Farm Bureau - Melissa Wheeler

The North Bend Eagle

Hill graveThe gravestone of James and Mary Ann Hill stands in Purple Cane Cemetery northwest of North Bend. A special marker will be added noting him as the last Civil War veteran buried in Dodge County.

Civil War vet to be honored at Purple Cane July 10

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 7/7/21

Historians and descendants of Civil War veteran James Hill invite the public to a special Saturday, July 10, ceremony in his honor at Purple Cane Cemetery
Members of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will dedicate a marker recognizing Hill as the last Union soldier buried in Dodge County.

Saturday’s ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. at Purple Cane cemetery, which is on County Road P about 7 miles northwest of North Bend, just west of the intersection of county roads P and 2.

Local veterans and descendants, such as Bill Perrin of Columbus, will join the SUVCW in honoring Private Hill. Perrin, who worked at Pollard’s in North Bend for 17 years, says he met SUVCW department commander John Surman when he was at Purple Cane Cemetery before Memorial Day. Surman told him that a veteran in Fremont was going to be honored as the last Union soldier buried in Dodge County, but Surman said Hill was buried later. So the Purple Cane ceremony was planned.

SUVCW members will wear authentic reproductions of 1860s uniforms and include aspects of rituals performed by the original Civil War soldiers during this dedication.

The SUVCW is placing markers throughout Nebraska as part of its ongoing Last Soldier Project. Each graveside marker either attaches to or replaces the traditional Grand Army of the Republic flag holder. The marker has a QR code that allows those with smartphones to find out more about Private Hill and the SUVCW.

Hill was born in England in 1841 before his family migrated to Illinois in 1847. In 1861, he enlisted in the 3rd Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, just months after the war broke out. On Sept. 17, 1862, he was seriously wounded during the battle of Antietam in Maryland, resulting in the loss of a leg. Private Hill was discharged from the Army on Jan. 8, 1863.


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