A brother and sister, along with their spouses, stopped at Oakland Cemetery, April 22, to visit the graves of their ancestors, Sargent and Plumilla Field.
Betty and Dennis Field and Mary Ellen and Paul Benetz traveled from their homes in Cinnaminson, N.J., stopping along the way to visit graves of other relatives of Sargent Field.
Dennis Field and Mary Ellen Benetz are brother and sister.
Sargent Field farmed in Delaware County in Honey Creek Township. In 1862, at the age of 45, he volunteered to fight in the Union Army, becoming a member of the Graybeards Company. Sent to Camp Chase in Ohio, he fell ill and was discharged. Too ill to make it back to his farm, he stopped at the Manchester home of J. S. Belnap, where he died two days later.
Plumilla and Sargent Field had 14 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, 30 great-great-grandchildren and 46 great-great-great-grandchildren.
Field and three of his sons died as a result of the Civil War, with his youngest two sons being too young to serve. One of those survivors, Acts Field, was the great-grandfather to Dennis Field. Acts Field, who had 14 children, was the only son who had any children.
The couples brought with them soil from the graves of Sargent Field’s sons to place at the headstones of Sargent and Plumilla Field’s graves.
“By doing that, we are symbolically reuniting the family,” Betty Field explained, adding, “we also plan to take a bit of soil from Sargent’s grave and drive to the Honey Creek farm and deposit it there, to bring him back to his homestead.”
On the way to Manchester, the couples visited Andersonville Prison and the site of the battle of Missionary Ridge.
Betty Field said she doesn’t consider herself a Civil War buff. “When I started doing research on our genealogy and Dennis’ family, there was a connection. His father served in both WWII and Korea and his nickname was Sarge.”
Dennis Field said he thought of a scene from the movie “Amistad” as he drove to Iowa to visit the grave of his great-great-grandfather. “At the end of that movie, Anthony Hopkins, playing John Quincy Adams, looks at a bust of his father, who owned slaves. He looked at that bust and understood. He said ‘You are who you were.’ So that was really the motivation for us. Who we are is who we were.”
Betty Field knows what she would like to say to her husband’s great-great-grandfather. “I’d tell Sargent thank you for protecting our country. He tried to keep the country united.”