123rd Department Encampment
Despite a late March storm of wet snow and freezing rain that made traveling treacherous, nine Camp 14 Brothers (PCC’s Aurand, Breaugh, Skillman; CC Goodrich, SVC Bryant and delegates JVC Conger, Sec Jenkins, WMO Grieve, Don Gray and Jim Ribby) traveled to Lansing to participate in the 123rd Department Encampment.
Camp 14 received one of six Sesquicentennial Awards bestowed by the Department for their tribute to Native American’s John Jacko and William Isaacs (Company ‘K’ 1st Michigan Sharpshooters) with a GAR grave dedication in May 2011. We also received a ribbon to be attached to the colors in recognition for participating in the 2011 Veterans Day parade in Detroit.
WMO Gerry Grieve is quickly garnering a reputation as the ‘Cannon Detective of the North’. In April, he was contacted by the Manistee American Legion Post who had been storing a 6 pounder brass howitzer cast by Cyrus Alger & Sons. The cannon had been on display in front of the Legion hall for many years until some youngsters decided to roll it into the Manistee River. Brother Grieve inspected and photographed the disassembled cannon as a preliminary step to determine what will be needed to restore it to its former glory. The American Legion plans to make it the center piece for their new Veterans park. On March 14th, Gerry stopped in Thompsonville for lunch and discovered a Model 1861 8 inch siege howitzer. Like the Manistee cannon, the howitzer was also cast by Alger and Son’s in 1864. Neither cannon is listed on the Dept. Registry. Camp 14 is in the process of talking with Thompsonville officials to learn of the cannon’s history and ownership.
Brother Jenkins put the grave marker in the back of his truck and transported it the 75 miles to Vanderbilt. He was greeted by sexton, Ron Bus, who with assistance by Larry Sehl (a descendent of Pvt. Sehl) and friend Al Raycroft, they placed the headstone on Pvt. Sehl’s grave.
Memorial Day found Camp 14 Brothers participating in numerous observances throughout the region. GRO Tom Jenkins was keynote speaker in his hometown of Hart, Michigan. He gave an address originally presented by GAR Post Commander J.W. Montgomery over 100 years ago. Brother Breaugh and Leelanau Sheriff Michael Oltersdorf hurried from west to the east side of the county so they could attend ceremonies at the Veterans Memorial in Lake Leelanau and Northport. The Morse family presided over ceremonies in Lake Ann, and Skip Bryant was active in Elk Rapids. PCC Aurand, JVC Conger and new Brother, John Sawyer were present at Traverse City’s Oakwood Cemetery.
Log Cabin Days
Brothers Ribby and Bryant portrayed soldiers from the Grand Traverse region during “Log Cabin Days” at the Old Mission Point Lighthouse. Brother John Dyle and wife Julie have been equally busy this spring. Their production, entitled; "American History as Seen Through the Eye of the Needle" features 36 hand-made, reproduction Civil War quilts. Each quilt has a description of when it was made, what the panels symbolize and other information. John and Julie have given presentations to the Oscoda Quilt Guild and Cheboygan Public Library; appearing in period clothing, giving lectures and playing popular Civil War era music on hammer dulcimers.
Mancelona’s Chain O’ Lakes Sportsman Club
Brother Dan Bennett (and Vice Chairman of Mancelona’s Chain O’ Lakes Sportsman Club) hosted a “Drill, Picnic and Shoot In” on July 18th. Drillmaster Skillman led CC Goodrich, PCC Aurand, SVC Bryant, GRO Jenkins and WMO Jerry Grieve with Brothers Anthony Bonecutter, Jim Morse Jr., John Sawyer, and prospective Brother, Ben Farrier, through the ‘School of the Soldier’. ‘Chef’ Jenkins grilled burgers and other delicacies for lunch. Once ‘Supper Call’ sounded the boys made short work of the food. The afternoon was devoted to Manual of Arms, to prepare Brothers for Honor Guard duties. Finally, the boys had fun to if they could become sharpshooters by firing a collection of muzzle and breechloading rifles. ‘Dead Eye’ Aurand ‘made the string’ by hitting the 8 inch circle at 100 yards, while the rest of the boys filled the backstop with ‘line shots’. Brother Bryant presented Dale with a freshly brewed bottle of ale that was enjoyed by the attendees. The tasty brew was promptly named “Dead Eye Ale”.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park’s Port Onieda Fair
August 10th & 11th
Camp 14 participated in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park’s Port Onieda Fair over August 10 & 11. The Brothers performed a GAR ceremony to honor community veterans buried in the Kelderhouse Cemetery. Park officials report this year’s Fair was the most successful yet.
Following the ceremony, a young woman approached Skip Bryant to tell him about an abandoned cemetery near her home on Glen Lake. She had visited a lonely veteran’s grave deep in the woods but only knew it belonged to a “U.S. Surgeon”. GRO Jenkins is investigating this new discovery.
Vanderbilt Headstone Dedication
On August 18th Camp 14 Brothers converged on the little town of Vanderbilt, Michigan to complete the work started by Brothers Jeffery Smith (of Gen. Hartranft Camp # 15 of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) and Tom Jenkins. Earlier this year, Brother Smith discovered his ancestor, Martin J. Sehl (a member of Battery A, 1st Michigan Light Artillery) buried in an unmarked grave. With GRO Jenkins’ assistance, a headstone finally marked Comrade Sehl’s final resting place. Joining the fourteen Brothers were Brother Smith’s wife and daughter, Emily Breaugh, Judy Jenkins, Lisa Smith and Deb Downey. Dept. Commander Paul Arnold and DSVC Paul Davis also made the long trip north to join 140 Sehl descendents to witness the GAR grave dedication and family reunion. Brothers received many compliments for their performance and the fine tribute to their ancestor.
Roscommon resident and Camp 427 Brother Bill Hanusik attended the event dressed in Confederate gray. He had a fine time and is interested transferring to his new ‘local’ Camp 14. . Brothers Aurand and Jenkins attended the Jackson Cascades Civil War Muster over August 25-26; while CC Goodrich supervised his artillery battery during the ‘battles’. Bugler Mark Heath, Chaplain Charles Buckhan, and Brothers joined members of the Great Lakes Battalion reenactors to participate in a memorial service for Co. ‘B’ 2nd U. S. Sharpshooter and Vietnam veteran, Terry Peiffer. Family and members of the Sharpshooters all expressed their gratitude for the outstanding job the SUVCW did to honor Terry’s memory.
Restoration of the Grave of Private John Thacker (169th PA Inf.)
CC Goodrich called Brother John Sawyer and guest, Tom Deering, to join him. GRO Jenkins described Brother Sawyer’s restoration of the grave of Private John Thacker (169th PA Inf.) in a forgotten family cemetery in Leelanau’s Elmwood Township (see July-Sept Messenger). A large pine tree had fallen across the grounds making it difficult to attend to the graves. Mr. Tom Deering (of Deering Tree Removal Service) volunteered to help and removed the tree in short order. The cemetery is now restored to its former glory and the Township is considering to designate the Fouch cemetery as a historic site. In recognition to Brother Sawyer and Mr. Deering’s efforts, CC Goodrich presented each of them with a framed Certificate of Appreciation. Congratulations on the outstanding work, Brother Sawyer!
Camp 14 participated in Veterans Day ceremonies in Traverse City’s Veterans Park with other members of the Grand Traverse Veteran’s Coalition. PCC Dale Aurand traveled to Gettysburg with other members of the Dept. of Michigan to attend the 149th Remembrance Day ceremonies.