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Civil War soldier returning to Nebraska for proper burial more than 100 years later

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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PLATTSMOUTH, Neb. (WOWT) - After more than 100 years, a civil war soldier is finally returning to Nebraska and will be laid to rest later this month.

Flashback to the five bloodiest years in American history, the war between the States affected almost every household in the country. More than 160 years later, the remains of many who served are still unaccounted for.

Benton Kinkead served the Union, enlisting with the 77th Ohio Volunteers. Kinkead fought in four major battles including Shiloh. He survived the war and moved west, settling in Plattsmouth before moving on to Washington state.

But to Kinkead, Plattsmouth was always home.

“They found Benton’s ashes on the shelf in Washington in a funeral home and they started doing research,” said Kermit Reisdorph, a veteran from Plattsmouth.

That research led back to Plattsmouth - and to fellow veteran Kermit Reisdorph.

“Why would I be interested in ashes?” said Reisdorph, “But then he went ahead and told me it was a Civil War vet and I definitely... I’ll be out to see you.”

Reisdorph insisted Kinkead be properly buried with military rights.

Fellow vet Charles Jones and others began making preparations to have Kinkead’s remains buried in Plattsmouth. The veterans felt this was a perfect opportunity to recognize the fallen soldier as a hero and to possibly bring people to the area.

“To have an opportunity to honor a man who has paid the full price we all will eventually, it’s a good thing to be able to do,” said Jones.

Instead of going unrecognized on a dusty shelf, Kinkead will be laid to rest alongside other Civil War veterans in a Plattsmouth cemetery during a ceremony on Oct. 30.

“This is something I know I’ll never be able to do again,” said Reisdorph.

Full military honors will be bestowed on Kinkead at Oak Hill Cemetary on Saturday, Oct. 30, beginning at noon.

But during his lifetime, Kinkead was like many other young men in the 1860s - he answered the call to save the Union.

“He enlisted in the military in Ohio with the 77th infantry, Company D there and he was in about four different battles and when he got out, because he was actually shot, he got shot in the heel with a musket ball so they mustered him out as a disabled veteran,” said Reisdorph.

After the battles, Kinkead then returned to Ohio and married Cynthia Vest. A short five years later, they moved west and found themselves in Plattsmouth raising a family. Unfortunately, Cynthia passed away in 1910 and Kinkead moved even more west.

“He lived another six years and passed away and that’s where he’s been ever since then, just on a dusty shelf,” Reisdorph said.

The couple was now separated by half a continent.

When Veterans Reisdorph and Jones heard about his remains, they decided to take action and to give Kinkead what he deserved - a proper burial.

After locating Kinkead’s great-grandchildren, the veterans asked if they could have him buried next to Cynthia in Plattsmouth.

“He will be moved on a special cart,” Jones said, “And there’s a special marker that has been designed and will be brought here for his place in this location.”

Cynthia will no longer be alone as her husband is finally coming home. The couple will rest together in Oak Hill cemetery - this time to never be parted.

“To be joined after 110 years, or whatever it is that they have been separated, it’s the appropriate thing,” Jones said.

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