This Iowa Gravesite is Home to Extraordinary Civil War Veteran [PHOTOS]
This fenced-in Iowa gravesite holds the remains of a special man.
November 9, 1862, a man named Curtis King did something that so many others had done. He answered the call of President Abraham Lincoln and volunteered to join the Union Army. However, Curtis was much different than everyone else.
Volunteering wasn't easy for King. He was turned down twice before finally being accepted into Company H of the 37th Iowa Infantry. It was a company known as the Greybeards, one completely made up of men over age 45. They were not to see war action, but instead would do guard duty, according to Ancestral Findings. The Iowa regiment was the only one of its type in the nation.
On that November day 160 years ago when Curtis King was finally accepted and became a Private in the Union Army, he was blind in one eye. Hard as it is to believe, he was also 80 years old. King is widely considered to be the oldest man to serve in the Civil War.
Curtis King was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1783. He was the son of an Irish immigrant who was a veteran of the Revoluntary War. He was married at age 19 and later moved to Ohio with his first wife, Hannah. Together, they would have nine children, six sons and three daughters. They would divorce in the winter of 1840.
In the fall of 1841, King, still living in Ohio, got married again. He and his second wife, Matilda, would have nine sons and three daughters.
After spending some time in Indiana, Curtis and Matilda moved to Wapello County in Iowa where he continued to farm before joining the Union Army in November of 1862.
When King was discharged on March 19, 1863, Ancestral Findings says King was described "as one of the most efficient men in his regiment. His physical description listed him as being six foot two inches tall, of dark complexion, and blue eyes, and, not surprisingly, grey hair."
King would pass away four months after leaving the Union Army. He was 81 at the time of his death and the youngest of his 21 children was just 15 months old. He is buried in Curtis King Memorial Cemetery, just off Highway 63 between Oskaloosa and Ottumwa. Photos from the site are below. You can get directions HERE.
*The year after King left the Union Army, the Greybeards did see action. Ancestral Findings reports that 50 members of the regiment of men over age 45 were involved in a conflict with Confederate guerillas. Two members of the Greybeards were killed that day.