GREENVILLE — The Wreaths Across America program at the Greenville Union Cemetery continues to grow, thanks to the hard work of Daughters of the American Revolution members Debbie Nisonger, Helen Wright, Chris Nehring, and Cindy Austen.
Along with them, Caroline Petitjean has worked behind the scene and submitted applications for four Civil War Veterans — who had damaged markers or no grave marker.
Between them, they have combined for more than 172 volunteer hours with the project.
The Greenville Union Cemetery is owned by the city and township.
“The cemetery opened in 1850,” Greenville Union Cemetery Superintendent Tracy Tryon said. “And there were some graves transferred over from the cemetery that used to be on Water Street. So, there is a lot of history buried here. This is my first year (as the superintendent). These ladies have done a great job with research and finding graves.”
Nisonger said it is a learning experience.
“This project has been very educational,” Nisonger said. “This history of our local brave men and women buried at Greenville Union Cemetery has been amazing and very interesting.”
One example of that is the grave of Major John Hughes.
Hughes enlisted for three months and served in the 1st Ohio Volunteer Infantry from April 1861 to August 1861.
He fought in the battle of Vienna and Battle of First Bull Run. After the war, he moved from Dayton to Darke County with his family in 1870, pursuing his profession as a tailor.
Tryon noted that this year has been different with COVID-19.
“People have more time off and we have had a lot more genealogy requests,” he said. “We have learned of interesting stories and information about those buried here.”
The Fort GreeneVille Chapter of DAR has been coordinating Wreaths Across America at the cemetery since 2018, with Zechar Bailey Funeral Home as a sponsor.
“They approaches us about sponsoring the program,” Greg Zechar said. “We have more than doubled the number of wreaths this year.”
In 2018, there were 299 wreaths placed, while in 2019, there were 428 wreaths placed. This year, there are 1,079 wreaths ordered, but they are not done yet.
The target number is 1,548 — the number of veterans graves identified in the cemetery. The complete list of veteran graves can be found at the cemetery office during business hours and they were always looking for more information, if anyone has it.
“We are so close to being able to put a wreath on every veterans grave at Greenville Union Cemetery,” Nisonger said.
Wreaths can still be purchased up until Nov. 10 for $15.
You can go to wreathscarossamerica.org, click on number of wreaths and group to sponsor and type in Fort GreeneVille DAR or go to the Fort GreeneVille DAR page.
The National Wreaths Across America Day is Dec. 19 at the Greenville Union Cemetery.