J. A. Falconer
J. A. Falconer fought heroically for the Union Cause during the American Civil War. In 1999, many years following his death, Falconer was awarded a Medal of Honor along with a 39 inch tall tombstone enlaid in 24 carat gold which is located at the Southeast corner of the Sunset Hill. His former tombstone consisted of a basic marble slab which had sunk deep into the ground.
John Falconer was born during 1844 in Washtenaw, Michigan and enlisted into the 17th Michigan Regiment of the Infantry on June 21, 1862 while he was 18 years old. For his gallant fighting at Fort Saunders in Knoxville, Tennesee on the third day of June during 1865. Falconer would later be awarded the Medal of Honor. Like many veterans during this day, Falconer received his Medal through the mail and while the award was never officially presented by a military officer. After our 55 year old local hero passed away on April 1, 1900, his family would move to the state of Washington before the close of the decade.
Locating Falconer's Descendant
People have known for years about the location of John Falconer's cemetery plot at Sunset Hill but could not place a decorated gravestone on the location. Because historians had been unable to locate any living family member, nobody was available to grant the government permission to make the change. The break came in December of 1998 when Betty Harvey Williams, working for the Johnson County Historical Society, discovered an amazing letter that would forever change the look of Falconer's grave. In the letter, written by Grace Ackerly in 1958 discussing deeds to the remaining plots surrounding Falconer's burial site, Ackerly writes the statement, "I am the sole survivor of John Falconer."
Upon further research, Grace Ackerly was 26 years old and living in Warrensburg when the census of 1900 was taken. Therefore, Ackerly must have been in her eighties when her 1958 letter indicated that she was the last remaining relative. Since, Ackerly has since passed away, there are no more living relatives in the lineage of John Falconer which means that a decorated tombstone may be put in place without having to have permission from anyone!
Therefore, on June 12, 1999, a special ceremony was organized by the Medal of Honor Society, Johnson County Historical Society, and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War 1861 to 1865 in order to honor the heroics of John Falconer over 130 years earlier. The grave was dedicated, the town of Warrensburg celebrated, and John Falconer finally had his award presented by a military officer.