunset Division; Headquarters Company in World War I, Discharged March 5, 1919; Has U. S. Military Headstone; Buried in Berkshire Cemetery; Listed on 1900, 1910,and 1930 Berkshire Township censuses; and 1940 Lancaster, Ohio census.
* Private Lewis R. Howard, 1890-1965. Served in 15 Aero Construction Company in World War I.
* W. H. Kilpatrick. Served in Company B of 121st Ohio Infantry.
* Private Charles Pettibone, 1889-1973. Served in U. S. Army in World War I.
* Private Albert Monroe Shannon, 1890-1959. Born in Kingston Township; Enlisted June 23, 1918 at Delaware, Ohio, in National Army; Served in Company F, 309 Ammunition Train during World War I; American Expeditionary Forces September 17, 1918 to January 3, 1919; Honorable Discharge February 14, 1919; Buried in Berkshire Cemetery.
Also to be recognized will be Spanish American War veteran Jno. D. Sheets who served in Company G of 185th Infantry.
Club advisor Suzanne Allen said members of the public are welcome to attend the 4 p.m., Friday, May 23, ceremony at Berkshire Cemetery; and if any World War I soldiers were missed at Berkshire Cemetery to contact her through the Big Walnut Area Historical Society.
Allen also noted that researching and recognizing eastern Delaware County veterans from past wars is an ongoing project. She said if anyone knows of a Big Walnut area veteran buried in eastern Delaware County or elsewhere who does not have a veterans grave marker, or is not listed on the Big Walnut Area Historical Society website < BigWalnutHistory.org > to contact her.