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Civil War veterans memorial to be dedicated in Mt. Pleasant

| Wednesday, June 3, 2015, 7:51 p.m.
A.J. Panian | Trib Total Media
Rick Meason, president of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society, will oversee the dedication of a memorial to the 131 Civil War veterans buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery at 11 a.m. Saturday. The memorial was constructed by Bullskin's Domer DeWitt. The ceremony will be followed by the society's sixth annual Historic Cemetery Walk at the borough site.
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The sixth annual Historic Cemetery Walk will be conducted from noon to 3 p.m. by volunteer members of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society at the burial ground located at 140 Braddock Road Ave. in the borough.

The memory of Andrew Cain will no longer be overlooked.

While researching Civil War veterans over the winter who were buried at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, a local historian discovered that Cain, a Scottdale resident who served with the 6th U.S. Colored Troop, was laid to rest there.

Rick Meason, president of the Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society, also learned that Cain was wounded three times in less than one year during his service in the conflict, which has long been judged by many historians as the bloodiest and most pivotal in American history, he said.

Cain enlisted on July 14, 1863, and was discharged April 29, 1864, according to the 1890 Civil War Veterans Census, Meason said.

Despite losing vision in one eye from injuries sustained in the war, Cain lived to the age of 92 and died in 1923, Meason said.

“He was one of the most respected citizens of Scottdale,” he said.

Meason's discovery of Cain's burial plot brings the total number of Civil War veterans interred at the local cemetery to 131, he said.

A ceremony held last November honored the 130 other Civil War veterans laid to rest at the site, but Cain's interment was not known at the time.

With the dedication of a memorial meant to further recognize those veterans scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the cemetery located at 140 Braddock Road Ave., Cain will officially be counted with his brothers-in-arms, Meason said.

The dedication is free to attend and open to the public.

Discovery alters craftsman's plan

Upon learning of the Civil War ceremony held last fall at the local cemetery, which was conducted by the Westmoreland County Historical Society in conjunction with the local society, Bullskin's Domer DeWitt set out to create a memorial befitting the legacy of those lost so long ago, he said.

“The article (regarding the event) in the Journal is what inspired me,” DeWitt said.

At the time of the event, Meason had documented 130 Civil War veterans from 11 states buried there, so DeWitt initially made the memorial to honor those individuals.

The product of his toil was a fleet of rectangular, pine plates measuring 2-by-8 inches, each of which detailed a veteran's name, rank and unit with which they served.

When Meason learned of Cain's burial at the cemetery, he immediately alerted DeWitt, who then fed the veteran's information into his CNC Shark-brand computerized router to produce the 131st plate.

Lathered in three coats of marine varnish, the plates help compose the 74-by-54 inch structure that has been placed just inside the cemetery's main entrance along Braddock Road Avenue. The memorial is topped off by a headpiece complete with hand-painted flags of the Union and the Confederacy.

A roof DeWitt constructed rests atop the memorial.

“I'm pleased with it. I'm just glad I could do something like that to help honor those veterans,” he said.

Mt. Pleasant Area Historical Society member and professional stone mason Aaron Wolk and fellow society member Larry Golobish installed the posts which frame the structure, while borough resident Monty Gamble is planning to install a Plexiglass cover to protect the memorial from the elements, which will be financed by the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association.

“The (monument) has been installed to the right-hand side of the cemetery entrance, close to the road,” said Tom Milliron, the association's president.

Historic Cemetery Walk to follow ceremony

Following the dedication of the Civil War veterans memorial, the local historical society will commence its sixth annual Historic Cemetery Walk in the cemetery's winding, 50-acre expanse, Meason said.

Since 2010, the society has presented the yearly event in which attendees learn about some of Mt. Pleasant's most influential late citizens, he said.

The event — which is the society's first fundraising event of the year — will take place from noon to 3 p.m.

“Come learn about the people who helped build our town and the history of our burial customs. It will be a fun, educational, and affordable experience for the entire family,” Meason said.

During the event, the society will utilize volunteers who will discuss aspects of local history including the glass industry, the coal and coke industry and the area's military heritage, he said.

Admission to the walk is $5 for those ages 13 and older, $3 for children ages 6-12, and children ages 5 and younger will be admitted for free.

Tickets can be purchased at the event.

Tours will run approximately every 15 minutes. The tour takes about 45 minutes.

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or apanian@tribweb.com.

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