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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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January 15, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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January 15, 2014
 

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014 111 REGIONAL Q ' Plumas, Civil War vet finally.receives proper burial James Wilson Sports Editor sports@plumasnews.com ' iramar National Cemetery in San Diego held a burial Dec. 30, 2013. It wasn't business as usual at the cemetery, however. Only two of nearly 75 in attendance had ever actually met the deceased, and rather than sorrow, those present felt relief and joy. The man being buried was Plumas County resident Edwin Wfire, who died 89 years ago. Ware fought in the Civil War before returning to California and starting a family in Plumas County. Upon his death, Ware was placed in an unkempt grave. Nearly a century later Ware's great-granddaughter, Sandra Ellis, discovered Ware's grave and the circumstances surrounding his burial. Upon the discovery, Ellis began working to find a suitable place for Ware's body. Late last month, the search that lasted a decade came to an end and Ware's family could finally rest. Ware was born to a wealthy family who settled around the area that is now Paradise. Ware joined the Second Cavalry Regiment of California for the Union in 1864, and fought for the north for two years. After the war, Ware returned home to be with his family.  Ware.often.,left his family's land on Paradise Ridge to mine gold along the Feather River. It was during one of these trips that Ware met and fell in love with a Maidu woman named Mariah Williams. In 1888, the two married. Ware's family didn't approve of the interracial marriage, however, and disowned him. Ware and Mariah made a happy life together in Caribou, where they started a family. Ware fell ill with Parkinson's disease and in 1924 needed hospital attention. War'e's family in Paradise agreed to help get him to a veteran's hospital near Petaluma, but forbade Ware's wife and daughter from visiting him. On Dec. 29, 1924, Ware died. The next night, Ware's family from Paradise buried him without a funeral in a pauper's grave in a remote section of a Petaluma cemetery. The location of his gravesite was not disclosed to Ware's wife and daughter for the rest of their lives. Eventually, they were buried in Ware Cemetery, a Native American cemetery near Caribou. Ellis grew up hearing the tale of her great-grandfather, as did the rest of her family. Ware's descendants still have a connection to Plumas County, as Robert Ellis, Ware's great-grandson, lives in Meadow Valley. In the past, some of Ware's descendants tried to locate his resting place, but always encountered dead ends. In the 1990s, Sandra went on ancestry.com and began her own research. ',i,ve always had an interest in the family's genealogy, but never sat down and tried to go through records," Sandra explained. "Along the way, as I began to research relatives, there was this gap with Edwin." Piece by piece, Sandra discovered more about Ware and was able to trace his place of death to Petaluma. After contacting multiple cemeteries in the area, Sandra found Ware's burial r Edwin Ware's remains are carried to their new gravesite via a horse-drawn hearse Dec. 30, 2013. Photo by Bill Heard Ware's current grave at Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego provides a lasting resting place. Ware was reburied Dec. 30, 2013, with a proper ceremony 89 years after his death. Photo by Sandra Ellis Edwin Ware's original grave in Petaluma, overgrown and uncared for, shows neglect, Photo by Sandra Ellis Civil War veteran Edwin Ware can finally rest in peace after a ceremony in December. Ware formed a life and family near Caribou in Plumas County. He married a full-blooded Maidu woman, for which he was disowned by his family. Photo courtesy Kevin Hill Stones mark graves at the Ware CemiRery outside Caribou in Plumas County. The grave on the right belongs to Mariah Ware, Edwin's wife. The grave to the left is Laura Wilson's, Mariah's daughter from a previous marriage. Photo by Sandra Ellis First Lieutenant Emerick Gallegos presents the flag to Bea Oiivieri, 91, Edwin Ware's oldest living descendant, as pa of the ceremonies held at Miramar National Cemetery. Olivieri's daughter, Sandra Ellis, sits to the right. Ellis was integral in finding Ware's remains and organizing the funeral service. Photo by Bill Heard plot in a cemetery on Cyprus Hill. She visited her great-grandfather's grave and was appalled by what she saw. "My friend and I drove out to this remote section of the cemeterY, which was really overgrown with weeds -- just uncared for. There was a wooden marker that was very weathered. There was a dip in the ground where Edwin was buried. I wouldn't put my cat there. I knew I had to do something about this." Sandra started the long process of regaining her ancestor's body with the intention of giving Ware a proper burial and furteral. In 2005, she obtained a court order to move the body to Fehrman Mortuary in Quincy. Originally, Sandra and her family wished to bury Ware next to his wife in the family's cemetery near Caribou. However, because the cemetery is located on national forest now, burial would be impossible. "It's a private Indian. cemetery which is now on Plumas National Forest," said Sandra. "Because of the permitting required, we weren't able to bury Edwin there. We began to consider where else could be the right place." Sandra knew she wanted Ware to be buried somewhere that feels like home. Many of Ware's descendants live in southern California, so a gravesite there would make sense. Ware's grave would be tended to and cared for. Miramar National Cemetery was dedicated in 2010 as a cemetery for veterans. Sandra visited Miramar and immediately felt like she found the right spot. "The setting there is beautiful," described Sandra. "Something about it told me this was the right place. This would be entirely unlike the first burial. Edwin would not be forgotten." It came as a surprise to all of Ware's family when about 75 people showed up to the funeral to celebrate Ware's life. Two of Ware's grandchildren, Elsie Hill, 90, and Bea Olivieri, 91, were joined by Sandra. Hill and Olivieri were babies when Ware passed away and his oldest descendants. "My aunt and mother were pretty bowled over," said Sandra, describing Hill and Olivieri's reaction to the large turnout. "They asked who all the people were there for. When I told them it was for Edwin, my Aunt Elsie put her hand over her mouth and said, 'Oh my goodness!'" Many who heard of the occasion came to witness history. Members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War came dressed in Union Army uniforms and conducted a prayer at the ceremony. "I didn't realize the full historical extent until the ceremony," said Sandra. "This could possibly be the last funeral for a Civil War veteran ever." At that same time, Robert, Ware's great-grandson and Sandra's cousin, was at the Indian cemetery near Caribou visiting the graves of Ware's wife and daughter. "Normally when I visit their graves," Robert detailed, "I can sense the pain that Mariah and her daughter went through not knowing what happened to Edwin's body. I was there to tell them what was happening in San Diego at that moment, and I got a feeling of everything coming full circle. Finished." According to Sandra, / descendants of Ware's family. from Paradise have been nothing but supportive of the whole process. Another unexpected emotion Ware's descendants had was a deep level of forgiveness. "Times were tough back then and people made poor judgments that caused a lot of pain," reflected Robert. "But the overwhelming emotion that keeps coming back to me is forgiveness." A popular theory is that memories are passed down through generations. Ware's descendants were plagued i with memories of grief and pain. From here on out, however, the memories will be filled with relief and finality. 1