Shuberts' shawl not Sue's but Shinemans'
March 5, 2012
Imagine someone else more deserving of the Valentine's Day gift that you bought for your spouse.
That's the dilemma Master Sgt. Mark Hayes, senior noncommissioned officer of the 412th Theater Engineer Command's Resource Management Office, faced after he realized the historical significance of a baby shawl that he bought for his wife, Sue.
The shawl was packaged in an old flour sack with three hand written notes, one of which identified the maker as Cecelia M. Shubert.
Cecilia, according to Hayes' research, was the wife of Frank Shubert, a Civil War Medal of Honor recipient who fought with the 43rd Regiment New York Volunteers. Frank received the medal for capturing two Confederate markers at Petersburg, Va., April 2, 1865.
The notes also said that Cecelia made the shawl in 1873 for her baby, Walter Shubert.
Hayes then noticed that Frank and Cecilia had two great grandsons who are still living.
"I thought, if they're still alive then they're probably interested in having these items," said Hayes.
He discussed the issue with his wife, who agreed that Frank's and Cecelia's descendants are the shawl's rightful owners.
"I just kinda looked at him and my thought was, 'this doesn't belong to us,'" said Sue.
Hayes e-mailed Ed Shineman, one of Frank's great grandsons, and asked if Shineman was related to the Civil War hero. In the same message, Hayes told Shineman that he (Hayes) had something that Shineman may be interested in.
"Yes, I am Frank's great grandson," Shineman replied via e-mail.
Shineman said that he and his brother maintain most of his great grandfather's Civil War memorabilia, which include the Medal of Honor certificate and Frank's sword. He said they also have a number of Cecelia's items, most of which have notes attached.
"She wrote down everything," said Shineman. "We went through her effects. She has all kinds of notes; everything's labeled."
On Feb. 24, 2012, Hayes mailed the shawl to Shineman, who plans on displaying it in a case along with the rest of his great grandparent's heirlooms.
"We're also making a website for Frank and Cecilia," said Shineman. "We'll probably photograph it and put it up on the site with the other memorabilia."
"I feel pretty good about the decision to send it back to the family," said Hayes. "Who knows what it's worth? It's priceless to them."
To make up for the Valentine's Day present that Sue didn't get, Hayes took her out to dinner and he also bought her an airline ticket to attend her daughter's bridal shower in Columbus, Ohio.
"We've been married 23 years," said Hayes. "She's over the flowers and candy."