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Man researches veterans named on Camden's monuments

By Susan Mustapich | Nov 11, 2020
Photo by: Susan Mustapich A research project on those named on the Civil War monument in Camden's Harbor Park brings details of their service to life.

CAMDEN — One Camden veteran used his downtime at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to research the military service of veterans whose names are carved in stone on the war memorials, graves and monuments in the Camden-Rockport area.

Jeff Sukeforth, a Vietnam Veteran, has compiled the information he found in a thick 3-ring binder, covering men and women in the U.S. armed services, from the Revolutionary War to the present. His sources include the Maine State Archives and records of gravestones. He is still working on the project.

The binder begins with information about men who served in the militia in Camden during the War of 1812.

While the only Revolutionary War monument in the area does not contain names, Sukeforth includes a July 2005 article about a fortification at Pine Hill, overlooking Glen Cove, by town historian Barbara Dyer, with Maine history writer Carol Smith Fisher.

Searching the Maine State Archives for the Revolutionary War era, he found military service information and grave sites for a number of men.

Peter Barrows was born in 1755 and served as Private in the 2nd Regiment. After the war he received an annual pension of $40. He died in 1841 at the age of 86 and was buried in the Rockville Cemetery, also known as the Reuben Howard Yard, where his gravestone stands today.

Joseph Waterman was born around the year of 1734, and served as Mariner in the Continental Navy. Afterwards, he received an annual pension of $96. He is buried in the Kent Cove Cemetery on North Haven.

George Ulmer was born in 1755 in Waldoboro. He served in major battles of the Revolutionary War, before being stationed at Fort Pine Hill in Clam Cove, then part of Camden, according to Dyer's article. The fort is described as including an 18-pound cannon. There Ulmer commanded 500 troups, which included 200 members of the Penobscot Tribe. Ulmer later rose to the rank of General, and served as a Representative and Senator in Massachusetts. He returned to Maine and was a Senator in the 1st Legislature. He built a large home overlooking the Ducktrap River in Lincolnville and rebuilt it after a fire. The Ulmer house was restored just over a decade ago, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Ulmer died in 1825 at the age of 70 and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Camden. His gravestone is inscribed "he was a valiant solder of that band of heroes who achieved this country's independence: An intrepid General, a wise legislator, and an upright magistrate. Reader: be like him; be every ready to defend the rights of your country."

A Revolutionary War monument erected on the west side of Route 1, overlooking Glen Cove, commemorates the fortification at Pine Hill. It was erected by the Glen Cove Garden Club in 1976, replacing a disintegrated sign placed by the Rockland chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Civil War

A Civil War monument in Harbor Park in Camden, near Route 1 and Sea Street was erected in 1899, due to the fundraising efforts of women who formed The Camden Soldiers Monument Association 10 years earlier, according to another of Dyer's articles.

The monument was originally located in a median at the intersection of Route 1 (Main and High streets) with Mountain and Central. After suffering from several car crashes, it was repaired and placed in the park.

Among the names of soldiers carved into the base of the monument is Frederick J. Currier, born in Camden in 1843. He enlisted at age 19, in October 1862, with the 6th Battery, Company F, Maine 26th Infantry Regiment. Currier died less than two years later in May 1864. Records list that he was "left sick at Mound City, Illinois on Aug. 2, 1863." His burial or cremation place is the U.S. Soldiers' and Airmens' Home National Cemetery, in Washington D.C.

John C. Thorndike is among many soldiers who enlisted at a young age, and made it back home. He was 19 when he joined Company F, Maine 26th Infantry Regiment in October 1862. He mustered out of the service in 1863, then re-enlisted in September 1864 in Company G, 9th Maine Infantry. He mustered out of the service June 30, 1865. Thorndike died in 1905, and is buried in West Rockport Cemetery, where his headstone stands today.

Corporal George S. Cobb, born in Camden around 1841, enlisted at age 21 in 1862, and was killed in action in 1864. Cobb was with Company 1st Maine 19th Infantry, where he was promoted to full Corporal. His military record lists his death as occurring in Petersburg, Va..

Spanish-American War

Near the Civil War monument in Harbor Park is a plaque on a bolder, in memoriam of "The men who volunteered their services to the cause of liberty, in the war with Spain that a nation might enjoy peace and prosperity."

This memorial was erected in 1938 by the Freeman-Herrick Camp No. 18, U.S. War Veterans Auxiliary and friends. It names 26 men who belonged to Freemen-Herrick and served in the war that spanned the years 1898 to 1902.

Edwin G. Bennet was born in Massachusetts in 1872, with ties to Maine on his father's side of the family. His family moved to Rockport after his birth. As a Rockport resident, he enlisted in the Spanish-American war in June 1898, and served in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Essex. He was discharged in October of that year. He worked as a kiln tender for the R&R Lime Co. in Rockport, and registered for the draft for World War I in 1917. His divorce and second marriage were recorded in Rockport in 1919. Bennett died in 1941, and shares a cemetery plot with his parents Edwin A. and Julia, in the Seaview Cemetery in Rockport.

Gorham Isaac Dean served in 1898 in the State of Maine Unit 1 Infantry Company K. He was born in 1877 in Lincolnville. He died at age 58 in Camden, and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery.

A number of the men named on the monument are buried in cemeteries in Appleton, including the Pine Grove Cemetery where Joshua G. Wentworth and  Lyford Mills are buried, and the Miller Cemetery where Fred B. Thorndike is buried. Thorndike, who was born in 1876, served as a Private in the 1st Maine Infantry, Co. H, and died in 1964.

Albert Feltham is listed as being from Hope, though no other information was found.

WWI, WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War

Sukeforth's binder is thick with information about the military service of those who served in WWI, WWII and the Korean and Vietnam wars. The names on the Veterans Honor Roll monument on the Village Green were the starting point for his research. Sukeforth continues to add information on veterans from the Revolutionary, Vietnam, Gulf and Iraq wars.

As Adjutant for the War Memorial Post 30 American Legion in Camden, Sukeforth is a tireless supporter of veterans, their organizations and ceremonies throughout the year.

He also assists the town with information needed for veterans who lived in Camden while in active military service, in order for their names to be added to the Honor Roll monument.

The most recent names approved in 2020 to be added to the monument are Christopher J. Nolan, Robert Leroy Milliken and Douglas Weed.

Nolan served as Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve in the 1st Gulf War, Desert Storm and in Somalia. Milliken served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve in the Vietnam War. Douglas Weed served in the United States Air Force in the Vietnam War.

For more information about Sukeforth's Veteran Biographies project and veterans activities in the area, call 236-3310.

Corporal George S. Cobb, whose name is carved on the Civil War monument in Harbor Park, was born in Camden around 1841, enlisted in 1862 and was killed in action in 1864 in Petersburg, Va. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
(Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
A memorial erected in 1938 in Camden's Harbor Park names 26 men from Camden, Rockport, Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville who served in the Spanish-American War. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Veterans Honor Roll on Camden's Village Green contains the names of those who served in wars from WWI to Iraq. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Civil War monument in Camden's Harbor Park, near Route 1 and Sea Street, was erected in 1899, and contains the names of many local men who served in Maine's Infantry. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
The Civil War monument in Camden has weathered all the seasons, since being erected in 1899. (Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
(Photo by: Susan Mustapich)
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