GRACE DARLING SEIBOLD
by Ruth Stonesifer
Having done some extensive genealogical research about my own family, I got
curious about where Grace Darling Seibold, our founder, was buried.
Since she lived in DC, I thought this was a good place to start my search.
After not finding much on the Internet, I went back to Headquarters to see
if there was some information. In our records was an old yellowed newspaper
article containing all the leads I would need for an adventure.
"Mrs. Seibold Rites Slated for Monday "1947" Funeral services will be
held at 2 pm Monday at Hines funeral home for Mrs. Grace Darling Seibold,
78, organizer and first national president of the American Gold Star
Mrs. Seibold, wife of George G. Seibold, died at 3 pm Thursday at her home,
756 Rock Creek Church Rd NW following an illness of more than two years.
Burial will take place in Rock Creek Cemetery. Mrs. Seibold requested a
short time before her death, that money her friends might spend on flowers
be contributed to the American Cancer society."
"Her father, Gen Edward Washburn Whitaker, was chief of staff to Gen.
George A. Custer during the Civil War. General Whitaker is said to have
arranged the conference between Gen. Robert E Lee and Gen. U.S. Grant which
resulted in the Southern surrender. She organized the Gold Star Mothers after
WWI. Her son First Lieut. George V. Seibold, an aviator, was killed in France.
The Washington chapter of the Gold Star Mothers is named in her Honor."
"She was a member of Calvary Baptist Church 8th and H Streets NW, The
North Star Union, Women"s Christian Temperance Union, the American Legion
Auxiliary, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Ladies Auxiliary
of the International Typographical Union. Her husband was secretary of
Columbia Typographical Union here between 1904 and 1926. A native of
Harford, Conn., she was brought to Washington by her family at the age of 2."
"Besides her husband, she leaves a daughter, Mrs. William G. Nelson, Jr.
of Roanoke, a son Louis Edward Seibold of Washington, a Sister Mrs. Charles
T. Chaplin of Washington and two grandchildren."
The next morning, I plugged in her old address to see if her house was
still there after 60 years. Just down from Walter Reed Hospital is Rock
Creek Church Rd. Her house appears to have been turned into three apartments
but it struck me as I drove away-- it was painted Gold, a very appropriate
I knew the Cemetery was my next destination. Diane M. Gouin in the office
found the grave site of Grace D. Seibold behind the building in section "O"
number 319. I felt as though I had found a long lost relative as I
approached the grave site. Her foot stone is simply engraved
with Grace Darling Whitaker, Wife of George, 1870-1947. Carol has scheduled
the footstones to be brought up to ground level. I hope to get permission so
we as her organization can install a Gold Star Mother and Father Grave
marker the next time we are in DC. I think some yellow roses are long
But I was still curious when I read the information about her father in
her obituary, I thought that maybe this was just one of those stories you
hear about in your family. My relatives were supposed to have landed with
Lafayette. I typed "Edward Washburn Whitaker" into Google and his grave site
in Arlington came up with an entire bio and picture. He was a Congressional
Medal of Honor recipient. Our Founder came from good New England stock
starting back in the American Revolution.
Edward Washburn Whitaker was born on June 15, 1841 in Killingly,
Connecticut. He was the son of George Whitaker and Mary (Colgrove) Whitaker.
Edward was one of sixteen children (eight brothers and
seven sisters). He
was educated in the public schools in Ashford, Connecticut and in an Academy
in Olneyville, Rhode Island. Edward is a descendant of Richard Whitaker and
Rebecca (Cooper) Whitaker of Rehobeth, Massachusetts. Edward"s
great-grandfather was Lieutenant Richard Whitaker, an officer in the
Edward was one of four brothers who enlisted in Union Regiments in the
Civil War. Edward and Daniel enlisted together in Connecticut or New York
regiments, William in a New Hampshire regiment, and George enlisted in a
California unit and served in New Mexico. Edward fought in 82 engagements
during the course of the war. He was slightly wounded at Falling Waters,
Maryland, by shrapnel. While running at a gallop at Five Forks, Virginia,
his horse fell on him, and caused him to have a life long groin and back
injury. Edward was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions
at Reams Station, Virginia, on June 29, 1864. At the age of 23 he was the
youngest General in the War of the Rebellion.
In his HISTORY of the FIRST REGIMENT Connecticut Volunteer CAVALRY, Brevet
Brigadier General Erastus Blakeslee writes of Edward Whitaker:
"Captain Whitaker of the First Connecticut Cavalry, on Wilson"s staff, was
dispatched to General Meade for succor. With forty men of the Third New York
he dashed through the enemy"s lines and reached headquarters with fourteen
men and two prisoners. But it was too late. Wilson burnt his ammunition and
baggage wagons, left his ambulances, spiked his guns and retreated in hot
During the Civil War, Edward and his brother Daniel had written 83
letters to their sister Adeline (Whitaker) James and their mother. The
letters were donated to the Connecticut State Library on 9/4/1934 by Adeline
James. On June 7, 1865 Edward married Theodosia Davis in Washington, DC.
They had at least three children; Clara b. 1866, Thea b. 1868 and Grace, b.
1870. Four of Edward"s sisters became teachers in the south after the Civil
War. After the war, Edward was appointed Superintendent of the U.S. Capitol
Building, and later (1869) Postmaster of Hartford, Connecticut. (Appointed
by President Grant). He was an insurance agent and a patent attorney in his
later years, living in Washington, D.C. He was disabled most of his life
by a heart condition brought on by malaria contracted shortly after the
Battle of Gettysburg. Edward died on July 30, 1922 and was buried in Section
3 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife Theodosia who died on January 3,
1937 is buried with him. He earned the Medal of Honor in the Civil War while
serving as Captain, Company E, 1st Connecticut Volunteer Cavalry at Reams
Station, Virginia, June 29, 1864. "While acting as an aide, he voluntarily
carried dispatches from the commanding general to General Meade, forcing his
way with a single Troop of Cavalry through an Infantry Division of the enemy
in the most distinguished manner, through he lost half of his escort." The
Medal was actually presented on April 2, 1898.
Update Feb 28, 2008
A group of American Gold Star Mothers visited the grave site of Grace
Darling Seibold at Rock Creek Cemetery. The cemetery maintenance people had
raised the stones to be even with the ground surface and generally spruced
up the grave site. We installed Gold Star Mother and Gold Star Father grave
markers with flags and left our traditional yellow roses.
There are a few
more pictures taken on Gold Star Mothers Sunday, 2009.