GREEN RIVER — Members of the High Desert Chapter NSDAR continue working to obtain gravestones for veterans who have no marker and medallions for veterans who have a civilian marker.
Capt. James Stillman’s Veteran’s Affairs gravestone was recently placed just in time for Memorial Day 2022 in the Veteran’s section J along with other Civil War veterans, including Tom Whitmore, the namesake of American Legion Post 28 in Green River.
In addition to a new gravestone, he also received a personalized wreath that was made by Judith Killian of their Auxiliary and State Chaplain. Killian started the wreath laying ceremony with a prayer. The wreath includes an 1865 American flag, the California flag of the time he enlisted, California poppies, the Wyoming flag and red, white and blue roses.
The ceremony also included a flag presentation from he Honor Guard for American Legion Posts 28 and 24 and VFW Post 2321. The flag detail included Jim Shoemaker, Doug Uhrig, Anita Shoemaker, Bill Stapleton, Rob Smith, William Neely and Sherry Bushman. The rifle squad included Tom Niemiec, Tony Niemiec, Brian Carpenter and bugler Leonard Merrel. The ceremony was conducted by American Legion Post 28 Commander Shane Harris.
Speakers included Jon Lane, South Pass Historic Site curator, Aidan Brady of the Sweetwater Historical Museum and Betty Blackwell of
the High Desert Chapter NSDAR. Capt. Stillman served as a Justice of the Peace in South Pass living there from 1867 to 1875 when he moved to Green River City and was again a Justice of the Peace. Jonita Sommers of Pinedale, author and western Wyoming historian, was recognized for her research on Capt. Stillman and his family.
His military service began in the late 1850’s in two California militia units, Sutter Rifles and Marion Rifles in Sacramento and San Francisco,
California. He was commissioned into the 3rd California Volunteer Infantry in 1861 as a 1st Lt. and was promoted to Captain in 1863. His duties included Post and Regimental Adjutant, Post Commanders at Fort Ruby, Nevada Territory and Camp Connor, Idaho Territory and Adjutant at Camp Douglas as well as Judge Advocate. He was mustered out in 1865.
Placement of his VA gravestone is part of a larger historic preservation project by the High Desert Chapter to obtain gravestones for veterans
who have no marker and medallions for veterans who have a civilian marker. The project includes cemeteries in Rock Springs, Lyman, and
Green River, as well as a few at Fort Bridger and Farson. Over 100 markers or medallions have been placed since 2019. There are 170 veterans
in the Riverview Cemetery who appear to be eligible for a medallion.