KITTERY, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — It was a historic journey from Oregon to Maine. Ninety-four years after his death, a Civil War veteran made his way home to Maine.
Private Jewett Williams of Hodgdon was a member of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He fought in combat for the last six months of the Civil War. Most notably, he was there for the Confederate surrender at Appomattox on April 9, 1865.
"He fought for his native state. He was from Maine. And our choices were really on a shelf in a shed in a hospital in Oregon, or bring him home where the adjunct general could have a full ceremony with military honors, and the treatment it would have been nice if he had when he died in 1922," said historian Tom Desjardin.
Tom Desjardin spends his time researching the 20th Maine. He discovered Williams' story two years ago.
After the war and multiple marriages and children, Williams died at the age of 78 at an Oregon mental institution.
Desjardins planned to personally bring Williams' ashes home. But when the Patriot Guard Riders heard the story, they had to be a part of it.
"It is history because it's most likely the last Civil War veteran that will ever be buried in the nation," said Mike Edgecomb of the Patriot Guard Riders.
Records show that Williams' has no surviving direct descendants. On Sept. 17, the 150th anniversary of Togus, Williams will receive his proper burial.