Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Mystery of John W. Botkin Solved!

Last week I wrote about the book Letter from Elmira's Trunk: An Indiana Family in the Civil War.  In the book were letters which mentioned two BOTKIN boys.  William T. BOTKIN, my relative, and another letter which mentioned John W. BOTKIN.  I wasn't sure who John was but assumed he may be a cousin of William's. 

Well, this week I took on the task of discovering who John W. BOTKIN was.  It didn't take long.  I contacted a gentleman who left a thank on the bio page of a Find a Grave volunteer. He descended from the same branch as William and confirmed for me that John W. was, in fact, William's brother!  He had two conflicting pieces of information regarding where John was buried.  One possibility was Greenhill Cemetery in Atchison County, Missouri.  The second option was Tarkio Home Cemetery in Atchison County, Missouri.   

A quick search of Find A Grave showed no memorial for John in either cemetery.  In fact, there was no listing for John on FAG at all.  Next I turned to RAOGK to look for a volunteer in Atchison County who might be willing to check the cemetery records for me.  But, sadly, there are no volunteers on RAOGK that cover Atchison County. 

Back to FAG I checked out the memorials listed in Green Hill Cemetery and sent a message for help to a volunteer that seemed to do a lot of work there.  He responded by telling me he no longer worked in the cemetery and was very sorry but he couldn't help.  Next I looked for an active volunteer from Tarkio Home Cemetery.  She also couldn't help but suggested I contact the library in Atchison County, MO and ask for they're assistance.

I took the telephone number for the library to work with me but before I called it I turned to one of my favorite sites to use for Google led me to the Missouri Tombstone Transcription Project.  It seems that volunteers have posted some cemetery records online!  Could I be so lucky?..........Nope.  Neither Greenhill or Tarkio were among the cemeteries posted.  Isn't that ALWAYS the case?

I was able to find a women through the Missouri Tombstone Transcription Project website who stated that she had a book entitled Gone But Not Forgotten and in this book was a listing of burials in both those cemeteries.  This afteroon I sent her an email asking for help, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  And my hopes were answered!  She was able to find John W. BOTKIN and his second wife Mary Elizabeth MEYER listed in the Home Cemetery, Tarkio, Missouri records!

Mystery solved.  Two brothers left for war on the same day and served in the same Infantry Unit.  Only one returned.  While William died six months later at the age of 21, John mustered out in 1865, married twice and lived until the age of 72.  I'm sure there is so much more to John's story but for now I am happy to discover where his final resting place is.

So tonight I added John's memorial to FAG..... and his name to my family tree.

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