Honors planned for World War I veteran with unmarked grave in Oklahoma City
Even a century after he served, however briefly, and 55 years after his death, Army Pvt. Ulysses Grant Moore, a World War I veteran, is eligible for military funeral honors. They will be bestowed, and he will finally, properly, rest in peace.
The Oklahoma Army National Guard answered the call when it was revealed here recently that Moore's military-issued grave marker, identifying him as U.G. Moore, never made it to his grave upon his death in 1964. A man was startled to discover the marker in his backyard in the North Creston Hills neighborhood shortly after he moved into his house.
Like all members of the military on active duty, and veterans discharged other than dishonorably, Moore is eligible for a two-person honor guard detail to perform a ceremony that includes the folding and presenting of the American flag to the next of kin and the playing of taps, said Capt. S. Lee Sargent, casualty operations officer. Sargent said there is no record of any ceremony at his death.
Official military honors are in the works, in consultation with Moore's next of kin, his granddaughter Alma Lucas, now living in Texas. She said she never knew why the marker was deposited at the house, which she inherited and sold just last year. She has lived out of state for decades. Sargent said delivery of markers to homes was not uncommon at the time. Why Moore's never made to his burial place is a mystery.
Others are considering ways to further recognize the African American veteran, as well as black veterans generally and Trice Hill Cemetery, the African American cemetery at NE 50 and Coltrane Road where Moore's grave has gone unmarked for so long.
Clinton Johnston, of American Legion Post 157 and the National Association for Black Veterans, and Andre Head, of The Coltrane Group, African American history consultants, are considering inviting state and local dignitaries and whether a veterans service organization could be invited for added ceremony.
Jack Werner, owner of A to Z Inspections, also is involved in the planning. My hat is off to him for volunteering to put the headstone in safe-keeping the moment he read about it in this column.
Pomp generally does not come free, nor does the installation of a headstone, so all are looking for donors.
Here is what is known about Moore based on my own research and new information from Sargent:
Moore was born June 10, 1896, in Austin, Texas. He was inducted into the Army on Sept. 25, 1918, in Ardmore, where he lived. He was part of the 164th Depot Brigade until Oct. 9, then served in Company M of the 65th Pioneer Infantry Division, formed in October 1918 at Camp Funston, near Junction City, Kansas.
He was honorably discharged on Dec. 15 upon demobilization of the armed forces. With the war over within weeks of his induction, and Spanish flu raging, he probably never left camp until returning home.
Moore and his wife, Mentora, bought the house in North Creston Hills, built in 1940, from John and Leona Hicks on June 13, 1963, less than a year before Moore died on Jan. 20, 1964. Mentora was born in 1897 in the town of Berwyn (renamed Gene Autry in 1941), about 15 miles north of Ardmore, and lived in the house until she died in 1980.
More on the ceremony as plans are set.
You can email Real Estate Editor Richard Mize at firstname.lastname@example.org.