Charles Hibbard, Civil War veteran rests in De Pere
By Melinda Anne Roberts
Hobby historian and “Little Wisconsin” author
DE PERE – Follow the north-side cemetery road that traverses the “old section” of Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery on South Erie Street and one headstone distinguishes itself far and above the others.
This tree-trunk gravestone identifies the resting place of Charles Hibbard (1832-1900).
Popular mostly from the 1880s to the 1920s, tree-trunk headstones were part of a movement in United States funerary art to place the focus on “death back to life” – by choosing grave markers that simulated the natural world and moved away from the traditional obelisks, stone-cloth-draped urns, and mausoleums.
Made of limestone and intricately hand carved, each tree stone boasts a unique custom design.
As they became more popular, Sears and Roebuck and Montgomery Ward sold the tree-shaped markers in their catalogues.
Hibbard’s tree-trunk headstone is in the shape of a cross.
A stone garland of roses hangs from the intersection of the beams; a Grand Army of the Republic ribbon and medallion dangles prominently from the wreath, at about eye-level.
Below, a scroll identifies Hibbard as a Civil War soldier of Company G, 18th Wisconsin Regiment.
The 18th Regiment was organized in early 1862 at Camp Trowbridge in Milwaukee, under the command of Col. James S. Alban.
Muster into the Union Army was completed on March 15. The regiment left Wisconsin on March 30, with orders to report at St. Louis.
The Regiment participated in the battles of Shiloh, Cornith, Iuka, Port Gibson, Champion Hill and the Siege of Vicksburg.
The 984-page 18th Wisconsin Regiment Roll Call Volume II records Charles Hibbard and Lawrence Hibbard of Rockland entering the Union Army on Oct. 4, 1864, part of a draft that brought in 200 new recruits.
Company G was under Captain John H. Compton and recruiting was effected mostly in Wood County.
The Fall 1864, recruits were sharpshooters at the Siege of Vicksburg and participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea, the Siege of Savannah, the campaign of the Carolinas and the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina.
The Regiment disbanded and everyone mustered out on July 18, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky.
A monument to the 18th Wisconsin was placed at Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi.
On July 21, 1900, the Green Bay Semi-Weekly Gazette reported the July 20 passing of Charles Hibbard, “well known” in Brown County and “an old and respected citizen of the town of Rockland.” Hibbard was born in Canada and died at the age of 67, survived by a wife and seven children, four boys and three girls.
Services were held at St. Francis Church in De Pere.