Montana woman acquires Confederate headstone for great great grandfather

Thomas Garcia

A headstone for a Confederate Civil War veteran will be placed at Tucumcari Memorial Park Cemetery 97 years after his death.

Alfred Shelby died in September 1914 in Tucumcari. His grave had gone without a headstone until his great-great granddaughter Donna Scott decided to change that.

“It made me sad, knowing he had no headstone,” Scott said.

Scott said this all began when she decided to continue the genealogy of her family started by her mother in the 1970s.

“There was no where near the resources then that are available today,” Scott said.

Scott said her research led her to Shelby, a man who her grandfather had revered.

“My grandfather’s father died when he was young,” Scott said. “Shelby (her grandfather’s grandfather) was a father figure to my grandfather until his death.”

Scott said she had no idea her great-great grandfather had served in the Civil War. As she continued with her research, she discovered he served in the Confederate Army as a sergeant in Company F of the 34th Texas Calvary.

In April 2010, Scott said she and her husband, Richard, traveled from their home in Billings, Mont., to a funeral in Tulsa, Okla. She said as they were driving home she decided it was time to tie up some loose ends.

“I told my husband, I wanted to go to Tucumcari and visit my great-great grandfathers grave,” Scott said.

Scott said when she located Shelby’s grave she was saddened to see the graves around it all had headstones.

“I don’t know if his family could not afford a headstone at the time,” Scott said. “It still makes me tear up to think he went all this time without a headstone.”

Scott said she applied for a Confederate headstone from the Department of Veterans Affairs. She said she knew in the past the VA had provided headstones for veterans, though she was unsure if they would provide one for a Confederate Soldier.

“I feel all veterans have the right to be honored,” she said.

Scott’s application was approved and the headstone was sent to Glaze Monument Company in Clovis.

“We have not set a date to place the headstone,” said Diane Morton, Glaze Monument office manager.

Scott said she sent an $87 check to Glaze Monument to cover the cost of placing the headstone only to have it returned.

“They said they wanted to place the stone as a gift, from their family to ours,” Scott said.

Morton said once she had heard Scott’s story, it was decided they would place the headstone for free.

“It is the right thing to do,” Morton said. “We have placed a few Confederate headstones in Roosevelt county. Placing a headstone for a Civil War veteran does not come around very often.”