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Historian Jim Petrimoulx Obtains New Headstones for Civil War Veterans

Installation of 23 Monuments Sent By VA Now Underway at Pine Ridge Cemetery

October 12, 2008       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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"Captain" Gary Batzlaff, a Civil War re-enactor dressed as a member of President Lincoln's personal staff, poses at the grave site of the Birney family in Historic Pine Ridge Cemetery as Dan Staudacher of The Bay City Times shoots pictures for a story on the State Theater Ghost Tour Oct. 25 as the theater's manager Mike Bacigalupo and Ghost Tour director Mary Donnelly look on.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

Jim Petrimoulx is a persistent historian.

After several tries, he found his way through bureaucratic red tape at the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C. in his efforts to replace deteriorating headstones of Civil War veterans.

"It took a while but we finally found the right person, and 23 of the stones arrived last week," said Mr. Petrimoulx, an active member of the Seventh Michigan Cavalry Civil War Round Table.

The retired General Motors employee is a dedicated researcher on Bay County history and has uncovered several key aspects about local soldiers.

But all local historians agree the receipt of new headstones for the Civil War vets is a major breakthrough.

Not only will the 23 headstones in the initial batch be replaced, another 25-30 will be applied for and Mr. Petrimoulx said the operators of Calvary Cemetery and other cemeteries have decided to make application to the VA for replacement of stones for vets buried in those sites.

The new headstones were shipped to the Wright Gregory Monument Works, 221 Ridge Road. Owner Tom Moultane is assisting Mr. Petrimoulx and the Friends of Historic Pine Ridge Cemetery with the headstone replacement project.

Historian Jim Petrimoulx smiles as he marks headstones of Civil War veterans for replacement at Pine Ridge Cemetery.
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)

The stones are 42 inches long, 14 inches wide and three and a quarter inches thick. They weigh 200 pounds each.

The VA has a policy of replacing stones that are deteriorated to the point that the names cannot be seen clearly. Old stones must be destroyed.

Perhaps the most prominent soldier's stone that will be replaced in Pine Ridge is that of Andrew Walton, a member of the famed Berdan's Sharpshooters unit. Walton came to Bay City after the war and was a lumber inspector. Local historians active in archaeological and historical research at Pine Ridge include Alan Flood, Marv Kusmierz, Jerry Pergande, Dee Dee Wacksman, Ron Bloomfield, Eric Jylha and Dave Rogers.

Tom Moultane, owner of Wright Gregory Monument Works, checks the shipment of replacement headstones for Civil War veterans from the Veterans Administration
(MyBayCity Photo by Dave Rogers)


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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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