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Mike Watson: A memorial day story - Captain John T. McLain
This is an old story taken from the Adair County News,, in the "Burksvill" newsletter, about Capt. John T. McLain, who is buried at the summit of the Big Hill overlooking the City of Burkesville, KY. It is an account of Decoration Day, today observed as Memorial Day.
Click on headline for complete story with photo(s) The writer of this article, Mike Watson will be among the vendors at the 10am-3pmCT/11am-4pmET, Saturday, June 1, 2013, 2nd Annual Book Fair at the Historic Adair County Courthouse, 500 Public Square, Columbia, KY.
By Mike Watson
Adair County Historian
"Decoration Day has been generally unobserved here and entirely so except the decoration of one grave. Judge J.J. Simpson, County Clerk M.M. Collins, Dr. J.H. Myers and Leslie Cary enwreathed and strew flowers upon the grave of Capt. John T. McLain. Capt. McLean will always be remembered with an intermixture of admiration and curiosity by those who knew him and will be looked upon with some degree of mystery and superstition by those whose information comes second handed.
"The grave situated upon the summit of the 'Big Hill', the highest point in Cumberland County and more than 900 feet above the sea-level. Here the body of the once brave Capt. McLain has been resting for more than thirty years, a view from which place down upon the Cumberland valley and the town of Burksville below, the verdured hills to the right and left, and e'en Cumberland mountains the horizon, must rival the grandeur of Yosemite. Capt. McLain was buried at this point at his own request which was made a few minutes before he died by his own hand.
"He shot himself in a little house lately used by Dr. J.C. Herriford just below the Burksville Hotel. His request was to be buried by a certain rose-bush on the summit of the Big Hill, and it is told that he said that this was as near Heaven as he could ever get and that he wanted to be buried there for that reason. This is probably not true, however. The grave is marked by one small white headstone containing the inscription: 'Capt. J.T. McLain, Co. J 1st KY Cavalry.'
"The following concerning Capt. McLain is copied from the Adjutant General's Report: 'Capt. John T. McLain was enrolled August 20, 1861; mustered in December 5, 1861, at Camp Boyle [Columbia], Kentucky, for three years; was promoted from 1st Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant, August 10, 1862; promoted to 1st Lieutenant July 4, 1863; promoted to Captain June 30, 1864.'
"Captain McLain was an eccentric man but greatly beloved by his comrades. He killed a man by the name of Dick Watson, a union soldier, thinking he was a guerrilla. He was an inebriate and it said that this led to his suicide. Mrs. Caroline Williams, of Leslie, is a sister of his."
This story, above, appeared in the Adair County News on 6 June 1900, in the "Burksville" newsletter.
Recent research on Captain McLain, from Adjutant General's Report of Kentucky and Service Record: John T. McLain, Service Record filed as McLane, Company J, 1 KY Cavalry, enrolled as 4th Sergeant on 26 August 1861 Burkesville, Cumberland County, age 22, mustered 28 October 1861 Camp Boyle, Columbia, KY (AG has Camp Dick Robinson); furnished his own horse and equipment; promoted from 1st Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant 20 July 1862; promoted to 1st Lieutenant, mustered as such 27 August 1863 at Knoxville, TN, to be effective from 4 July 1863, date of his commission; appointed Captain of "New Company B" 1st KY Cavalry, mustered as such 15 July 1864 at Marietta, GA; mustered out 30 September 1865 Louisville, KY.
This story was posted on 2013-05-23 14:24:32
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