Headstone Dedication

In October of 2011, Camp 22 led a formal Grave Dedication Ceremony for  Captain Theodore Fitch, who is buried in the Sylvan Cemetery in Citrus Heights, California.

Sometime after his death in 1901, the request for his headstone became lost in government bureaucracy, and it never arrived. Jim Monteton of Camp 22 was successful in correcting the error. The men of Camp 22 and other Veteran’s groups conducted the ceremony and Cpl. Fitch received his long-overdue recognition.

Jonathan Green Hatch Tombstone Dedicated

  • By Barbara Zumwalt

    Stockton Record Staff Writer

    (Link to original story here: http://www.recordnet.com/article/20150412/NEWS/150419948/-1/rss01)

    Posted Apr. 12, 2015 at 12:01 AM

    STOCKTON — The dozen or so flags that flapped around his new tombstone Saturday in the Stockton Rural Cemetery might have surprised Jonathan Hatch.For three years with the 123rd New York Infantry, he marched around from battlefield to battlefield, fighting to preserve a union of 33 states, 20 states in the north, 13 trying to break away.

    He probably never imagined 50 stars.

    But there they were, surrounding his new, but period appropriate, headstone, honoring a Civil War veteran who had died in the Stockton Insane Asylum some 15 years after the war’s end, was buried in an unmarked grave and had been almost forgotten. But history buffs, genealogists and family members wouldn’t let that happen. And Saturday, with family from near and far around, a mayor coming to honor him, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War in period costume to remember him, and under the watchful eye of the Stockton Veterans of Foreign Wars honor guard, his tombstone was formally dedicated 135 years after his death.

    Jonathan Hatch had no children of his own when he died in 1880, at age 41. But his siblings did, and among their descendants to see the dedication were Michael Whealey and Dan McHale from San Francisco. Whealey’s mother, Alice Whealey, is the family historian who helped put together much of what is known of Jonathan Hatch.

    Jonathan Hatch had marched more than 2,000 miles in three years of service in the Union Army from 1862 to 1865, seeing such battles as Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Manassas Gap before his discharge two months after the war’s end. “He came out and worked in the Delta,” said his great-great nephew Forrest Allen, who also came to the ceremony. Allen’s great grandfather Forrest Hatch, [sic] as Jonathan Hatch’s brother, himself a Civil War veteran who moved west from New York after the war and is buried in Lockeford. Jonathan Hatch, the family lore goes, relied too heavily on alcohol. “He fell ill in the fields. Nobody knew anybody around to help him,”Allen said.The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War Camp 22 website tells his story briefly.

    “Like too many of his fellow veterans, he was affected by the traumas of the battlefield. After many incidents that today would be probably ascribed to PTSD, Jonathan was placed in (The Stockton Insane Asylum). He died there on July 9, 1880, and was buried in an unmarked plot in the Stockton Rural Cemetery.” There was no one to mark his passing then. But all that changed on Saturday.

    Jim Monteton, a sergeant in the Sons of Union Civil War Veterans [Corr. – Sons of Veterans Reserve], presided over a 20-minute ceremony to honor Hatch and dedicate his tombstone, which included a traditional single rose laid on the grave by Pat Drouin, in full antebellum hoop skirt and parasol. “The march of this soldier is long over,” Monteton told about 50 people at the ceremony. “Let us forget his failings — for he was only human — and remember his virtues.”

    Included in the ceremony was the three-gun salute when Joe Marti, David Salyer and Michael Paul Drouin in period dress fired their muskets in succession. Then, as the smell of black powder engulfed the congregation, Navy veteran David Lurgia played taps, the birds retook their treetop perches and chirped, and people contemplated the life Hatch lived.

    “It was a neat event,” Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva said afterward. “Like taking a page out of the history books.” He hoped Stockton’s schoolchildren, when studying that part of history, would be able to see the period tombstone that looks like so many others that mark the graves of the more than 600,000 who died during the Civil War and countless veterans such as Hatch who died later.

    Saturday was a significant day for the ceremony, Monteton told Silva, falling just two days after the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War [N.B. Although this date is widely observed as the end of the Civil War,  General Lee’s surrender on April 9th, 1865 was not the end of the war, but of the Army of Northern Virginia. After additional battles, hostilities, and surrenders, President Andrew Johnson finally declared the official end of the war on August 20, 1866.]. But it took time to get permission. Allen said the family learned of Jonathon Hatch’s resting place only a few months ago. Monteton helped in filing the application to Veteran’s Affairs for the recognition and the headstone.

    One purpose of the group is to keep alive the memory of Civil War veterans and how they lived. All too often they come across those who did not receive the veterans’ honors they were due. They are used to such dedications. Saturday’s ceremony was somehow different. “We hardly ever get family members to come to these,” he said. “Thank you.

    Contact Deputy Metro Editor Barbara Zumwalt at (209) 546-8298 or bzumwalt@recordnet.com. Follow her on Twitter @bzedits.