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Lewis County family hopes to exhume, relocate remains of Civil War veteran

The founder of Randle is buried 50 miles away in Centralia.

RANDLE, Wash. — Whitney McMahan hopes to pull off a family reunion for the ages.

Her great, great grandfather, James Randles, died in 1920 and was buried in Centralia’s Mountain View Cemetery. The rest of his family, generations worth, are buried in the town 50 miles to east that bears his name, Randle, Washington.

The Civil War veteran headed west and established the town of Randle in 1883. According to McMahan, the family wanted free mail delivery and the U.S. Post Office would only deliver to established cities or towns. That’s when the town took his name, sort of.

”He sent in the petition, and his name happened to be right on top, so they picked his name and dropped the S,” said McMahan.

Randles died in a hospital in the Centralia/Chehalis area December of 1920, and it was too difficult to have his remains moved the more than 50 miles on trails back to Randle, according to McMahan.

Ever since she discovered his gravesite more than 10 years ago, McMahan said she’s been working to have the grave exhumed and moved to Randle.

“It’s coming together. It’s going to happen,” said Wes McMahan, Whitney’s brother.

He said county officials told him the permits should be granted to have a re-burial in Randle this summer.

”Active military wants to give him an escort, the Veteran’s Administration wants to give him a color guard,” said Wes McMahan, ”Sort of a little bit of a historical mistake and yeah, we’re just happy and glad we might be able to correct it and bring him home!”

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