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Rededication of Civil War Soldier’s gravestone

by WayneTimes.com
October 4, 2021

A headstone dedication was performed in Walworth on September 25th at Sherburne Park to honor a Civil War veteran.

A group of history buffs, Gould Cemetery family members, an honor guard from the Civil Air Patrol, and the Sons of  Union Veterans of the Civil War were on hand to celebrate a new gravestone for Abram Gregor’s burial site.

Abraham “Abram” Gregor, was an African American, who was paid $600 by the Gould family of  Walworth  to serve in place of their family member. This was a standard procedure for many during this War.

The youngest son of the Gregor family of Sodus, NY, Abram Gregor, who was barely 17 when he enlisted in August of 1864, was honored with the new headstone.

His gravesite was located just outside the property lines of the Gould Family Cemetery, away from others buried there. It is not known if his race had any bearing on his burial placement, or the fact that he was not an official member of the Gould family. Over 150 years later, the farmer who owned the property (Gary Craft)  redrew the property lines to include Abram’s gravestone within the cemetery.

 The history of the marker and of the man who was laid to rest there has been detailed and is now published as one of the stories in the book “Freedom - A Shared Sacrifice”, spotlighting the lives of African American soldiers from Western New York during the Civil War, by Marjorie Allen Perez.

Abram Gregor went to war as a substitute for William E. Gould of Walworth, the 25 year old son of Israel Gould. Gould’s son had sought an exemption from service, and in July had received notification that he would need to “file a written statement” with the town clerk. It appears that William Gould chose to seek a substitute - perhaps his exemption was denied - it is not  known - but he paid the sum of $600 to the parents of Abram Gregor and on August 29, 1864. Abram enlisted in the USCT (United States Colored Troops) in his stead.

According to Perez, “Abram’s time in the service was not easy. In May 1965 he was admitted to the hospital at Fort Monroe and diagnosed with tuberculosis. His half-brother, William Wilson, was also in the same hospital.”

“In October 8, 1864, Abram was in Elmira NY awaiting transfer to the 43rd USCT which, at the time, was stationed in Virginia on the siege lines in front of Petersburg and Richmond.”

After being moved to another hospital, Abram was finally discharged from the Army on December 5, 1865 and  returned to his family (now living in what is now known as Walworth). Three months later on March 9, 1866, he was dead.

According to Perez, the stone rededication repeated the date on the original tombstone of September 9, 1864.... that is not his death date, nor his enlistment date; it not known the significance of the date,...other than to surmise it might be the day he left home. 

Abram was not the only member of his family to serve. His brothers Bradley, Elijah, Samuel, and William also served during the Civil War. Their grandfather was in service during the Revolutionary War. 

According to Perez, Abram’s mother Almyra, applied for a Civil War pension as a dependent mother - and it took almost 20 year S. She was finally awarded a pension in 1884, retroactive to March 1866. She died 5 years later. 

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