Grave oversight: Men getting marker for Civil War vet

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Nearly 90 years after Harriet Key asked the U.S. government to mark the grave of her husband, Jonah Key, a tombstone may finally be in the works for the long-forgotten Civil War veteran.

Key, who served with the 4th Regiment of U.S. Colored Troops and was disabled by a Confederate bullet in 1864, lies in an unmarked grave at Freedom’s Oak Grove Cemetery.

That could soon change thanks to Ron Ciani and Pat Riley, two Beaver County men with an interest in history, but no ties to Key.

“This man put his life on the line for his country in the face of slavery and prejudice,” said Ciani, who has been researching Key’s life for 10 years. “Can you imagine what the Confederates would have done if they had captured him?”

Ciani of Freedom and Riley, president of the Legion Ville Historical Society, are working to get Key a military tombstone through the Veterans Administration. Chances are good that they will succeed.

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