Civil War Veterans
As one first begins to look around Greenwood Cemetery one hears nothing but the breeze. As one walks through the cemetery one finds the graves of veterans from World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. A black plaque with gold trim and a cross placed at the bottom marks some of the graves. Gold stars made of steel are placed alongside the veterans to commemorate the bravery of those who fought in battle. The sight of American flags blowing in the wind signifies the men who fought for the preservation of freedom and democracy in America. Little white tombstones, some of which can hardly be read due to the harshness of time and Iowa weather, mark the graves of the Civil War veterans. Some of the ordinary people who laid down their lives or looked war straight in the eyes and lived to tell about it now rest here. The Cedar Falls and Waterloo area embrace numerous people who have earned the status of war veteran. This is the story of a few of their lives.
Robert Speer was born in Pennsylvania on February 25, 1828. On September 16, 1853, Speer arrived in Black Hawk County as one of its pioneer settlers.  He came in a quest to complete his legal education, but he soon discovered that the legal profession was not popular in the Cedar Falls area.  Therefore, Speer decided to venture into a more respected and needed profession: land surveying. 
In the 1860s, the Civil War put a temporary halt on Speers activities in Cedar Falls. As mentioned in his obituary he served as "Captain of Co. B, 31st regiment, Iowa volunteers from Aug. 7, 1862, to Sept. 17, 1864."  Speers regiment was in the first division, 15th army corps, in the Army of the Tennessee, and served under General Grant.  Captain Speer led his men into some heavy battles in the campaign for Vicksburg under Grant from March 29 to July 4, 1863. Speer's regiment also fought in the campaigns at Chattanooga, fighting on Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge in November, 1863. Speer ended his military career in the Atlanta campaign under Sherman in September 1864. 
Captain Speer wrote a number of letters home to the Cedar Falls Gazette. On July 4, 1864, he witnessed about four hundred wounded and sick soldiers participating in a procession around the camp with the aid of a drummer and a fifer playing "Rally Round the Flag, Boys."  Speer noted that, "I noticed that many of them did not keep the step; but I think they were excusable as they had, unfortunately, lost legs and were obliged to march on crutches. Others again had their arms amputated or in slings. Some had strips of cotton cloth wrapped round their heads, but it was not to keep the sun off."  Speer himself escaped death to return home to Cedar Falls.
After his return, Speer continued to gather titles, becoming, for example, the president of Iowa State Horticultural Society.  He also served as trustee of the Iowa Agricultural College from 1884 to 1888, the Director of the Iowa Agricultural College Experimental Station, and trustee of Iowa Soldiers Orphans Home in Davenport.  Speer lived out his remaining days in Cedar Falls until his death at the age of eighty on February 2, 1908. 
1."Capt. Speer Called Away," Waterloo Courier, February 4, 1908, 1.
6. History of Black Hawk County, Iowa. Isaiah Van Metre, ed. (Chicago: Biographical Publishing 1878), 336.
7. "From Shermans Army, Letter from Capt. Speer," Cedar Falls Gazette, August 12,1864, 2.
9. Waterloo Courier, February 4, 1908, 1.
"Capt. Speer Called Away." Waterloo Courier, February 4, 1908, 1.
"From Shermans Army, Letter from Capt. Speer." Cedar Falls Gazette,
August 12, 1864, 2.
History of Black Hawk County, Iowa. Ed. Isaiah Van Metre, Chicago: Historical Company, 1878, 336.
Lyftogt, Kenneth. From Blue Mills To Columbia. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1993.
Colonel William H. McClure was originally from Rochester, New York, where he had been born on May 5, 1829. In 1853, McClure decided to leave for Cedar Falls to become its first attorney  He also was the first to be admitted to the bar and conduct a jury trial in the county.  His work as a lawyer occupied most of McClures life.
The Civil War broke up McClures peaceful life however. He enlisted in the army on August 8, 1861. He served in the Third Iowa Battery and the Ninth Iowa Infantry, holding the post of commanding senior first lieutenant.  On March 25, 1865, McClure was commissioned lieutenant colonel of the Iowa State Militia.  He fought in the battles of Sugar Creek and Pea Ridge, where the Union won on March 7, 1862. He was wounded in the latter battle. 
