Gen. John F. Hartranft and Sgt. William D. Jenkins fought for the Union during the Civil War as part of Pennsylvania’s 51st Volunteer Infantry. They went on to share another bond formed by war, a common resting place: Montgomery Cemetery, where they are memorialized as decorated veterans and, for Hartranft, as Pennsylvania’s 17th governor, as well.
Now, more than 150 years later, their gravestones are in need up a fixing up so that their courageous deeds are appropriately respected in eternal rest. With toppled headstones and worn grave markers, the historic cemetery, 25 acres along the Schuylkill River in West Norriton Township, is in need of major help, writes Katie Park in the Philadelphia Daily News.
“We’re very aware of our ancestry and the importance of all of our ancestors’ participation in this country’s history,” said Helen L. Shireman, who lives in Adams County and whose great-grandfather was Hartranft.
Charlie Evans of Limerick, a great-grandson of Jenkins, who was under Hartranft’s command, remembers going to the cemetery as a child with his mother and grandmother, and watching them place flowers on his great-grandfather’s grave.
“I love it down there,” Evans said, proud of his family’s place in history if not the current condition of the cemetery.
Dozens of tombstones have sunk into the ground. Others have already toppled over because of shifting ground and vandals who kick memorials down. It’s impossible to make out what’s etched on some stones after years of erosion.
To read the complete story, click here.