Hot Springs (SD) National Cemetery

Coming into Hot Springs, South Dakota, was a Veteran’s Administration sign–Battle Mountain Sanitarium.

“Wait, Hubby! Someone is buried here. Someone on your side. Yes, your mother’s grandfather is buried here!” I’d worked on genealogy decades earlier so was surprised that I could remember his name.

Amos Mark Runkle, Civil War veteran from Pennsylvania, resident of the Marshalltown (Iowa) Veterans Home, eventually died at the sanitarium in South Dakota. We stopped into the office and learned where his grave was located. Why was he even there? Probably because of a lung disease, they said. We were heartened at how well kept the small hilly cemetery is, as we were probably the first ones in the family to visit his grave there.

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When we got home, I looked up what we’d collected about Amos Runkle/Runkel’s history. He was born in 1836 at Lebonan, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry and Christiana (Mark) Runckel.

I could remember Amos’s middle name as we’d been told his mother used her maiden name “Mark” for the middle name of all of her sons.

Amos was married and had seven children. He enlisted in the Civil War in 1861: Co. K, 93rd Pennsylvania Infantry, and reinlisted in 1864. He mustered out with his Company on June 27, 1865. His first wife, Catherine, died in childbirth in 1873 with their seventh child. Amos moved to Iowa with most of their children, where he met widow Margaretha (Lange) Daniels who had several children of her own.

Brewery and Saloon

Margaretha ran a brewery and kept a saloon in Carroll, Iowa. Born in Germany, she was forced by her father to marry Heinrick Daniels against her wishes (she was in love with someone else, we were told by Guy’s grandmother Theresa (Runkle) Walker). After sailing for 72 days, when they arrived in New York City in April 1865, President Lincoln’s body lay in-state there.

Margaretha and Heinrick/Harry Daniels first stopped at York, Pennsylvania, with her aunt, then moved to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. They ended up in Carroll, Iowa, in 1868, had 11 children. Harry, Margaretha’s first husband, died in of tuberculosis in 1882.

Later that year, Margaretha married Amos Runkel, a Civil War veteran. They had two daughers: Rose Ann and Theresa Louise. In the photo of Amos Runkel the round button contains a photo of the two daughters.

Amos and Margaretha Runkel/Runkle

In January 1887, Amos was convicted of assault and served nine months in the penitentiary at Ft. Madison, Iowa. Margaretha divorced him that November.

In 1906 the Committee on Pensions found Amos Runkel disabled and destitute and increased his pension from $12 per month to $24. He lived at the Soldier’s Home at Marshalltown, Iowa, until moving to the sanitarium at Hot Springs, SD, where he died in 1914.

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Information from: Theresa (Runkle) Walker; Pension Records, Court Records (April Term 1887), The Herald (Carroll, Iowa, Jan. 26, 1887).


  1. Wow. Awesome share.

    Sometime next year, JR and I are going to go to Santa Fe. His father is buried in the Veterans cemetery down there, and it will be my chance to pay my respects to the Sheriff I served under.

    • Santa Fe also has an awesome round Capitol Building. We visited there while living in the Denver area. The veterans cemeteries are maintained by people who really care about them. Iowa has a new one just west of Des Moines–at Van Meter, where I taught school while Guy was in Vietnam.

    • The main reason there’s not more is that someone needs to scan all those old photos. Maybe I can teach him to do it next winter! We have stories.

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