Memorial Service Honors Civil War Soldiers of the “McKendree Regiment”


Lebanon, Ill. — A memorial ceremony at noon on May 27 honored Civil War soldiers of the 117th Illinois Regiment at College Hill Cemetery in Lebanon.

Photo of 117th Illinois Regiment Ceremony

The fourth annual memorial service was held on the cemetery grounds at Stanton and Summerfield Streets, directly north of the campus. Prior to the ceremony, American flags were placed on the graves of Civil War soldiers Jesse Brant, William Ogden, Lt. Samuel H. Deneen (former professor of languages at McKendree, d. 1895), and Lt. William Wallis (d. 1901), of the “McKendree Regiment.”

Also known as “McKendree’s Own,” the 117th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers of the Union Army was comprised of about 900 mostly faculty, graduates, students and staff from McKendree College in Lebanon (now McKendree University, 183 years after its founding in 1828).

When the Civil War began in 1861, 150 of the 200 students enrolled volunteered for Federal Service, rushing to defend the Union. McKendree contributed at least six generals, 30 other officers and hundreds of enlisted men to the Northern ranks. Many of the trees on front lawn of the historic Lebanon campus were planted in memory of those who died in the Civil War.

The 20-minute ceremony included remarks by Sgt. Major Frank Austin of the 117th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment; “America the Beautiful” by soloist Grace Fisher, a McKendree student; and bugler Brad Penet of the U.S. Air Force.