As a volunteer with Find-A-Grave [FindAGrave.com], I photograph graves of veterans all the time. Many are marked with a generic military marker of marble or bronze, but some graves of veterans bear only family gravestones, with nothing to designate the deceased as having served our country. Such was the case of a gravestone I photographed in St. Ann Cemetery in Cranston, for Frederick C. Brayton. He is buried (section O, lot 330) with his wife and several of his children. Back in October of 2015, I created Find-A-Grave memorials for each, and uploaded photos of the front and back of the stone.
Fast forward to May, 2017. I received an email from a member of the Rhode Island Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War [RISUVCW], Elisha Dyer Camp 7, asking about Frederick C. Brayton (1849-1933). A member of this group was a descendant of Frederick Brayton, who had served in the Civil War. The group was planning on honoring the veteran during Memorial Day weekend.
According to Peter Sarazin, Camp 7 graves registration officer, Brayton was mustered in on March 7th, 1865 as a Private in Company B, 1st Rhode Island Light Artillery, and mustered out as a Private on June 12th, 1865 at Providence, Rhode Island.
Additional research revealed that Brayton was a member of Post 4, Grand Army of the Republic [GAR], following the war – the predecessor of Camp 7, SUVCW.
The group held a grave-side ceremony on Saturday, May 27, which included a reading of Brayton’s service, a musket salute and the playing of taps. It turns out Brayton’s brother, Oscar L. Brayton, also a civil war veteran buried in nearby Pocasset Cemetery, has been honored by the group each year, and will once again be honored on Monday, May 29.
St. Ann Cemetery and Pocasset Cemetery were just two of the many stops the Camp 7 SUVCW group – comprised of descendants of civil war veterans – had planned for Memorial Day weekend, which also included several parades.
Attending the ceremony for Frederick Brayton was a nice reminder of what Memorial Day – formerly known as “Decoration Day,” – is really about.