Tuesday, December 16, 2008

More on the Andrews Andrew St. John headstone

Update from here.

Seems the headstone is incorrect -- which is a pity after waiting 106 years. (Update: 22 December 2008 -- Audrey Lange says the headstone is correct. St John gained the "s" at the end of the first Andrew while in the diplomatic service. See below*) This from Yahoo/Xtra:
American Civil War veteran Andrews St John may be turning in his west Auckland grave.

The old soldier waited 106 years for a headstone at the Waikumete Cemetery, only to have his name spelt wrong when it was dedicated today.

Tucked away in an overgrown corner of the country's largest cemetery the brand new marble headstone, sent from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs , is missing a letter in his Christian name.

Mr St John's burial register spelled his two Christian names "Andrews Andrew" St John but his headstone said "Andrew A" St John.

"Someone's made a bit of a booboo there," said Phil McKenna, from the US Consul-General's office in Auckland.

He said there may be room on the headstone to add an extra letter and correct the spelling of the name.

"It is very unfortunate and I have got to say I was sort of hoping no one would pick up on it," Mr McKenna said after a service today to dedicate the headstone.

Cemetery manager Daniel Sales said the cemetery records spelt the name "Andrews but the stone says Andrew".

The American Civil War veteran is one of only eight Civil War veterans buried in New Zealand...

Winifred St John Chappell had always believed her grandfather died and was buried in Fiji and when she heard his grave had been found in Auckland and his Civil War service was to be remembered with a Veterans Affairs memorial stone, she was speechless and in tears, Ms Lange said.

"We have achieved something. It is an achievement to find this and do something about it. We have the family involved. In a way I have gone through their emotional journey."

She said after 106 years it was a special moment to see the headstone dedicated.
I wonder if they include among those eight Civil War vets one Charles Gallagher?

Some NZPA images (for the moment) here.

* The following was emailed to me by Audrey Lange:
"In the St. John's family history book, he is listed as Andrew Andrew St. John. Military records show his name as Andrew A St. John with same place and date of birth. When his son Burr Gould was born, he gave his name as Andrew Andrew St. John.

The name then used was Andrew Andrew St John until he entered the diplomatic corps, his name then became Andrews Andrew St. John. Adding the 'S' on Andrew, possibly used to save the problem of the same christian name twice. Reports written while in the Diplomatic Corps, gives his name as Andrews Andrew St. John, he is buried under the name of Andrews Andrew St. John.

Therefore the tombstone is correct. From what I understand, military tombstones are usually in the name they use when enlisted. Could be that when he entered the diplomatic corps, could it have been decided that having Andrew Andrew as his christian names could be questionable or confusing, he then became known thereafter an Andrews Andrew St. John.

All of this just adds more interest and intrigue to trying to understand this man."


  1. By the way, the matter of one letter missing from the gravestone of St. John is trivial, indeed, when compared to the major boo boo created by a Jim Gray, and members of the American Civil War Round Table of Queensland, in May, 2008, when they had installed at the grave of a John McBride, buried in New Zealand, a Veterans Administration grave marker, indicating that this John McBride had served in the 38th New York Infantry. If they had bothered to do some decent research, they would have found that the John McBride, who served in the 38th New York had actually been killed in battle, in 1861, in Virginia. Last I heard of this grave marker was that they were attempting to quietly have it removed. This after they had a big ceremony at the grave, which was even attended by the U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand, and other important dignitaries.

  2. Thanks again, Terry. I've sent an email to you via what appears to be your website:



  3. The United States' Census of 1850 lists Mr. St. John's name as Andrews Stjohn, the 1860 census as Andrew Stjohn, the 1870 Andrews A. St. John and the 1880 shows A.A. St. John. It seems Andrews is the correct spelling of his first name.

  4. Ah ... interesting, Bill! Many thanks. I'll pass that on to Audrey Lange.


  5. I am a member of the ACWRTQ mentioned in this blog and publish the Newsletter. No Round Table consent was given for any veyteran outside of Queensland.