Toledoan searches for documents to honor black Civil War vets - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Only On: Toledo man searches for documents to honor black Civil War veterans

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Druckemiller placing markers at graves Druckemiller placing markers at graves
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Dozens of our nation's heroes lay in unmarked graves in Toledo. They are Civil War veterans of the U.S. Colored Infantry. Those veterans could soon get military markers thanks to one local man.

Retiree Bob Druckemiller says getting grave markers for veterans is not an easy task. Records are required to prove their service. Finding those records from the Civil War era has proven to be nearly impossible.

Druckemiller is doing back breaking work, locating the graves of black Civil War soldiers at Toledo's Forest Cemetery.

Walking through the cemetery, he noticed something was lacking on several grave stones. "If you take a look, you can hardly read it," said Druckemiller as he stood over one of the plots. "It's leaning bad. This is one of the reasons I would like to get new markers for these," said Druckemiller.

Druckemiller places new markers for those brave men who, at the time, were believed by some to be unworthy of fighting side by side with white soldiers.

"Right here is where Joseph Clark is buried. He has no grave number, no headstone no monument, nothing," said Druckemiller as he stopped and stared at yet another unmarked grave.

Separate in service, but Druckemiller wants these Toledo soldiers to be equal in death.

He spends his days at the cemetery with his black book in tow filled with the countless names of men who gave their all. Druckemiller never got a chance to serve in the military due to an eye issue.

"I can't serve my country in that way, but I will help them this way," said Druckemiller.

Druckemiller says the grave markers are free if he can provide documents showing these men served, however, finding those papers is the tough part.

If he can't find records, Druckemiller has to search the national archives and pay out of pocket. That is what he says is slowing the whole process down.

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