Private John Wilker
Fifth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry
Thanks to Vicki Morris, who took the time to transcribe the names from one hundred and forty-nine legible grave markers at an old cemetery outside of Cheney, we have obtained a photograph of the tombstone of Private John Wilker of Company F.
Wilker was born on December 27, 1840 in Germany. He was a resident of Dubuque, Iowa when he enlisted on September 16, 1861. His entries in the Official Roster do not reveal much more than the fact that he served his full enlistment. However, he did not remain with the regiment to the end of the war, mustering out on October 25, 1864 at Nashville, Tennessee at the expiration of his term of service.
Following the War Between the States, Wilker enjoyed a long life. He died on October 21, 1930, and his marker proudly proclaims that he was a mature 89 years 9 months and 25 days old when he went to his eternal reward. The graves of his wife and two of his children lie beside his. Sadly, they did not live as long as their father.
On another sad note… Morris noted in her 1998 survey of the cemetery that its three civil war veteran graves all had GAR emblems or markers. Unfortunately, none of them remained when the Fifth Iowa Regimental webmaster visited Green Mound Cemetery in 2003. It must be assumed they have been stolen, as too many similar markers which a respectful society would preserve to honor the memory of our veterans. Sadly, a criminal minority robs them, their descendants, and all of the rest of us, of a symbol of the honor rightfully due them.