Confederate soldier’s grave in Hellam Township to be marked again
Silbaugh Memorials donated the new stone.
By TERESA ANN BOECKEL
Daily Record/Sunday News
York, PA –
An unknown Confederate soldier’s grave along the Susquehanna River in Hellam Township will be marked once again.
Silbaugh Memorials in Shrewsbury has donated a light gray granite marker for the grave. It’s similar to the one that washed away during the flooding from Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, said Ron Silbaugh, president of the company.
His company had donated the original stone, too, in the 1980s. Before that, the grave was marked by a 55-gallon drum.
This is a part of history that needs to be preserved, Silbaugh said. York County was a part of Civil War history leading up to the Battle of Gettysburg, which marks the 150th anniversary this year.
A private rededication ceremony, at which the marker will be unveiled, will be held Saturday. Local author Scott Mingus will talk about who might be buried there.
Mingus said he strongly believes the soldier was part of the 17th Virginia Cavalry. His research suggests that he was a casualty of a fight near York Haven, or he was a spy or deserter and died while trying to cross the river.
"Who he is, we don’t know," Mingus said.
An effort has been under way since the flooding in 2011 to have the grave properly marked again.
Civil War buffs say the man deserves to be recognized because he fought and died for his beliefs.
People don’t have to agree with the soldier’s politics, said Ivan Frantz Jr., secretary/treasurer of the Capt. E. M. Ruhl, Camp No. 33 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
"The man is a veteran," he said. "His service should be recognized."
Frantz tried to seek an official government marker, but that did not work out.
Carol Posinski of Codorus Township is a member of the Civil War Heritage Foundation. She visited Silbaugh Memorials recently to see about a new stone. That’s when Silbaugh volunteered to donate one.
Posinski said it was more than she expected.
And she was pleased with the marker when she saw it recently.
"They just did a beautiful job," she said.
Involved in the effort
Several groups have been involved in having an unknown Confederate soldier’s grave marked again in Hellam Township.
The groups include the Capt. E. M. Ruhl, Camp No. 33 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1961; the Voices of the Confederacy; and the Civil War Heritage Foundation.