Winchester- How an interstate highway changed the face of one small town Facebook – a growing marketplace for local entrepreneurs When kids know best Giving some love to those dog days Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr

One family’s Memorial Day tradition bridges the past and present

The grave site of soldier Zachariah Moon sits alone alone Highway 41.
The grave site of soldier Zachariah Moon sits alone alone Highway 41.

Over eight decades, five generations honor a fallen soldier

Story and photo by Patricia Beech –

Memorial Day is a uniquely American holiday. It not only inspires patriotic sentiment and reminds us that liberty comes at a cost, but it also has the power to make the past real to people because it is infused with memories and tradition.

While Memorial services were being conducted in cemeteries across the county and families were laying flowers on their loved ones graves, one local family made their traditional yearly trek to the site of a lone tombstone along highway 41. For more than 80 years they have come to this place near the Treber Inn to pay their respects to a young soldier who died there one night in October 1813.

The family, all descendants of Roy Knauff, a WWI veteran, teacher, orator, and newspaper editor, gather round the weathered stone and tell the story of Zachariah Moon, a private in the 13th Kentucky Militia.

“I’m not sure what it is about the place or the story that drew our grandfather to it, but it has become a tradition for our family,” said Knauff’s granddaughter Tricia Fraley. Fraley’s mother, Marilyn Knauff, says she believes her father-in-law’s patriotism was what drew him there, “He was a very sensitive man, I think it was because that soldier was left there alone, and it wasn’t his home,” she says. “I think Mr. Knauff felt that someone should take care of him.”

Here is the story of Zachariah Moon, as told by Mr. Knauff to his sons, Walter and Hubert:

“While Memorial Day services are being held today in the cemeteries of Adams County, there is one lone soldier’s grave that will be remembered respectfully, as always. The white marble marker at the head of the grave informs the passerby that Zachariah Moon, a private in the 13th Kentucky Militia, is sleeping the last-long sleep. A soldier of the War of 1812, he was died and was buried here in October 1813. Moon was with a company of troops returning south from their campaigns along the Canadian border. They were being deployed from the north, presumably for a buildup of strength in the Mississippi Valley to block a threatened invasion by the British troops of General Edward Packenham. The troops followed what is known as Zane’s Trace to where Aberdeen now stands and crossed the Ohio River by barge into Limestone, now Maysville, Ky. On an October day the soldiers had eaten their noon meal near Locust Grove. The long afternoon shadows lay cool across their paths as they trudged along the trail on the last leg of their journey for the day. On reaching Treber Inn they found a level field in which to bivouac for the night. Tired from their long day’s journey, the soldiers slept well while the wolves howled in the forest and the night hawk called to his mate across the ravine. It was during this night that Pvt. Moon died. The next morning his comrades prepared a grave beside the trail, the chaplain intoned the burial rites, the bugler sounded taps and the soldiers resumed their journey, leaving their comrade behind. The trail beside which Moon is buried was not much more than a path through the wilderness. Wolves have ceased their howling, but the night hawk still calls to his mate across the ravine, and the soldier boy still sleeps.”

Before passing away in 2003 Walter (Shorty) Knauff sent his father’s story to the People’s Defender. “For as far back as I can remember, Dad took me and Hubert to Zachariah Moon’s grave on what we called Decoration Day, to place flowers on the grave,” he wrote. “Years later, I continued to place flowers at the grave site with my own children, and each year, I too, told the story of Zachariah Moon. Now, I take my grandchildren to this sacred spot and they too want to hear the story.”

When Walter died the mantle of story teller was passed to his daughter Kris Brown.

“When I was young I kind of got away from it because my life felt so rushed, but now that I’m older, it means a lot to me,” Brown says. “Now, I can see how important it was to my dad.”

Brown and her four sisters share a common childhood memory. “Every year we gathered baskets of flowers from our grandmothers’ gardens, and we wore little sashes and rode through town in the Memorial Day parade,” she says. “Then we’d go to the cemeteries and put flowers on all the graves that had a flag, Dad would make a speech, and then we’d go visit Zachariah Moon’s grave, and he would tell us the story.”

This year the family’s newest member, Fraley’s two-year old grandson, became the fifth generation to make the visit to Moon’s grave.

“We’ve shared this story with our parents, then with our own children, and now I’ll do it for my grandson,” says Fraley. “He’ll never know my Dad, but he’ll know something about him because of this place.”

Perhaps, that is part of the reason we are all drawn to cemeteries on Memorial Day, we can feel the past there, and it allows us to leave a part of ourselves behind.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© The People's Defender - All rights reserved