More than a dozen great- and great-great-grandchildren will visit the grave site of their Civil War veteran relative Wednesday at Tucumcari Memorial Park Cemetery.
Donna Scott, of Billings, Mont., will return to Tucumcari along with 11 other relatives to pay their respects and honor Alfred Shelby, who served in the Confederate Army as a sergeant in Company F of the 34th Texas Cavalry. Shelby died and was buried in Tucumcari in September 1914.
Scott had come to know Shelby as her great-great-grandfather through stories passed down to her by relatives. She said she traveled to Tucumcari to view his grave in 2010 only to find there was no headstone marking his grave.
Scott said she made efforts to obtain a veteran's headstone for Shelby which was placed in September by Glaze Monument Company in Clovis. She said since then she has been contacted by other descendants of Shelby's.
Scott said the family will now meet in Tucumcari at Shelby's grave for a memorial service. She said she is excited to meet relatives she never knew she had.
Susan McKee of Santa Fe is one of those cousins who will join Scott in Tucumcari. She said it was curiosity about the family on her mother's side that led to her discovering her great-grandfather.
McKee said the research revealed such a difference in generation in Shelby's descendants. She said discovering her relation to Shelby has opened up a completely new timeline to her families history.
McKee said what she has and continues to learn about Shelby and his life gives her a perspective on who he was and how her family has come to be today.
As a part of the memorial service the Ellen W. Jones Chapter 1022 of the United Daughters of the Confederacy will hold a ceremony and Sons of the Confederate Veterans will fire a volley honoring Shelby.
The purpose is to honor the veteran and their service to their country, said Janelle Foster, president of the UDC.
Foster said any time an unmarked grave is found, they make an effort to work with the family to obtain a headstone and hold a dedication ceremony. She said along with the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, they will dedicate the military headstone and give a history of Shelby's military service.