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Local group cleans Civil War family gravestone

by on October 03, 2019 2:28 PM

BELLEFONTE — A local group of Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War, PA Tent 62, recently spent a warm Saturday afternoon gently cleaning the gravestone of Governor Andrew Gregg Curtin, his wife and two children, in Bellefonte’s Union Cemetery.

First Lady Katherine Wilson Curtin is the tent’s namesake. Both figures played a significant role in rallying broad support for President Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to save the Union. Governor Curtin died in 1894 and his wife in 1903.

Every year since the first anniversary of the Tent’s founding in May 2014, members honor the memory of the couple by enjoying a Victorian picnic at the cemetery site, followed by the placing of flowers on the grave. A yearly pledge to clean the gravestone has now been fulfilled.

In addition to cleaning the Curtin family gravestone, another major and ongoing Tent project is arranging for the conservation and future display of a dress ensemble worn by Katherine Curtin during the 1880s.

During that time, she spent “spring seasons” in Washington, D.C. while her husband served three terms in the U.S. Congress. The vivid purple satin and plush ensemble was imported from France and is owned by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

Other Tent activities focus on patriotism, education and historic preservation, and include participating in Memorial Day in Boalsburg and Death Day in Springfield, Ill.; researching Katherin Curtin’s life for future publication; sending holiday cards to active duty troops; creating and donating homemade decorated cookies for Boalsburg Heritage Museum’s year-end fundraising; and placing wreaths on Union soldiers’ graves in December.

Linda Kao is the president of PA Tent 62 Katherine Wilson Curtin, Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. The organization is based in Boalsburg.

 

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