McClure returned to Cedar Falls and lived the rest of his days here as an attorney. However, in his last years symptoms of dementia began to afflict him before his death on November 18, 1908 at the age of 79.  As the Waterloo Courier commented in his obituary:
of its best known pioneers and one of its brilliant
men, for when the colonel was in his prime he was
an able, even brilliant attorney, an orator of unusual
power, and a factor in the development of the county. 
- Historical and Biographical Record, Black Hawk County, Iowa. (Chicago: The Inter-State Publishing Company), 1886, 601.
- "Oldest Lawyer Dies; Aged 79," Waterloo Courier, November 20, 1908, 1.
Historical and Biographical Record, Black Hawk County, Iowa. (Chicago: The Inter-State Publishing Company), 1886, 601.
Lyftogt, Kenneth. From Blue Mills To Columbia. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1993.
"Oldest Lawyer Dies; Aged 79," Waterloo Courier, November 20, 1908, 1.
Charles Mullarky (1835-1890)
Location: First Addition by Josh Duey
Charles Mullarky was a prominent citizen of Cedar Falls. Mullarky was born on October 27, 1835 in Ohio. He later moved to Cedar Falls, working as a farmer and even served as the assistant postmaster.  When the Civil War began, he was one of the first people in Cedar Falls to be enlisted. He served in Company K of the Third Iowa Infantry. Mullarky became second lieutenant on June 3, 1861 by the unanimous vote from his fellow Pioneer Greys.  As the Gazette proclaimed proudly, "Every officer was elected by acclamation--and every one elected unanimously--this fact tells its own story."  Mullarky also played a vital role in the recruiting soldiers in the Cedar Falls area. Along with Thomas Salisbury, he went by horseback to area towns such as Waverly and Charles City to recruit volunteers. 
Mullarky ended up spending little time at the front.  His company fought their first battle at Blue Mills, Missouri, on September 18, 1861.  After the intense fighting at Blue Mills, the company was stationed at Quincy, Illinois until November," to recover their health and morale".  During the companys stay in Quincy, Mullarky asked to resign on November 30, 1861, because he was concerned about his business in Cedar Falls and did not want to see it falter.  On December 1, 1861 his resignation was accepted.
After Mullarkys resignation he returned to Cedar Falls. In 1863, he married Ellen, the widow of Andrew Mullarky.  In 1884, Mullarky moved to the Dakota Territory where his wife Ellen died on August 11, 1889.  On October 15, 1890, Mullarky died in Denver, Colorado.  His body was returned to Cedar Falls.
- Cedar Falls Historical Society Archives: Series III: Box: 7: Mullarky Folder 21: Raymon E. Lawton, "The Interrelationship of the early Mullarkys," January 1993, 13,16.
- "Our Volunteers!", Cedar Falls Gazette, June 7, 1861, 3.
- Kenneth Lyftogt, From Blue Mills To Columbia (Ames: Iowa State UP, 1993), 20-21.
- History of Black Hawk County, Iowa. Chicago: Historical Company, 1878, 445-446.
- Kenneth Lyftogt, 47-49.
- CFHSA, Lawton, 20.
Cedar Falls Historical Society Archives: Series III: Box7, Mullarky Folder 21:
Raymon E. Lawton, "The Interrelationship of the early Mullarkys."
History of Black Hawk County, Iowa. Chicago: Historical Company, 1878.
Lawton, Raymon E. "The Interrelationship of the early Mullarkys." January, 1993,
Lyftogt, Kenneth. From Blue Mills To Columbia. Ames: Iowa State UP, 1993, p. 20-21.
"Our Volunteers!," Cedar Falls Gazette, June 7, 1861, p.3.
Lt. Joseph Murphy, was a native of Waterloo, where he was born on March 3, 1920. Before World War II, he was studying to be a priest at St. Josephs College in Westmont, Ill.  After the war broke out, he enlisted and soon found himself training in Florida. In Tampa, Murphy married Gloria James on June 14, 1943. 
Soon after the wedding Murphy participated in a training flight. Before this, he had been promoted from navigator to bombardier.  The plane was to fly from MacDill Field, Tampa, Florida to Harding Field in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Sadly, the routine training maneuver turned into a disaster when the plane crashed near Walker, La.  The crash killed all seven men on board, including Joseph Murphy.  His tragic story reminds us that not all lives sacrificed in war are lost in battle.
"Murphy, Waterloo, Among Seven Dead in Plane Crash," Waterloo Daily Courier,
July 13, 1943, 1.
