Monday, August 13, 2012

Military Monday and a Little Bit of Genealogy Serendipity!

This is another one of those "that did not just happen to me" moments!

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.


William BOTKIN

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 far so good!  I pulled into the cemetery and my heart 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......


  1. This post sent shivers up my spine - in a good way. I love it when an ancestor is "calling out to you."

    Very cool!

  2. I'm with Elizabeth --- goose bumps it is. I love it when the universe just shakes everything right into place. Lucky you for that great day.

  3. It's so thrilling when this happens! Congratulations on finding him, Lisa. And thanks for the link to the U.S. Army Heritage site. I'll go look for my great-grandfather there.

  4. Amazing!!! That was the same reaction when I drove into the Green Lawn Cemetery in Ohio. Sure I knew where I was going but I randomly selected a starting point and it turned out to be my great grandfather. Stories like these give me such happy tears. Congrats on the find.

  5. I just came across this blog post. Enjoyed it a lot. In case you don't have this -- here is obit I found for John.

    Date: Wednesday, January 3, 1912 Paper: Idaho Statesman (Boise, ID) Issue: 140 Page: 2
    CALDWELL. Jan. 2 -- The funeral services over the remains of J. W. Botkin were held at the Presbyterian Church today at 10:30. His death occurred Sunday. The remains were shipped to his former home at Tarkio, Mo. where they will be laid beside those of his wife.
    This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004.Source: