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Rededicating Their Service

By Suzanne Skwarski, Plank Road Questers #236

A Self-Guided Walking Tour of the Civil War Soldiers' Graves in Brighton's Old Village Cemetery

The past teaches much, and a cemetery is an unlikely but abundant wealth of information. Every grave stone is a story. Judith Coebly looked at the Old Village Cemetery in Brighton, Michigan and saw a vast amount of stories that needed to be told.

Judith Coebly is a retired educator and an active Quester as she serves both on the Michigan State Board of The Questers and also President of Plank Road Questers #236. One of her interests has been the human aspect and impact of the American Civil War. This is apparent in her accomplishment of a booklet which details the lives of those Union Soldiers whose grave stones are found in the Old Village Cemetery in Brighton, Michigan. Funded by a grant from the Michigan State Organization of The Questers, this booklet provides biographical information, pictures of some veterans, pictures of grave stones, and a self-guided walking tour of the cemetery grave sites. This booklet will be available for cemetery visitors' usage in May, 2017.

After more than 1,000 hours of research over the course of 2 years, Judith presents the stories behind the grave stones. In addition to the 38 identified veteran graves, research also revealed other grave markers were veterans. It was also discovered that some of the grave stones were only memorials (cenotaphs).

The Brighton Old Village Cemetery serves as a record of the historical development of the City of Brighton as it holds the grave markers of prominent local and state leaders, noted political figures, and Civil War Veterans. Designated as a Michigan State Historic Site, the cemetery provides many educational opportunities.

Through the spirit and support of The Questers, Judith Coebly has established another location that provides historical significance and of which it can be said, "This Place Matters!" 

Rededicating Their Service