Jul 15

The gate to Montgomery Cemetery, located in Norristown, Pennsylvania. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Founded in 1847, the Montgomery Cemetery, located in Norristown, Pennsylvania, is home to a number of generals from the Civil War. Today we will take a look at the grave of United States Major General John Frederick Hartranft. Special thanks to Gettysburg Daily reader Andre Mammino for providing photography and historical information for this series.

The cemetery is located off of Hartranft Avenue (named for John Frederick Hartranft) where it intersects with Jackson Street in Norristown. The red lines mark the Hartranft plot and the obelisk monument to Major General John Frederick Hartranft in Section S, at the southernmost portion of the cemetery. A map with the cemetery sections can be found on the website of the Historical Society of Montgomery County.
John Hartranft was born near Pottstown in Montgomery County (of which Norristown is the county seat), in a small town/hamlet known as Fagleysville. He is buried here on the “Hartranft Lawn” of the Montgomery Cemetery in the Hartranft family plot. This view was taken facing south at approximately 10:30 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The obelisk statue in the center of the plot is to Hartranft. Hartranft spent the early part of his life working for railroads. He returned to Montgomery County in the mid-1850s and worked as deputy sheriff as well studying to become a lawyer. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 10:30 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Hartranft was a colonel in the Pennsylvania Militia during 1860 and was responsible for much of the early mobilization of men to serve in the Civil War from Montgomery County in 1861. This view was taken facing east at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

He raised a 90-day regiment in Norristown when the war began, where he was colonel of the 4th Pennsylvania. He would win the Medal of Honor largely because the 90-day enlistment date meant that his regiment was not obligated to serve on July 21, 1861, for First Bull Run/First Manassas. His decision to stay with United States troops and fight at Bull Run would ultimately earn him the Medal of Honor. Hartranft’s grave is the first dark colored stone to the left of the obelisk. This view was taken facing west at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

Hartranft would spend the rest of the war commanding the 51st Pennsylvania, another regiment that he raised, this time on a three year enlistment. He would earn his Major Generalship from “The Battle of Fort Stedman” in March of 1865 during the Siege of Petersburg. This view was taken facing north at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

John Hartranft is seated in the center of his provost command at Fort McNair/the Washington Arsenal, where he served as provost marshal during the trial of the conspirators tried in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

A detail of the previous image. Hartranft’s prominent mustache can be seen in all the photographs of him we could find. This view was taken circa 1865.

Hartranft is on the gallows under the umbrella farthest to the right at the hanging of George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Paine, and Mary Surratt, for the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Hartranft is is the man reading in the center of this detail of the previous photograph. Hartranft read the prisoners their last rites before they were hanged. This view was taken on July 7, 1865.

Hartranft’s likeness can be found on the obelisk monument in his honor. The obelisk was placed after Hartranft’s death by the Pennsylvania National Guard. Hartranft became governor of Pennsylvania in his later years and was responsible for many improvements in how the Guard was organized. In his final years in the 1880s he was even appointed to command of the guard for a few years. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

The Hartranft burial markers can be a bit confusing. In this veterans headstone his name is given as “John P Hartranft” … This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

… while the original marker in the center of this picture has “John Frederick Hartranft.” Hartranft’s wife from 1854 until his death was Sallie Douglas Sebring. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.
Hartranft died in 1889. In a long career with many jobs, his last were as the Postmaster for Norristown and the Port Collector for Philadelphia. This view was taken facing east at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.

This sign provides more information about the Historical Society of Montgomery County. Thanks again to Gettysburg Daily reader Andre Mammino for providing these photographs. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 10:00 AM on Sunday, May 8, 2011, by Andre Mammino.


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