Cemetery markers

Master Sgt. (R) Emma Jones Blackshire of FPHS JROTC, Veterans Assistance Counselor Jerry Martin, NELPCO manager Jeff Churchwell, Dustin Farris and Sgt. 1st Class (R) Joset Joyner of the FPHS JROTC, stand near the mark for Isiah Hawthorne at the Old Winnsboro Cemetery. (Sun photo by Monica Huff)

Cemetery markers for two Franklin Parish men who were killed in action during World War I are now dressed with bronze U.S. military service plaques thanks to a community service project initiated by Dustin Farris and supported by members of the Franklin Parish High School JROTC program.

The markers were put in place nearly 100 years after their deaths to honor Isiah Hawthorne and Douglas A. Diamond in the Old Winnsboro Cemetery in Winnsboro. Diamond-Hawthorne American Legion Post 84 is named for the men who both lost their lives during Meuse-Argonne offensives in France during World War I.

Hawthorne served as a private in Company C, 30 Infantry. He was Killed in Action July 15, 1918, at the age of 23.

Diamond was a corporal, 28th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division. He was Killed in Action Oct. 9, 1918 at the age of 21. Diamond was laid to rest in France.

The original non-military markers for the men had become faded over time. Research done by Farris and with the assistance of Veterans Assistance Counselor Jerry Martin helped secure the bronze markers which were installed in time for this year’s Memorial Day observance.

Farris, along with friend Mildred Lachney, visited cemeteries throughout Franklin Parish in an effort to find the grave sites of World War I veterans in conjunction with the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of The Great War, which ended Nov. 11, 1918.

During their treks they also located and marked hundreds of graves of Franklin Parish veterans who served in other times as well. Funding for the project was provided in part by donations from individuals and a grant from Operation Round Up, a program of Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative.

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