Omena Grave of Civil War vet from Michigan to get headstone Descendant learned of ancestor's service from history book on Traverse City

By Loraine Anderson

Traverse City Record-Eagle

OMENA, Mich. (AP) -- Local pioneer Aaron B. Page, a Civil War veteran buried in an unmarked Colorado grave, finally will get a headstone.

He will be honored in a full-fledged graveside military ceremony in April, thanks to Cedar author Julie Schopieray and a downstate descendant who read her first history book.

Page, born in Vermont and raised in Grand Rapids, came to Traverse City in his early 20s to work as a surveyor in 1853.

Schopieray's 2009 book "In So Distant a Place as Traverse City: The Northern Michigan Relatives of Elizabeth Bacon Custer" documents Page's Civil War service. The book included a chapter on Page and his wife, Almira H. Dame. Page was an uncle to "Libbie" Bacon, who married Civil War Gen. George A. Custer.

That chapter captured the attention of Page's descendant Michael J. Page, of Rockford, who purchased the book more than a year ago at the Omena History Museum.

Michael Page immediately started the process of acquiring a headstone from the U.S. Veterans Administration for the unmarked grave. He also arranged for the April 28 ceremony after officials at a Denver cemetery located the burial spot.

Both Page and Schopieray plan to attend the service, where they'll meet in person for the first time.

"This is the culmination of efforts from many individuals and organizations, and we hope to have several family members present at the ceremony," Michael Page said.

The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Centennial Camp 100 will conduct the service with assistance from the 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry and other uniformed military units.

Schopieray, a genealogist and a writer, is not related to the family but wants to pay tribute.

"I think it's very important," she said. "These people became real to me as I did the research and described their lives."

Page served as Northport's first postmaster from 1854 to 1858. He purchased 100 acres on a hilltop overlooking Omena Bay and also was Omena's postmaster for years.

He enlisted on Dec. 8, 1863, as a private in the 72nd Illinois Infantry, Co. E. He was 32 at the time and married to Dame, daughter of early Northport settler Joseph Dame. Page joined the regiment in Vicksburg, Miss., in January 1864. Pension records indicate he was sent home on a 30-day furlough because of dysentery.

Page died on Jan. 22, 1915, in Denver after an automobile struck him just days before his 84th birthday.

Published: Thu, Feb 23, 2012

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