Nearly 130 years after his mysterious death, a former Moniteau County resident and Confederate veteran received a gravestone in Old Salem Cemetery.
Months of extensive research and filling out forms for the Veterans Affairs all paid off for Moniteau County Historical Society member James Albin when Patrick McCabe's stone was revealed June 15.
"I'm interested in finding all the Confederate Moniteau County veterans and getting them stones," Albin said. "This is the fifth or sixth stone I've been able to find so far."
McCabe stood out to Albin because of two interesting features.
"He had no documented family and was never married," Albin said. "He also had no children."
Albin gathered his information from the April 9, 1891, edition of the California Democrat.
No definite birthdate was recorded for McCabe. Census records showed the Irishman came to the United States with the building of the Union Pacific Railroad. When he was 35 years old, he enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1861, meaning his birth year must have been in 1826. McCabe fought in the first company for the Infantry in Corpus Christi. Once his enlistment was completed, McCabe bought a tract of land 5 miles north of California.
He then led a rather quiet life in Moniteau County, described as "living as a virtual hermit," Albin said.
The lifestyle McCabe chose did not help the mystery of his death.
"It reads that his neighbors told him some horses had escaped and were on the neighbor's land," Albin said. "(McCabe) went to check the livestock on Wednesday and was found dead in his field that Saturday. Because of this, it was thought that he had succumbed to the elements."
After learning of the life and death of McCabe, Albin knew the best course of action was to contact the VA for a headstone.
The unveiling drew a small crowd of Moniteau County historians as well as members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group to which Albin also belongs.