Harvey Slavens

According to cemetery records, Harvey Slavens was buried in Campbell Cemetery to the southeast of North Salem, and then reinterred in nearby Fairview Cemetery when it was created in the early 1890's. Harvey's grave is beside the right branch of the road coming in the entrance, about 20 yards beyond his brother Willis's grave. The gravesite is so close to the road that many years ago someone must have hit Harvey's grave marker.

The stone is broken in two large pieces; there may be a third smaller piece now beneath ground level. As it normally sits, the top half of the stone is propped in front of the bottom half, obscurring the name. If it hadn't been for three other Civil War veterans' graves beside it, I may not have investigated and never found Harvey's grave.

Harvey Slavens headstone. Harvey's stone, when laid out and in light that helps counteract the wear, is quite unique. At the top of the carving is a billowing flag, two revolvers, linked rings (perhaps the emblem of the International Order of Odd Fellows?) and the square and compass emblem of the Masonic Lodge. This indicates the stone is not government issue; those stones feature the soldier's name, rank, and unit and usually nothing else. According to their history, the early I.O.O.F. lodges usually included a mutual aid society, where the members would pay in a certain amount per month or year, and the money used to help with members' burial or other needs. It's possible the Masonic Lodge had a similar fund and helped pay for the stone, accounting for the presence of their emblem.

According to records at the state level, Harvey was never a member of the Masonic order, at least not while living in Indiana. Willis was a member at North Salem; perhaps that helped if the Lodge helped with the stone's creation.

Harvey Slavens was given a nice stone a century ago so that he wouldn't be forgotten. I'd like to see that honor restored, as his grave is the same as unmarked because of the broken stone. He doesn't even have a G.A.R. marker like the other graves beside his. (All of these men died during the Civil War, so none could have been G.A.R. members after the war.) As a Civil War veteran, the government should provide a replacement "name, rank, and unit" stone free of charge if asked. But what would be done with the old stone? It's too nice to be thrown away. Since Harvey left no heirs, who is really entitled to make those decisions? Should the local Masons and Odd Fellows be involved?

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