Civil War general honored on his birthday
AL ZAGOFSKY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Jim Holleran, left, past Commander of the American Legion Post in Jim Thorpe, places a Civil War marker and flag on the grave site of Charles Albright, a Mauch Chunk lawyer who rose to the rank of brevet General in the Union army during the Civil War. Meriel and Bart Springer, owners of the General Albright Mansion Restaurant, observe the ceremony.
"General Charles Albright had no flag on his grave," said Bart Springer, who, along with his wife Meriel have adopted the heritage of Albright since purchasing his former law practice and residence in 2008 and converting it into a restaurant. "I thought the highest ranking person from this town during the Civil War should have a flag on his grave."
Bart and Meriel knew Albright was buried in the Mauch Chunk Cemetery in Upper Jim Thorpe, but they had no information as to the location of his grave marker.
Meriel wondered about this as she and her dog, Margaux, walked along the portion of the Switchback Trail just below the cemetery. She said to herself. "Where are you General Charles Albright?" How can I find you? Where can you possibly be?"
As she approached the cemetery, in the distance she saw a tall obelisk monument. She approached it, wondering, "Could this be General Albright?" She stood on the pathway, peered over and there it was. "My heart skipped a beat, pounding with-oh my goodness. I couldn't believe it. It was almost as if I was taken to him."
When Meriel and Bart returned to Albright's grave site, they were surprised that it didn't have a Civil War veteran's marker. They discussed this with their chef, Jim Holleran, a past Commander of the American Legion Post in Jim Thorpe. "As a veteran, he's entitled to a flag," Holleran told them.
"I got hold of Hank Desrosiers, the director of the Carbon County Veterans Affaires," Holleran said. "He told me that he was aware that there was no plaque on it and he was waiting because they needed 14 for the cemetery. He was waiting for all 14 to be here at one time."
"I told him the General's birthday was coming up and we would like to have something for that. He said he had one he could get us right away."
A Veteran's Marker is a bronze disk that serves as a flag holder. Each disk is molded with the symbol and name of the war of that era. The one given to Holleran was marked "Veteran 1861-1865." On the back, it read, "Presented by the County Commissioners of Pennsylvania." "Each Memorial Day, all the veterans' graves get a new flag placed on them," Holleran explained.
This week, Bart and Meriel and, with Holleran representing the American Legion Post in Jim Thorpe, placed the Civil War marker and flag besides the grave of Gen. Albright. Albright was born Dec. 13, 1830 and died at the age of 49 on Sept 28, 1880. The Springers are celebrating his birthday on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. They are serving a birthday cake and everyone is invited as long as the cake lasts. Albright would have been 179 years old.
Albright was a lawyer, soldier and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He was born in Bucks County and studied law at Dickinson College. He was admitted to the bar in 1852 and practiced in Mauch Chunk.
During the Civil War, Albright served in the Union Army and was promoted through the ranks to a breveted brigadier general in Feb. 1865, and was honorably mustered out in August 1865 following the end of the war.
After the war, he was resumed the practice of law in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania. Albright was elected as a Republican to the Forty-third Congress. He resumed the practice of law and also engaged in manufacturing in Mauch Chunk until his death in 1880.
The General Albright's Birthday Celebration is at the General Albright Mansion Restaurant 66 Broadway in Jim Thorpe.