Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dedication to history

A memorial ceremony - and grave marker dedication - was held at Mount Bethel Cemetery on Sunday, September 14.

A recently installed grave marker memorialized the service of John Conklin Lockard, one of the five locals who burned the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge on June 28, 1863 to halt advancing Confederate troops. The bridge burning precipitated the Battle of Gettysburg a few days later due to Southern troops being thwarted in their efforts to cross the Susquehanna.
Lockard was a private in Company G, 35th Pennsylvania Infantry.
Four of the bridge burners are known to be buried at Mount Bethel, and each of their grave markers displays a bronze medallion commemorating the bridge burning, as seen above. The medallions were forged by a local foundry. The location of the grave of Jacob Miller, the remaining bridge burner, is unknown.

World War II veteran, Reverend Warren "Rocky" Riedel donned his Civil War uniform for the memorial service.

A "bridge burner" and Rev. Riedel

John Hinkle, Jr., president of the Mount Bethel Cemetery Company, gave a brief history of Mount Bethel.  The cemetery contains the graves of 646 veterans from almost all of this country's wars, beginning with the American Revolution.

Columbia Historic Preservation Society President Chris Vera read a historical deposition describing the bridge burning.

Mount Bethel Board Member Claire Storm recognized Lockard's descendants,

. . . as about 50 people listened.

Vet 21 Salute Honor Guard gave a 21-gun salute.

Trumpeter John Hess played "Taps."

A presentation was made to a Lockard family descendant by a member of Vet 21.

Jacob Miller, one of the original five, was an African-American, whose grave marker is located in Potter's Field at Mount Bethel.  His actual grave site is unknown, having been lost to history.
The other bridge burners were John Q. Denney, W. Robert Crane, and Jacob Rich.
The text of Denney's deposition can be found HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for covering this event and posting, so those unable to make it to Mount Bethel could enjoy it as well.