The grave of Civil War veteran Francis Henry Lee Barnacassel finally got a headstone 92 years after his death, thanks to Sons of the American Legion (SAL). A Civil War Veteran Monument Dedication was conducted last Friday at Waldheim Cemetery near Callaway.
At the Callaway Christmas Celebration, Keri Chesley approached the Sons informing them about Barnacassel’s grave which had no headstone, only a mortuary marker and an incorrect Grand Army of the Republic marker. He fought on the Confederate side of the war.
Chesley asked if SAL would consider putting a headstone on his grave. Member Tim Hiatt took the matter to a SAL meeting and all members voted “yes," the grave should have a headstone from Palmer Monument in Broken Bow.
After an extensive search to locate family members with no luck, SAL placed a headstone on the grave.
As fate would have it, the Barnacassel family visited the Waldheim Cemetery for Memorial Day and was surprised to find a headstone. The family contacted the Village of Callaway to find out who they needed to thank for doing this. The old worn mortuary marker was removed, and the G.A.R emblem will be replaced with the correct emblem.
Barncassel’s family met the members and thanked them for honoring their ancestor with the headstone.
What seemed to be “just the right thing to do for Henry” turned out to be a truly amazing experience for the Sons of the American Legion.
About the man
Francis Henry Lee Barnacassel
Birth: May 18, 1846
North Carolina, USA
Death: Feb. 2, 1923
His given name was Francis but he went by Henry. Henry enlisted June 1864, 9th Battalion NC Sharpshooters, Co B, and he served in that company with brothers John and Ephraim. Henry and three of his brothers were paroled at Appomattox Court House April 9, 1865. Henry is listed in muster rolls as Francis Henry, Francis Henry Lee, HL, and various forms of Barnacastle and Cassel. He used the name Henry Cassel or Barnacastle from the Civil War until his death. Some Appomattox records call him H.L.B. Cassel. The middle name Lee only appears in his Civil War receipts; perhaps he added it as tribute to Robert E Lee.
Henry married Jennie Goodel Bloss, and they moved with younger brother John to Nebraska, taking the train and then covered wagon to get there. Henry and family then moved to Colorado around 1887. Oldest son James Frank died there in 1888. Henry obtained a land grant on Oct. 27, 1891, from the Denver Land Office (a Preemption Act entry in Register of Cash Receipts, and a Timber Culture Act in Register of Timber Culture Entries). It was for 160 acres in Lincoln County, Colo. His name on that document was Henry Barneycassel. 1900 census of El Paso, Colo, shows him married but living alone. Don't know where the family lived.
In 1915, Henry and Jennie moved to Finchville, Neb., probably to be near Brother John. They were in Colorado in early 1915, though, because Jennie received a manuscript from her maiden aunt concerning the Bloss genealogy, and it was sent to Deer Trail, Colo.
According to a letter from Frona, Henry always signed his name Henry Barnacassel, and his obituary called him Henry Barnacastle. An online source says the obituary in the Arnold Sentinal was published 7/11/1923 - if correct he died in July instead of February.
Henry and Jennie are buried next to Brother John and family. We're not sure if Leon's body was moved from Colorado to this plot; he purchased the plot. Also, it is said that there is more than one infant buried here, no name and in unmarked graves.
— AtWaldheim Cemetery Co.
Sons of the American Legion Commander Adam Petersen, Vice Commander Tim Hiatt.