Resting Place of Veterans
Evergreen Cemetery is a plot of south of the Orange County Courthouse, off Border and Jackson street.
The four gates are off Jackson, and a turn into the first gate leads into the oldest part of the cemetery.
The oldest marked grave in the cemetery is Margaret Ann Ochiltree from 1855. It is possible that burials in the cemetery began as early as the 1840s, but no marked graves earlier than 1855 have ever been found.
Given the age of the cemetery, it is no surprise that veterans of the Civil War are buried in Evergreen.
Each year the older sections of the cemetery have small Confederate Battle Flags placed on the known graves of Confederate veterans. The daughters of the Confederacy and the Sons of Confederate Veterans place nearly 100 of the flags. The red, white and blue of the flags contrast with the green grass and serve as a reminder of men who fought more than 140 years ago.
Standing out among the Civil War monuments is the Monument to the Confederate Unknown. Five Confederate soldiers buried there died from disease at a nearby encampment. They were buried and the records of their names were lost. The monument was erected to their memory in the 1920s.
The cemetery also has a few graves of veterans of the Spanish-American War.
In 1917, America entered World War I. Men from Orange enlisted and became Company H of the 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Division. These men went to France and fought in two major campaigns.
Most of these men returned to Orange and lived full lives and raised families. Some of them are buried in Evergreen. Two men, William “Bill” Hicks and Charlie Mosier are near each other.
All together, 85 marked graves in Evergreen show the deceased were World War I veterans
Many men from World War II are buried in Evergreen. They represent all branches of the military and all ranks. One grave is that of Carl Godwin.
Godwin was from West Orange and died in Europe in July 1944. The Carl Godwin auditorium on the campus of the old West Orange schools is named in his memory. He was a member of the 36th Infantry Division.
The 36th was formed in World War I and continued a long and proud history.
Veterans from other wars of the 20th Century are buried in the newer sections of Evergreen.
The grave markers of the veterans are easy to find. They are either a flat or an upright design with basically the same format.
They have the veteran’s name, birth and death dates, home state, rank and branch of service. They may be either white marble, gray granite or bronze. Protestant and Catholic markers have a cross at the top. Markers for the Jewish faith have a Star of David.
The markers are furnished by the Veterans Administration upon the family’s request and proof of service of the veteran.
May 17 is Armed Forces Day and May 26 is Memorial Day. This would be a good time to walk through Evergreen Cemetery and find the graves of some of these veterans and reflect on what they have meant to our country.
Evergreen is also a place to find a lot of local history about Orange. Numerous graves have historical markers giving information about the person buried there and how he or she contributed to the history of Orange.
As you walk about you may also recognize many names from Orange’s history.
The cemetery is accessible through the Jackson Street gates during daylight hours.