VAN WERT, Ohio (WFFT) - Independence Day is celebrated to remember the birth of the United States on July 4, 1776, the same day a veteran buried in Van Wert County was also born.
War of 1812 veteran James L. Coe was forgotten by many for more than a century because he was buried without a marker, until now.
"These anomalies will show up sometimes, especially in small towns," said Bill Marshall, Van Wert County Veteran Commissioner. "He was just by himself, and that doesn't make us feel good as veterans."
Not many people knew about Coe, until recently, his grave wasn't marked like those beside him.
"To me that seemed repressible that some how we didn't know as veterans," said Marshall. "I always had a real strange feeling about following the story about James L. Coe."
Coe is the oldest vet buried at Woodland Cemetery.
He is surrounded by hundreds of other people who served.
"We put a flag [at veterans' graves] this last Memorial Day. We put 2,200 flags in our cemetery," Marshall said.
All of them likely were laid to rest with a military celebration, except Coe.
Marshal is planning a ceremony for Coe later this month.
"We did the right thing to begin with, but we want to go one step further," he said.
Marshall found Coe fought the British near the Canadian boarder, then came to northwest Ohio in 1855 on land given to him for his service.
"You're not going to believe this, this is where I grew up. This block of land that this gentleman had, this 160 acres was my family farm," Marshall said.
Coe's house is no longer there. Instead, corn and wind turbines are on the land. However, there is still a connection.
"I had always heard from my parents that the property we owned had been, was actually at one time owned by a soldier that had been given for their war service," said Marshall.
Marshall still hasn't found any living relatives for Coe.
"We want to...bring the veteran community together to honor this man who was in an unmarked grave for over 100 years."
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