Civil War veterans to be honored at Clayton Township Cemetery
CLAYTON TWP. — Four Civil War veterans buried at the Clayton Township Cemetery will receive grave markers during an authentic Civil War-era ceremony May 31.
Sandra Bowen has been organizing the event to honor the four veterans — Pvt. Luther Johnson, Q.M. Sgt. George E. Fish, Corp. Alva Scofield and Pvt. Charles Hamlin — for approximately two years.
“You have to apply to the Veterans Administration,” Bowen said. “The requirement that they have is you have to have an authorization, a written authorization, by the next of kin. They are the ones that are supposed to order it. As I am not next of kin, I had to find one and have them fill out the authorization, or I had to get written authorization from the next of kin.”
Because all four of the Civil War veterans had passed away by 1930, it was no easy task to find their relatives, Bowen said.
“These guys died in the 1900s — a tad bit hard to do that,” she said. “But that’s what the government says you have to do.”
Nonetheless, Bowen was able, through research and information gathering, to track down relatives of Johnson, Fish, Scofield and Hamlin.
“The first one that I did was Luther Johnson. I was working on an alphabetical listing of our cemetery, and I found death certificates that showed he was buried in our cemetery over there,” she said. “I couldn’t find any information, so I got to digging, and found that, yeah, he was here visiting his uncle and he passed away. So I found a distant, distant relative to apply for it, and we got it. Then I found three more relatives that we were able to get.”
There are also restrictions on issuing Civil War markers to veterans who are buried in a family plot, Bowen said. In total, there are actually 16 Civil War veterans buried in Clayton Township, but Bowen said two had family markers, and were therefore ineligible for a Civil War marker. She said the U.S. Senate is trying to overturn that regulation.
According to Bowen, the ceremony will include an authentic burial reenactment from the U.S. Grant Post 67 out of Bay City.
“They have a regular Civil War ceremony,” she said. “They have the chaplain there reading. They have the gentlemen firing their muskets. It’s about a good 45 minutes long. It’s very interesting.”
Keeping with the theme of the Civil War era, Three P’s Express will be offering horse-drawn wagon rides to visitors, Bowen said. Refreshments and finger foods will also be served, she said.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. The Clayton Township Cemetery is located at 1100 Reed Rd. in Sterling.