This story requires just a little bit of background information.
The story starts here with this post. For those of you who don't want to go back and read it I'll break it down for you. I was able to locate two civil war photos of my BOTKIN family on the US Army site found here. Turns out they were two brothers, William and John BOTKIN, who enlisted in the 69th Indiana Regiment, Company D.
As with most families who sent sons off to fight in the Civil War, only one returned home, John. William died at the age of 21 of Consumption in St. Louis, MO. His body was sent home and he was buried in Union Chapel Methodist Cemetery in Randolph County, IN.
This story however is about Williams brother John.
John returned from the war, married Mary MEYER, became a doctor and settled in Tarkio, Missouri. He died in 1911 and is buried in Tarkio. Requests for a volunteer to photograph John's stone for me on both RAOGK and Find A Grave came up empty handed. I put it in the back of my mind, hoping someday a volunteer would step foward and take the photo for me.
Well, a couple weeks ago I traveled with my parents back to my dad's hometown in the corner of southwest Iowa just a few miles from Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. On the way I was browsing my smart phone map judging how close we were to arriving in Shenendoah (a modern day take on "are we there yet"!) when I noticed they was a county in Iowa called Tarkio. Which made me wonder how far is Tarkio county Iowa from Tarkio county, Missouri?
The short answer is Tarkio, Missouri ended up being 20 miles from the hotel we were staying in! And you know I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity.
Day 2 of our trip turned out rainy in the afternoon. My dad decided he would like to go back to the hotel and take a nap and I thought this was a perfect chance for me to make that trip to Missouri! My GPS told me that the road right in front of the hotel would take me straight to Tarkio. Once I got there I had no idea where the cemetery was located or how large it was. I set out on faith alone!
20 miles and 20 minutes later I pulled into the small town of Tarkio. Within a few blocks there was a sign on the left for the cemetery....so far so good! I pulled into the cemetery and my heart fell.....it was large. And I had no idea where John's stone would be. Still, I was there and not about to leave without trying.
Mom had decided to join me on this adventure and I said to her "let's just take a drive around the perimeter of the cemetery and get a feel for which sections would be the oldest." I began driving into the cemetery and took the first road to my right. At the first curve mom said the magic word....BOTKIN. No way. No freakin' way. We drove straight to his stone without knowing it.
There he sat, right at the edge of the road. Just waiting for me to find him. The last piece to the puzzle of the BOTKIN brothers. We found you John! Or rather, you found us......