By Louie Graves
It was entirely by chance that the late historian Lucille Westbrook found the grave of a Revolutionary War soldier in Nashville.
Westbrook was reading old newspaper files to prepare her weekly column in the ‘Nashville News’ when she came across an obituary. The article said that a deceased man named Collins was buried at the side of his grandfather, Eli Collins.
Westbrook knew the name.
Eli Collins was a veteran of the Revolutionary War who moved first to Alabama, then to Arkansas in the care of his grandson.
The Daughters of the American Revolution had put up monuments to four Revolutionary War veterans in an old cemetery at Historic Washington, but no one really knew exactly where he was buried. They just knew it was in Hempstead County.
That is where Westbrook’s knowledge helped find the grave. She knew that when Eli Collins was buried, Howard County did not yet exist, and the site of the Nashville Cemetery was actually in Hempstead County.
Westbrook found the weathered Collins grave marker in the Nashville Cemetery and there, on the side, it said:
An old soldier found again. Westbrook also knew that Collins had fought in three separate campaigns in the war, returning to his home in Pennsylvania to farm in between battles.
On Monday, Memorial Day, someone had placed an American flag at the side of the Collins grave marker. He didn’t die in military service to the country, but he fought for freedom.