John Gwinn III was a United States Navy officer born in Maryland on 11 June 1791.
During the War of 1812, he was a POW after the Royal Navy had captured Frolic in 1814 and he later commanded Vandalia.
As Captain of USS Constitution, Gwinn sailed on 9 December 1848 and arrived at Tripoli on 19 January 1849. While transporting Daniel Smith McCauley and his family to Egypt, McCauley's wife gave birth to a son, who was named Constitution Stewart McCauley. At Gaeta on 1 August Gwinn received onboard King Ferdinand II and Pope Pius IX. This would be the first time a Pope had set foot on American territory. At Palermo on 1 September, Captain Gwinn died of chronic gastritis and was buried near Lazaretto on the 9th ending a forty-year Navy career.
Gwinn's body was moved to Glenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania a few years later and remained there until 1931 when his body was moved to Arlington National Cemetery.
^ a b Patterson, Micheal Robert (2 January 2008). "John Gwinn, Captain, United States Navy". Arlington National Cemetery Website. http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/john-gwinn.htm. Retrieved on 19 October 2008.
^ "Commanders of the USS Constitution". Timonier. 2002. http://www.polkcounty.org/timonier/commanders/commanders.htm. Retrieved on 19 October 2008.
^ Martin 1997, pp. 291–299
Martin, Tyrone G. (1997). A Most Fortunate Ship: A Narrative History of "Old Ironsides". Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1557505888. OCLC 243901224.
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Gwinn
John Gwinn Captain, United States Navy
HONORS FOR GWINN BEGUN
Body of Constitution’s Skipper Dug Up In Philadelphia for Reburial
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsyvlana, August 20, 1931 –
After resting eighty-one years in the soil of Philadelphia, the body of Captain John Gwinn, one-time commander of the frigate Constitution, was disinterred today from the old Glenwood Cemteery in preparation for burial in Arlington National Cemetery.
The body will be taken to Washington where a procession will march to Arlington for a ceremonial reburial. The marker on the Glenwood grave bore this inscription: “In memory of Captain John Gwinn, United States Navy, Born June 11, 1791; Died at Palermo, Sicily, September 1, 1849, while in command of the U.S. Frigate, Constitution. He served his country faithfully for forty years.”
The body was brough from Sicily and buried here September 19, 1850.
CAPTAIN GWINN’S BODY TAKEN TO STATION
Philadelphia War Veterans Are Guard of Honor for Coffin of Commander of Constitution To Be Buried At Arlington After Neglect of 80 Years, Military Honors Will Be Accorded by the Navy Department Tomorrow
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, August 22, 1931 –
Escorted by veterans of the Spanish-American and World Wars, a coffin containing the body of Captain John Gwinn, one-time commander of the frigate Constitution, was taken to the Broad Street Station today on the way to Arlington National Cemetery. After eighty years of obscurity in the old Glenwood Cemetery here, the bodies of Captain Gwinn and his wife will be buried at Arlington on Monday morning.
The grave of Captain Gwinn, who died at Palermo, Sicily, in 1848 while in command of the Constitution, was discovered recently by Frank X. Bosler, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, who notified James J. Burke, a leader in veterans affairs here.
With the aid of Charles J. O’Neill, commander of Liberty Bell Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a movement was begun to have the body taken to Washington.
Preceded by police and the Navy Yard Band, the coffin was borne on a gun caisson excorted by eleven members of the Dewey congressional Medal Men’s Association.
Admiral Lucius A. Bostwick, commandant of the Navy Yard, and other officers of the Navy and Army followed in automobiles.
The bodies of Captain Gwinn and his wife will be taken to Washington on a Pennsylvania Railroad train leaving at 6:50 o’clock tomorrow morning.
WASHINGTON, August 22, 1931 – A service with full military honors will be held on Monday at the Arlington National Cemetery for Captain John Gwinn. Acting Secretary Jahncke of the Navy Department and Chaplain Sydney K. Evans, Navy Chaplain, will officiate. A military escort composed of a company of bluejackets, a company of marines and the Navy Band will be provided.
OLD IRONSIDES GETS RELIC
Shield on Coffin of Captain Gwinn is Presented at Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania, September 27, 1931 –
A shield which in 1849 decorated the coffin of Captain John Gwinn, commander of the frigate Constitution, was presented to the Historical Museau aboard Old Ironsides here today by members of the Liberty Bell Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
On the varnished plaque, received by Lieutenant A. D. Clark in the absence of Captain Louis J. Gulliver, are two silver plates inscribed:
“Died September 4, 1849, in command of the U.S. Frigate Constitution, at Palermo, Sicily,”
and “Presented by Commander Charles J. O’Neill, Liberty Bell Post 1906, Veterans of Foreign Wars, U.S. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
The grave of Captain Gwinn was recently discovered in an abandoned cemetery in this city. Leaders of the Veterans of Foreign Wars brought about the reburial in Arlington National Cemetery.
Captain John Gwinn III was the son of John Jr. and Mary Good Gwinn, both of Maryland. He was born 11 June 1791 at Taneytown, Frederick County, Maryland. He married Caroline S. Lynch, 22 December 1823 at St. Peters Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
From the Aiken Standard (newspaper):
According to Boyd and Diane Gunter, president of the Horse Creek Historical Society, a train came through Aiken Station - then located in Warrenville - carrying, among others, a little boy. The boy, who was approximately 12 years old, was traveling alone and was too sick to speak. He didn't have any form of identification with him so he was taken in by Henry Senn, an area wagoner whose wife operated the Graniteville Hotel, to be nursed back to health when he'd be able to tell his story.
The little boy's fever never broke, and he died a few days later. He took his identity and the purpose for his trip with him to his grave, which was provided by the people of Graniteville.
"The village folk 'nickeled' up and had Mr. Lawrence Quimby, the coffin maker, build a coffin," Boyd said.
In addition, William Gregg, the founder of Graniteville, donated a burial plot in the cemetery. As was the case with other families that couldn't provide a gravestone, Gregg provided a cedar marker until the people of Graniteville saved enough money to purchase a permanent stone for the Little Boy.
This is another element that has added a sense of intrigue to his story.
"Time had passed, and no one could remember the day he died, so his stone reads, 'The Little Boy, October 1855,'" Boyd said.
The generosity of Graniteville didn't stop with the interment of the Little Boy. Over the years, the grave has been visited by many adults who leave flowers and children who leave coins, toys and other small gifts.
"This is probably the most visited grave in the cemetery," Gunter said of the final resting place of many, which also includes 83 Confederate soldiers.
As part of preserving the history of Graniteville and Aiken County, the historical society has maintained its monuments. The grave and tombstone of the Little Boy are no exception.
Enduring vagrants and vandalism are factors in the deterioration of the Graniteville Cemetery, which is only open to visitors during the day. Time and natural erosion ultimately have been the biggest culprits in the diminishing aesthetic beauty. The Little Boy's tombstone, the one which replaced the original cedar marker, broke over the years and is currently propped on the grave.
The historical society and the Graniteville Cemetery Association are in the process of buying a new tombstone. In addition, the historical society will beautify the grave by covering it with gravel, planting three crape myrtle trees and installing a bench for visitors.
Dedicated to the preservation and upkeep of the Little Boy's grave, not to mention his story, Boyd and Gunter are quick to point out there are so many more stories to tell. Many can be found in Graniteville Cemetery.
"Tombstones do talk," Boyd said of the symbolism and literal information they possess.
"There is so much here, a lot of history," Gunter said. "But this is what everybody knows - the Little Boy."