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Civil War soldier coming home to Plattsmouth

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Benton photo

The cremated remains of Civil War veteran Benton Kinkead, shown here with his wife, Cynthia, in an 1871 photo, will be interred at Plattsmouth's Oak Hill Cemetery on Oct. 30. Though they were from Ohio, the couple moved to Plattsmouth. His interment site will be besides her burial site.

PLATTSMOUTH – The cremated remains of a local soldier from long ago are coming home.

Plattsmouth veterans associations will inter the remains of Civil War Union Army Private Benton C. Kinkead in Oak Hill Cemetery on Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at 12 noon. The public is invited.

“It’s a once in a lifetime historical thing,” said local veteran Kermit Reisdorph. “We got a lot of people coming. He’s never been buried.”

The interment site will be alongside Kinkead’s wife, who is buried there, he said.

Kinkead’s remains are coming from Washington State.

According to information from the Cass County Historical Society and from local veterans, Kinkead was born on Feb. 1, 1845. He enlisted and was mustered in the 77th Ohio Infantry on Oct. 26, 1861, though other information states he joined earlier in May. Ohio records indicate he was 18 years old at the time, but based on his birthday, Kinkead would have been just 16 years old.

The 77th Infantry fought in the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Fallen Timbers, both in Tennessee, and the battle of Mark’s Mills and the Battle of Jenkins’ Ferry in Arkansas, both in 1864.

At the Mark’s Mills battle, he was captured and held prisoner for two months.

At the Jenkins’ Ferry battle, Kinkead suffered a crippling wound to his left ankle, which eventually caused him to muster out as a disabled veteran in December 1864 at Little Rock, Ark.

Kinkead returned to Ohio, got married, then the couple moved to Plattsmouth.

“He became a painter in Ohio and after getting married, they decided to move to Plattsmouth and ended up living here,” Reisdorph said. “He and his brother started a business together and his two girls graduated from Plattsmouth High School.”

After his wife, Cynthia, died in 1910, Kinkead moved to Seattle, Wash., and worked as a house painter until he died of lobar pneumonia on Nov. 8, 1916. He was 71 years old.

Information about him after that was unavailable, but according to Reisdorph, his ashes were sitting on a shelf in a Washington funeral home for at least 25 years waiting to be claimed.

Then, an organization that travels the country looking for unclaimed ashes found Kinkead, did research, and then contacted local veterans earlier this year, according to Reisdorph.

His ashes will lie in state for two days prior to the ceremony at the local Veterans of Foreign Wars headquarters.

On Oct. 30, Kinkead’s ashes will be transported from the VFW hall to the cemetery aboard a trailer pulled behind a pickup.

The burial service is a joint effort of the VFW, American Legion, and Sons of Union Army Veterans of the Civil War, which will lead the procession from the westernmost entrance of the cemetery to the interment site.

The Nebraska Volunteer Brass Band will perform Civil War era music with period instruments and in period uniforms. Local singer and veteran Terry Little will perform the National Anthem with members of the Plattsmouth High School choir performing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

The chaplain will be James Spanjers, pastor of Hosanna Lutheran Church. Members of the Legion Riders and the Patriot Guard are also expected to attend. Final Salute volleys will be presented by American Legion Post 237, Weeping Water.

“He is coming home where he belongs,” Reisdorph said.


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