LACONIA, N.H. (AP) - A long-lost plaque honoring a fallen Civil War soldier from New Hampshire has been found.
Nellie Bean Zebley was 14 when her father was killed in battle in Louisiana in 1862. Loammi Bean of Laconia, who was 37, was a farmer serving in the 8th New Hampshire Volunteer Regiment.
The Citizen reports (https://bit.ly/1sgGLQO) in 1894, Zebley paid tribute to her father by paying for a soldier’s memorial cast-iron statue with a fountain and bronze plaque. They were placed at the end of new Hampshire Road in The Weirs, near to where Civil War veterans camped in the summertime. Later, the area became home to the New Hampshire Veterans Association.
Zebley died in 1920. In July 1931, lightning struck the statue, shattering it. People collected pieces of the debris, including the plaque.
In 1978, Robert and Sylvia Newton of Warren found the plaque in a burned out cellar hole on their property. They wrote a letter to the city of Laconia, which the local historical society tracked down in a box of documents last fall.
“They were still there and they still had it,” said Brenda Kean, executive director of the Laconia Historical and Museum Society. “I then tried to see if Nellie had any descendants that were living and then made contact with them, too.”
Zebley’s descendants, Richard and JoAnn Tebbett of Laconia, say the plaque’s discovery is amazing.
“We weren’t even sure it still existed,” JoAnn Tebbett said. “It’s karma. We have always been so proud of Nellie and Loammi, and so we are grateful to the Newtons for their generosity in sharing this with us. It’s like connecting with a link to the past and a piece of our own history.”
Kean thinks the plaque ended up with Zebley’s nurse, Josie Swain, who lived in Warren. How it ended up in the cellar hole isn’t known.
The plaque will be featured at an exhibition of the history of the New Hampshire Veterans Association from April 22 through July at the Laconia Public Library.
Information from: Citizen, https://www.citizen.com
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