Union and West End Cemetery

The Union and West End Cemetery is located in center city Allentown. The main entrance is on 10th Street at 10th and Chew Streets. The cemetery is mantained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Ten board members (also volunteers) serve the cemetery association and manage the finances, make application for grants, solicit donations and participate in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Eagle Scout Project

On two consecutive Saturdays (Sept 18 & 25), Daniel Hower, an Eagle Scout prospect, with the help of family, friends, and other Scouts, undertook to place six Civil War plaques on the graves of six "First Defender" veterans that are buried in the Union and West End Cemetery.

There are 715 Civil War veterans buried in the Union and West End Cemetery. Twenty Two of those veterans were from the Allen Infantry Militia Unit of Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Allen Infantry was among the first Militia Units to answer President Lincoln's call when it appeared that the Confederate troops were about to take Washington. Some 530 men from five Pennsylvania militia units answered that call and saved the capitol. They have since been known as "First Defenders" and received special commendation from the Pennsylvania Congress and special "First Defender" medals..

The original Scout Project was to place a bronze plaque on the grave of any First Defenders that did not already have a plaque. This would have called for sixteen
plaques which are provided by the Veterans Affairs office in Virginia. However, one of the Veterans Affairs Office rules reduced that number to six plaques. The Veterans Affairs Office will not supply a plaque if the grave is already adorned with a headstone. Thus, the only ones that qualify are those with no existing or legible marker. So Daniel proceeded to place six plaques on the graves of six veterans of the Civil War.

The above photos depict the placement of just two of the six plaques placed at the graves of Union soldiers. All six were placed on six veterans graves as follows:

William W. Wagner
3rd Sgt. Co. G' 25th Infantry
Civil War

Joseph P. S. Weiss
Pvt. Co. G' 25th Infantry
Civil War

Henry Storch
Pvt. Co. G' 25th PA Infantry
Civil War
Dec 22, 1841 Feb 2, 1866

William Rhue
Pvt. Co. G' 25th PA Infantry
Civil War
Aug 10, 1810 Feb 4, 1900

James M. Wilson
Lieut. Co. G' 25thPA Vols
First Defenders
Civil War
Aug 17, 1816 Oct 16, 1875

George W. Henry
Pvt. Co. G' 25th PA Infantry
Civil War

This project should have had a happy ending; but, according to Scout rules, an Eagle Scout project must be approved by the District Council, commenced and completed prior to the Scouts eighteenth birthday. Some six weeks or more prior to his birthday, Daniel set up an appointment with a District Counselor to present his application and an outline of his project. The counselor cancelled the meeting. Several weeks later a new meeting took place; the counselor asked one question: "When is your birthday?" When told, the counselor refused to look at the project application and stated that there was not sufficient time to complete the project and dismissed Daniel's dream of being an Eagle Scout out of hand.

To his credit, Daniel proceeded to complete the project. The plaques were on hand in plenty of time. It took only two days to gather the necessary materials and only two Saturday mornings to complete the project.Was it finished before Daniel's eighteenth birthday; no, but only because there was no longer any urgency. The District Council had already seen to that. You would think that the Boy Scout District Council would be encouraging to live-long Scouts to complete the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank. But in this instance, a worthy individual was denied a once in a life-time opportunity to attain that exalted rank.

I am confident that in Daniel's mind and heart he is an Eagle Scout. I know that his family believes that he did everything required of him. Other might have simply walked away after failing to realize their dream, but Daniel sucked it up and completed the project for which the Union and West End Cemetery Association is grateful. Daniel, you are first class in our hearts and minds.

Everette Carr
Union and west End Cemetery

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