Rehoboth to Honor Black Civil War Navy Veteran
Honoring Alexander Williams, Rehoboth Civil War Navy Veteran
The Rehoboth Cemetery Commission invites the public to a graveside memorial service to recognize and honor Alexander Williams, noted on documentation as a “Civil War Navy Veteran of Color” on Sunday, September 22 at 1 pm at the historic Hix Cemetery followed by a reception at the Carpenter Museum.
The Rev. Ken Postle will officiate at the service to honor the presumed ex-slave who served during the Civil War. The Mass 54th Re-enactors will march and bear the colors for the Navy as well the Mass 54th.
The Cemetery Commission, in conjunction with the Veterans Service Officer Jake Kramer, was able to procure a government-issued memorial marker at no cost to the town. The gravestone was set by the town’s Forestry Department.
Alexander Williams, a presumed ex-slave, was assigned to the gunboat USS Mahaska from 1864-1867 and died in the Rehoboth Alms House in 1888. It was discovered that he had no memorial stone and no living family.
In honor of Williams’ service in the Navy during the Civil War, the movie Glory will be shown at the Blanding Public Library on Saturday, September 21 at 7 PM. The movie tells the story of the Mass 54th Infantry, the Union’s first Black Army unit, and their battles, not just in combat but in the social situations of their time.
Following the graveside service at the Hix Cemetery, 56 Brook Street, Rehoboth, all are invited for refreshments at the Carpenter Museum located at 4 Locust Street (parking off Bay State Road behind the museum). Civil War artifacts of Rehoboth officers and soldiers will be on display. The New Bedford Historical Society will also have displays and information about the Civil War soldiers in Massachusetts.
For more information, please contact Beverly Baker, Chair of the Rehoboth Cemetery Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-222-7109.