• 57°

Civil War marker returns to Natchez after 65 years

 

NATCHEZ — A ceremony Monday will celebrate the return of a Civil War grave marker to Natchez after 65 years.

The ceremony is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. at the Natchez National Cemetery.

The more than 117-year-old memorial star grave marker, dedicated to an unknown Union soldier, is currently in the possession of author Diana Savastano, who found the marker in 1991 at a Florida antiques shop. She was looking for a Civil War piece and gravitated to the marker, a five-pointed star inscribed, “Our Comrade Soldier, 1861-1865.”

Though the exact origin of the marker is difficult to verify completely, Savastano claims a young boy took the marker from the cemetery in 1952, not knowing what it was. The boy, Savastano said, hid the marker in his parents’ suitcase and upon returning home, showed the marker to his father. The boy’s father, a shop owner, hid the marker away for decades out of fear of retribution.

Thirty-nine years later, Savastano worked to authenticate the memorial. With just the elderly shop-owner’s tale to go on, Savastano sought out the help the Natchez National Cemetery’s then-director, Alvin Sander.

Savastano said a worker at the cemetery remembered that a marker from the cemetery was reported missing in 1952.

“And there was the proof of its authenticity,” Savastano said.

The antique memorial inspired Savastano to write a novel, called “The Marker,” which she published in September after 26 years of work.

While the cemetery’s current assistant director, Skip Solomon, said he could not know for certain if the marker came from his cemetery, he was happy to take the marker as a donation.

“She was looking for a good, secure place to put it back in Natchez,” Solomon said. “We said, ‘Sure, we can accept it.’”

Savastano, an Atlanta novelist had never been to Natchez before, until she visited Natchez National Cemetery midway through writing her book.

“I made a trip out to Natchez a number of years ago,” she said. “It was rather an emotional thing to actually walk on the grounds of the cemetery, of that unknown soldier.”

Savastano said her ultimate goal was always to return the marker where it belongs upon completion of the novel.

When the memorial marker makes its return Monday, it will be cased for display with an account of where it was found and how it made its way back home.

BREAKING NEWS

Vidalia missing teen found after extensive search

News

Law enforcement agencies continue search for missing 17-year-old

News

Natchez hires help in procuring disaster relief funds due to winter storm damage

News

Officials OK signs for high school sports championship row

DEVELOPING NEWS

Adams County Water Association lifts boil water notice

COVID-19

Teachers, first responders to be eligible for vaccine Monday

News

Mississippi House votes to overhaul several state taxes

News

Three men arrested in connection with 2018 double homicide

News

Natchez Water Works lifts boil water advisory

News

Ferriday man arrested for alleged assault on power line workers

News

Health care workers excited to open Trinity Medical Center

Business

Businesses impacted by severe winter weather

News

Utility companies still working to restore power, water to Miss-Lou residents

News

Damaged sewage line leaks raw sewage into St. Catherine’s Creek

News

Miss-Lou still assessing damage caused by severe winter storm

News

Schools reopening after winter storm

Church News

St. Mary Basilica damaged in storm, but nothing that cannot be repaired

News

Devin Heath named new Visit Natchez Executive Director

News

No in-person classes for Natchez or Concordia Parish on Monday; ACCS and Cathedral will hold classes

News

Mayor: Natchez water situation greatly improved

News

Thousands still without power in Adams County

News

Natchez Brewing Company gives fresh water to Natchez residents

News

City of Natchez needs help finding leaks during water crisis

News

Photo gallery: Sparkling crepe myrtles add beauty to downtown Natchez scene