NewsCovering Kentucky


Union major general tied to Juneteenth buried in Lexington Cemetery

Posted at 7:40 PM, Jun 19, 2024

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For several years, a group of historical interpreters has met at the Lexington Cemetery on Juneteenth to visit the gravesite of Gordon Granger and place American flags on the grounds.

The trio, Mark Henderson, Bob Marshall, and Greta Ratliff, discovered the story behind Granger and say it’s one that keeps them coming back.

In 1865, Major General Granger issued Order No. 3, which informed the district of Texas that the Civil War had ended and slaves were free.

Order No. 3 came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

“Needless to say there were a lot of individuals deep in the state who hadn't received word that they were free and the war had ended,” explained Marshall. “So, Granger was a very experienced West Point soldier and was sent to Texas to issue that special order to once in for all set free all the individuals that were enslaved.”

Featured Edit (8).png

Covering Kentucky

Sister of Laurel County teen who died in accident speaks

Caleb Barnes
6:37 PM, Jun 19, 2024

Granger grew up in New York and died in New Mexico in 1876, but married a Kentucky woman, Maria Letcher, hence his burial in Lexington.

For history buffs like Henderson, Marshall, and Ratliff, the realization of Granger’s place in history and his tie to Kentucky is quite remarkable.

“Coming to the individual's resting place gives you a tie,” said Marshall. “The time of history disappears for a few minutes and you feel a part of it.”

So, every Juneteenth, they return, place some flags around Granger’s grave, and reflect on the past and its players.

“Anything we can do to learn more about the people of the past brings us closer to them and how they made their decisions,” said Ratliff.