Two families honored deceased loved ones with honor and dignity at Maple Cemetery recently.
Maple Cemetery is located northeast of Muldrow, two miles off of State Highway 64B.
Jim Long and his wife, Georgea, from Onalaska, Wash., were on hand Thursday as his great-grandfather James Thomas “Tom” Long and Tom’s wife Elzettie (Trantham) Long received dignified headstones.
Jerrel McGlothlin honored his father, Wade, by placing an American flag near his headstone.
“Wade was proud to serve his country,” Jerrel McGlothlin said. “I had wanted to do something since we had him buried in 2008. We had to find someone willing to help us.”
Jerrel McGlothlin’s uncle, Norman Lancaster, built a flagpole with aluminum pipe. Jerrel said the flag is 3-feet-by-5-feet.
Wade McGlothlin served in the U.S. Army for two years in Germany while the Korean War was ongoing. He was also in the reserve program for 28 years, stationed in both Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“My dad said he was a member of the military police, that’s about all I recall him saying,” Jerrel said.
Trevor Cole, Jerrel’s grandson and Wade’s great-grandson, raised the flag for the first time this May, one week before Memorial Day.
Visitors to the cemetery can see the flag at the north end.
Jerrel said the flag represents “freedom.”
“Dad served his time in the military and he enjoyed it,” Jerrel said.
Wade McGlothlin was at one point a stereotyper for Your TIMES, which meant he handled hot lead during the olden days of the newspaper industry. Jerrel said he was a “jack of all trades” for this publication.
“Tom” and Elzettie Long were original pioneers to Sequoyah County, moving from Arkansas here before statehood.
“We needed to put markers on the graves,” said Jim Long. “I wanted to make sure it would happen.”
Long said he called the Sequoyah County Historical Society, which in turn helped him contact Maple Cemetery.
The headstones were crafted and installed by Watkins Monuments of Van Buren, Ark.
Descendants came to watch headstone installation from California and other corners, including Sallisaw resident June Isbell, one of James Arthur Long’s living daughters.
“This means everything to me,” June said. “That’s my grandmother and grandfather. I never saw her and I always wondered what both of them looked like. I never knew much about that part of my family before.”
Elzettie died on Sept. 29, 1935, just a few years before June was born. The family also includes daughter, Helen Plank, a Sallisaw resident who prefers to be private, and James Long, an area auto body magnate.
Family member Gladys Blankenship attended the occasion. Blankenship is a 93-year-old spitfire of a woman who still runs a beauty salon in Stilwell. Blankenship is Dick Long’s daughter, who was one of 10 children born to Tom and Elzettie to live here.
“Donations for the headstones ranged from $25 to, in some cases, $200,” Jim Long said.
“There was a bunch of support and an outpouring of love for this,” Jim’s wife Georgea added.
An interesting historical note, Tom’s father and Elzettie’s father fought on opposite sides of the Civil War in neighboring Arkansas.
Tom’s father, Richard Long, was a Union soldier and drew a pension for the injuries he sustained. Elzettie’s father, Alfred Burney Trantham, was a Confederate soldier and was killed by Union “Bushwhackers” gunfire.
The Longs first lived in Long, which bore no relation to the family’s name, and then in Rocky Point, Brushy and Maple.
Because of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, part of the Long family opted to move to California for employment. Many Longs have a proud tradition as fruit harvesters.
Children Ira Gunter, William Ernie and Esther Burnettie also received markers during the occasion Thursday. Ira died when he was just 3 years old. Esther died in a harrowing fire when she was only 9. William Ernie was 14 years old at the time of his death.
Jim Long, who considers himself an amateur genealogist, made sure the words, “Not Forgotten,” were placed on the headstones.
With proper respect, both the Long and McGlothlin families have made sure the memories of deceased loved ones will carry on.