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“They need to be back with their graves,” Soldiers’ tombstones found on Oklahoma farm

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RINGWOOD, Okla. -- Two Oklahoma men are on a mission to move Civil War soldiers' headstones to their proper resting place.

The headstones have been out on a Ringwood farm since before Rod Bymaster can remember.

"My great grandmother did the land run here," said Bymaster. "As a kid growing up, these headstones were on that farm."

There are two tombstones for two union soldiers: one serving in the Arkansas Cavalry, the other in Kentucky.

Inscribed on the stones, the names 'Thos. J. Hutchins', and 'Wm. W. Thornberry.'

For the last few decades, they've been in the care of Jay Leierer.

"We discovered them when we bought the farm off his grandparents," said Leierer. "They were still under the same tree that they'd been under for years and years, we just pretty much left them alone."

But when Rod returned to Ringwood earlier this year, he met up with Jay at a local cafe, where the two talked tombstones.

"So I just asked him...'What ever happened to those headstones that were out there on the old farm,'" said Bymaster.

"When he asked, I knew exactly where they were," explained Leierer.

The two teamed up and called the Enid News to get the word out.

"The idea is hopefully to find out where they are buried, and get these placed at their graves," said Bymaster.

They've since been contacted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group out of Arkansas.

Through their research, the group says the headstones are for a Thomas Hutchins, who's buried in Alfalfa County, and for Wallace Ware Thornberry, buried nearby in Major County.

"Hopefully there's still family around, and we can get them on where they should be," said Bymaster.

The road home has taken a lot longer than planned, but for Jay and Rod, all that matters is for the headstones to rest where they belong.

"They belong to somebody who gave their life serving their country," said Leierer. "They need to be back with their graves."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans say they're working with a group out of Oklahoma, planning a proper ceremony for when the headstones are moved.


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