Brazoria County John Doe is an American servicemen who died circa. 1918 from illness in Sweeney, Texas.

Case

During World War I, trains were packed with soldiers heading to war or coming home. One soldier, who suffered from illness, got off a train in Sweeney, Texas. Despite medical attention, he died without saying his name, where he was from, and where he was going. He also had no identification. Herman Vezey, the postmaster at the time and a fellow World War I veteran, arranged a funeral for him. The unknown soldier is now buried in Plot FM 524 in the corner of Sweeney Cemetery, which is 1.5 miles north of downtown.

Vezey continued to write letters and attempted to track down the man's identity until his death in 1963. He told the story of the unknown soldier to Elizabeth Schuchardt, a school teacher at Sweeny Junior High during the 1950s and 1960s. She present the story as a local history lesson to her students. Additionally, veteran groups placed flags near the grave. As decades passed, residents became less sure where the unknown soldier was buried and by the 1960s, what little information about him was gone. This was confirmed by Sweeney resident Rhonda Kennedy after she heard the story from Vezey's step-daughter, Linda Holcomb. Kennedy further commented, "I went to the courthouse and went through death records from 1906 to 1925 trying to find a death certificate. I was really surprised at how inaccurate they were. We don't know what he looked like. We don't know which way the train was headed. We really don't have anything else to go on."

Fortunately, before Veteran's Day in 2000, cemetery caretaker Delmar Pettigrew re-discovered the soldier's burial site after extensive reviews of cemetery records. An Angleton company then donated a marker for it.

Sources

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