Woodlawn Cemetery

Woodlawn Cemetery(Click the photo above for an audio tour)

The first memorial service in Illinois, one of the first in the nation to honor those who had died in the Civil War, took place at Woodlawn Cemetery on April 29, 1866. On the previous Sunday, three returning veterans of the Civil War were waiting for church services to begin at the Crab Orchard Christian Church, located southwest of Carbondale. They saw a young woman with two infants approach a small, unmarked grave in the churchyard cemetery, place flowers on it, and kneel in prayer next to it. After seeing this, the veterans then decided to collect wildflowers from fields around the church and put them on the graves of all the soldiers in the cemetery. It occurred to them that the graves of veterans in Carbondale's Woodlawn Cemetery should also be decorated with flowers, so they arranged with community leaders to have a parade of veterans and a memorial service on the following Sunday, April 29, 1866. When the day of remembrance came, more than 200 veterans gathered at the old "Blue Church" on what is now East Jackson Street. Methodist Minister J.W. Lane stood on the steps to greet them. The Marshall of the Day, Colonel E. J. Ingersoll, and the speaker, General John A. Logan of the Union Army, led a procession to Woodlawn Cemetery. Silence fell when the parade came into view of the crowd assembled at the Cemetery. Reverend Lane led the assemblage in prayer. General Logan spoke to his neighbors saying, “Every man’s life belongs to his country, and no man has a right to refuse when his country calls for it.” These words and other notes of the day were recorded in a book owned by James Green, sexton of Woodlawn Cemetery and General Logan’s first cousin. The Woodlawn Cemetery Mural at 317 E. Main was conceived by artist Christine DeShazo, in honor of Carbondale’s history and as a tribute to influential figures of the city’s past. The mural incorporates three historical portraits: Daniel Brush, the founder of Carbondale, and General John A. Logan, who helped make Memorial Day a national holiday. The third portrait is of Calvin Scott, a much-loved local, playing his adored bugle. Christine DeShazo of Spectrum Graphics (Murphysboro, IL) has completed numerous murals in the Southern Illinois area. Her large, intricate murals often engage a crew of talented muralists who call themselves the Wall Dogs.