News: Civil War
Commemoration - Thorp, Wis. (2006)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Courier (Thorp, Clark County, Wis.) May 2006
Photo caption –
The Remarking of History
Great-great-grandsons Steve Klante and Roland Bingham look on as preparations are made to replace the gravestone of Israel S. Clark, a Civil War soldier who settled in the Thorp area with his family and died in 1877 while digging a well in the Town of Thorp. Israel married Elizabeth Ann Vandemark, (Pictured) born in Bell Run, McKean County, Pennsylvania on January 30, 1839. Elizabeth went on to remarry a Moore following Israel’s untimely death. Olive Alta Frederickson, author of Silence of the North, is a granddaughter of Israel S. Clark. His family is still hoping to find a photograph of him.
East Thorp Cemetery Index
RELATIVES FIND CIVIL WAR ANCESTOR IN EAST THORP CEMETERY
Discovery Leads to July 4 Civil War Commemoration
A bright blue canopy down in the valley tells us of an upcoming funeral. A freshly drug grave near the roadway marks another. The men on the hill, however, are here for a different purpose, one which brings both sadness of a sort, and vast relief, their discovery of the gravesite of Israel S. Clark, a Civil War Veteran buried in the East Thorp Cemetery.
Steve Klante of Wausau, a great-great-grandson of the soldier, approaches the gravesite, one that he’d been searching for more than ten years. A distant cousin, Roland Bingham of Withee, appears on the hill and shakes the other man’s hand somberly. The town, though they’ve never met, feel the blood connection stemming from the man they’ve so recently discovered here. Roland is a descendent of Israel’s oldest child, Clara, while Steve is of his youngest child, Mary Jane. "So this is where he is," Roland smiles. "I’ve probably walked past this tone more than once looking for him here."
Israel’s gravestone, its marble now crumbling and discolored after more than 128 years of hard weather, is unreadable but for a few letters, and it’s easy to imagine how someone, even a devoted relatives specifically looking for it, would pass it by. However, once the information is known, the inscription is barely visible, and the two cousins bend down as Steve read it off:
I. S. Clark Co. G 1st PA. L. A.
As the men from Norde Memorials in Wausau, Ken Strasser and Stanley Stoltz, come forward, ready to pull from the earth the old stone and replace it with a new one, Steve and Roland begin their talk of their great-great-grandfather, pulling from their childhood memories stores they’d been told. Both had been searching for some thread of Israel’s past existence, some proof that their family stores were true, for many years.
Both men had been told Israel had fought in the Civil War, and both had heard the stories of how he had later died while digging a well in Clark County. But, the threads were thin and information sparse and it wasn’t until another cousin, Harold Zander, now of Starbuck, Minnesota, used a different search engine on his computer one day earlier this year, that it all began to fall into place. Then, it moved like a whirlwind.
Harold, who had also been collaborating with another distant cousin, Lloyd Lanthere in Madison, Alabama, chose to search through Yahoo! Instead of Google one day, and lo and behold, once typing in the name "Israel S. Clark", up popped his great-great-grandfather’s obituary, courtesy of The Clark Republican and Press newspaper of August 17, 1877. Indeed, Israel S. Clark was killed in a well that he had been helping to dig when a bucket in which curbing was being lowered detached and fell upon him. Israel lived only two more hours. It says, "He was formerly a resident of Humbird, and leaves a large family very poorly provided for."
Those words put into motion a flurry of communication as the newly-found information was passed from cousin to cousin. Before long, Harold was in contact with Stan and Janet Schwarze, formerly of Greenwood and now of Rochester, Minnesota, who, with a generous group of volunteers, are researching all of the cemeteries of Clark County, Wisconsin. Amidst their archives was a photograph taken of an unidentified grave in East Thorp Cemetery. Once they had the name Israel S. Clark, the inscription was legible. Israel’s burial place had finally been found.
Steve Klante talked about the day he came upon the stone at the East Thorp Cemetery: "I went out there, and there it was, my great-great-grandfather’s grave. I didn’t expect to get so emotional. I actually had tears in my eyes" After all of the years of the cousins’ searching, the end had finally come.
However, the men found that Israel’s gravestone discovery was really just the beginning. Harold Zander has since researched and written a book that documents all of the Civil War veterans identified as buried in the East Thorp Cemetery, 30 to be exact, including each soldier’s unit history. Names like Glashof, Seamn, Tiedemann, Warner, and Wright jump off the page with recognition. Harold was naturally most satisfied when he entered the history of Israel S. Clark, who served in Battery G of the 1st Light Artillery of the 43rd Infantry Regiment, organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in June of 1861. Clark’s unit fought in the Battle of Bull Run and at Fredericksburg.
Steve, meanwhile, has been the primary organizer for a commemoration of all Civil War veteran buried in the East Thorp Cemetery, scheduled for this July 4 in Thorp. Working with the Veteran’s Administration located near his home in Wausau, Steve and his cousins and the public will have the opportunity to witness the recommemoration of the veterans’ graves that will include a full military salute. Most likely, the cousins, sometime after the ceremony, will find their way to the site where their great-great-grandfather actually lost his life, that ominous well located in the Town of Thorp in Clark County.
The men are amazed at the interest their personal fine has created and welcome the public to be with them to commemorate these long-fallen veterans in July. "I just cannot believe how everyone seems to get involved in the celebration," Harold recently exclaimed as more offers of assistance came his way. "We look forward to meeting all the folks who are making this a cause for celebrating all the men who sacrificed so much to ensure we remained a Union of independent states."
Israel, his new headstone sparking white in the shade of a pine that likely wasn’t yet a seed when he was first laid there, is likely also amazed. Never could he have imagined that nearly 129 years after his death, a group of ancestors would spend the time they have searching for his remains. Back then, it was a single, simple death of a hard-working family man and former soldier. Today, Israel’s new stone reminds us of the relevance of the past that may at times be misplaced, but will never be forgotten.
Harold Zander’s book, Civil War Veterans & Unit Histories: East Thorp Village Cemetery, Clark County, Wisconsin, may be purchased for $5.00 at AmericInn in Thorp and at The Thorp Courier. Zander is donating all proceeds of the sales to the Thorp Area Historical Museum. The ancestors of Israel S. Clark, in conjunction with the Thorp American Legion, welcome the public to the commemoration of the Civil War Soldiers who found the East Thorp Cemetery as their final resting place, scheduled for July 4, 2006. The Thorp Courier will report on specifies of the upcoming event as they become available.
Re: News: Civil War Commemoration - Thorp, Wis. (2
Contact: Ken Bettice
Looking for info on members serving in the 25th Wis Vol. Inf. Any links or areas of search would be helpfull.. I'm a member and re-enactor of the 25th
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