Confederate soldier to receive tombstone
By By Adam Prestridge
Tony Ging, a descendant of a Confederate cavalryman, is prepared to give his great grandfather a proper funeral.
As he stood in the wooden entranceway to Atmore's historic Williams Station Cemetery late Monday afternoon, the quietness was broken by the whistle of a passing train amid the rustling of dry grass. Ging's family doesn't know exactly where grandpa is buried, but they know too well of what a heavy burden it has been on their hearts by not having a place to pay their respects for the past 105 years.
"It has really been an embracement to the family that this grave has not been marked," Ging said at the Atmore city council meeting earlier that afternoon. "I'm now in the process of ordering a headstone for great grandpa Barlow."
Ging approached the council requesting permission to place a headstone for his great grandfather, T.R. Barlow, a Confederate soldier with the 7th Alabama Regiment, in Williams Station Cemetery.
"We know Williams Station Cemetery is over there, but not often do we have people come by wanting to tend to a relative that is buried there," Atmore Mayor Howard Shell said. "There certainly is no problem. It is recorded that Mr. T.R. Barlow is indeed buried in Williams Station Cemetery."
Ging's request was unanimously approved, lifting a heavy weight off the hearts of Barlow's descendants, who have visited the cemetery for years. Prior to his death, John Barlow, the son of T.R. Barlow, frequently visited the cemetery attempting to remember where his beloved father was buried.
"He (John Barlow) used to go to the cemetery thinking he could remember where the grave was," Ging said. "His daughter (Dorothy) said he left there very sad every time because he could not remember where he was buried. That was a theme I kept hearing from all of the family. They felt like they didn't have a place to go visit."
This is not the first time Ging, a 62-year-old, semi-retired chemist, has assisted his family with marking the grave of a loved one. Just last month, his attempts to mark the grave of his other great grandfather, Civil War veteran Thomas J. Lisco Jr., were fulfilled when he received his tombstone in Morgan Cemetery in Molino, Fla.
Following Lisco's funeral, one of Barlow's granddaughters, Aggidean Dagen of Pineville, Fla., Ging's mother's cousin, asked him to assist her with doing the same for grandfather. He obliged to her request.
"I did not realize how it made everyone feel," Ging said. "My mother (Kathleen Lisco Ging) said that she felt that her granddaddy had just been thrown away because she didn't know where they were buried. They knew the cemetery, but they just didn't know where the graves were. There were no markers there."
Ging said he's got a lot of satisfaction out of helping his family.
"I think I've got as much out of it as they have," he said. "I'm 62 years old and I haven't done anything to mark the graves. I feel like I'm just as guilty as they are. There's enough guilt for all of us. It has made me feel good because they can now relieve the guilty they have because the graves will be marked. My satisfaction is relieving the embracement they had."
After tying up some loose end with final paperwork required for placement of the headstone, Ging will join his family for a funeral in Williams Station Cemetery later this year.