Vermont Patriot Guard Riders participate in cross country honor mission

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BRATTLEBORO >> The Patriot Guard Riders have been transporting the cremains of Jewett Williams, USA, Civil War Veteran on a journey from Oregon to Maine since Aug. 1, Mr. Williams will arrive in Maine on Sunday, and will be buried at Togus National Cemetery on Sept. 17 with full Military Honors.

On Oct. 12, 1864, Jewett enlisted in Company H of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, led by Col. Joshua Chamberlain and Maj. Ellis Spear.

Jewett's regiment participated in several decisive actions that helped secure the Union victory during the later stages of the war, including the Battle of Boydton Plank Road, Battle of Hatcher's Run, Battle of White Oak Road and Battle of Five Forks. The 20th Maine was part of the Union force that accepted Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865. Following Lee's surrender, Jewett and his company marched to Washington, D.C., where they underwent a "grand review" and were mustered out on July 16.

In 1914, 1915 and 1919, Jewett was among the Civil War veterans to speak at Portland-area public schools for Memorial Day events. At the time of the 1920 census, he was listed as a widower in Portland, or living at 53 Seventh St. near Davis. He worked as a "common laborer" at the age of 75. He died on July 17, of arterial sclerosis. He was 78 years old.

It is not known what became of Jewett's wife and family, but his remains were never claimed and he has no known relatives still living.

Now, after nearly a hundred years in the custody of the Oregon State Hospital, Jewett Williams is going home on Saturday and Sunday.

Today a few designated Vermont Patriot Guard Riders will stage in the car lot at the Guilford Welcome Center on Interstate 91 North south of Exit 1 for Brattleboro. At approximately 6 p.m. a motorcycle escort will arrive from the state of Massachusetts. The Brattleboro Police Department will escort all, via the Interstate, to the American Legion Post #5 at 32 Linden St., Brattleboro. Tall flags can be flown on your motorcycle. Police escort will be via the Interstate; however, traveling speed will factor in tall flags. Keep in mind Vermont has a mandatory DOT helmet law. At least two vehicles will be in the escort at this point. One is representing Wreaths Across America and the other is the Maine Living History Foundation.

Commander Dan Chotain has arranged for the American Legion Post #5 Honor Guard to be present. The Vermont Patriot Guard Riders will also be present, with a flag line in place, awaiting the approximate 6:15 p.m. arrival of the motorcycle escort. Vermont Patriot Guard Riders, Assistant State Captain, Gary Herbert will have the honor of removing our hero from the motorcycle/vehicle and carrying him into the American Legion Post #5. A Vermont Patriot Guard Riders member will lead with the US flag that has accompanied Jewett Williams cross country.

On Sunday rally back at the American Legion Post #5 and stage at 7 a.m., a safety briefing will be held at 7:15 a.m. At 7:30 a.m. Jewett Williams and the US flag will be provided a dignified transfer out of the American Legion Post #5 and placed with the rider who is traveling beyond the state of New Hampshire at 7:45 a.m. Be gassed up and prepared to travel via Route 9 across into the state of New Hampshire. The Brattleboro Police Department will be providing the escort to the Vermont/New Hampshire State borders. Travel Route 9 to Keene, N.H. with arrival time confirmed at 8:30 a.m. at 481 West St., West Street Shopping Center. The New Hampshire State Police will provide an escort from the VT/NH border to the rendezvous with the New Hampshire Patriot Guard Riders (NHPGR). The speed will be held down to 45 to 50 mph for those who want to fly their tall flags.

On Sunday,a dignified transfer of our hero at the direction of the NHPGR at 8:30 a.m. at 481 West St., West Street Shopping Center, Keene, N.H.

The public is invited to attend any or all of the transports.


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