WATERLOO, IL (KTVI) – This week marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. A 16-year-old Waterloo Illinois boy is completing a Civil War project that ties the past with the present. 100 veterans from the war that divided this country are buried at 4 different cemeteries in Waterloo. Boy Scout Shane Douglas is making sure those veterans are not forgotten. Douglas said, “The hardest part is trying to make sure we know where all the graves are at.”
This is Douglas’ Eagle Scout project. He’s placing a brand new plaque on graves of veterans. He’s learned that a lot of history happened in his own backyard. The teen said, “There were some confederates stealing horses in this area and they caught them and they end up actually hanging them.”
99 of the graves hold the remains of Union veterans. Only one is a Confederate. That man moved here from Arkansas after the war. Waterloo’s Mayor Tom Smith has pitched in, helping raise funds to pay for the grave markers. Smith said, “This is a great history lesson couldn’t be any prouder for him.”
After 150 years of rain, snow and all kinds of weather. Some of the graves are damaged or unreadable. Under Shane’s leadership and with the help of many citizens he’s looked at local cemetery maps and genealogy information to find all the graves. Laura Douglas is Shane’s mother, “I’ve always been interested in genealogy and history and he’s taken after that it’s a big project for him.” Mike Douglas is the boy’s father, “Extremely proud of all the things he’s been able to accomplish in scouts not just this.” Shane said his goal is simple, “Increase awareness that we actually have civil war veterans that helped affect our nation’s history.”
Thursday at 4:30 they will hold a ceremony at one cemetery where the last two markers will be put in place. One plaque is for the confederate soldier the other a Union troop. Everyone is invited.