Robert J. Hibbs was born in Omaha, Nebraska on April 24, 1943. As a child, he missed school frequently due to sore tonsils.  This is when his love for creating model military miniatures began. He spent hours painting these model soldiers and accumulated about 1000 miniatures during his brief life.  While Hibbs was still a boy, his family moved first to Cedar Rapids and then to Cedar Falls, where Robert attended high school.  While at Cedar Falls High School he participated in the student forum.  After graduating from high school, Hibbs enrolled at the State Teachers College of Iowa, now the University of Northern Iowa, where he majored in history.  He graduated three years later in 1964 with a G.P.A. of 3.2. A few months later he had a chance to fulfill his dreams for the military after he enlisted in the army in August 1964. 
After training camp, Hibbs became a second lieutenant of the 2nd battalion of the 28th infantry of the 1st Infantry Division.  He participated in numerous military excursions during the war but none quite so memorable as the day of March 5, 1966. Near Don Dien Lo Re, Hibbs and his 15 men were on ambush patrol when he spotted a company of Viet Cong maneuvering along a road towards them.  After radioing his command post, he placed two mines in the enemys path. As the Viet Cong arrived, he set off the mines killing and wounding half of the enemy force.  While Hibbs men were withdrawing he remained behind to hurl grenades and fire upon the enemy, who still numbered about 50 men. 
Amazingly, Hibbs survived to return to his defense perimeter, only to find another Viet Cong band in the midst of attacking his men. He then decided to surprise attack the enemy forces with the help of his men. After nearly reaching safety returning from this attempt, Hibbs noticed that one of his men lay wounded between the two enemy forces. Though already wounded in the leg, he took a fellow sergeant and went back to rescue the wounded solider.  Eluding machine gun fire, the sergeant dragged the wounded soldier to safety as Hibbs provided cover fire. Armed with only a M16 and a rifle, he charged the Viet Cong machine guns. This time Hibbs fell mortally wounded. 
On Saturday, March 5, 1966 at 4:30 P.M., Hibbs parents heard a knock at their door. Lieut. Col. Calvin Kusler spoke with a sober voice as he informed them of their sons death.  Soon afterwards Roberts father remembered his son with pride: "Im not sad -- Im proud It seems as if this was his destiny All his life he wanted to be a soldier -- He had toy soldiers which he put through tactical maneuvers ".  Mrs. Hibbs took solace in her sons reputation in the army: "A colonel told me he had been in the service 20 years and your son is the bravest man I ever saw." 
Robert Hibbs life was cut short by war, destroying his dreams of law school and marriage to his fiancée, Lynne Larson.  Nevertheless, Hibbs memory lives on in his hometown. He is remembered as the first causalty of the Vietnam War from Cedar Falls. He was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the only Iowan involved in the Vietnam War to obtain such an honor.  Hibbs parents received the award at ceremonies at Fort Meyer, Va., on Jan. 26, 1966.  A plaque hangs in the Maucker Union at UNI in memory of Hibbs and his attainment of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Inscripted on it are the words spoken by President Lyndon B. Johnson:
for his fellow soldiers, and his intrepidity at the risk of
his life above and beyond the call of duty is in the highest
traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit
upon himself and the armed forces of his country. 
The new Main Street bridge in Cedar Falls was named after Hibbs in 1994. AMVETS, American Legion, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars led the effort to name the bridge after him.  On December 27, 1994, the bridge was dedicated the Lt. Robert J. Hibbs Medal of Honor Bridge in memory of Hibbs and other Cedar Falls men who sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. 
Blume, Debora, "Vets want new bridge named for Vietnam hero," Waterloo Courier, November, 21,1993, D2.
Born, Kevin M., "Bridge honors vet," Waterloo Courier, January 7, 1994, B8.
Cedar Falls Tiger, High School Yearbook. Cedar Falls: Iowa, 1961.18, 67.
"Cedar Falls Youth 1st Local Viet Nam Victim; Lieut. Hibbs Killed in Battle Sat. A.M.," Cedar Falls Record, March 7, 1966,1.
Hibbs Memorial Plaque, Hemisphere Lounge, Maucker Union, U.N.I.
Lamberto, Nick, "The Background of a Medal of Honor Man," Des Moines Register May 28, 1967, 4-7.
Old Gold 1964, State College of Iowa. Cedar Falls: Iowa, 1964,134.
Plaque on Main Street Bridge.
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