Jewett Williams was a veteran from the Civil War who served in the 20th Maine Regiment. It was in 1922 that Williams died at an Oregon insane asylum.
Along with many other his ashes were cremated, stored, and forgotten. Oregon State Hospital officials have recently handed over Williams’s ashes to a saintly group of military veterans on motorcycles so they can go on a trip across the country, ultimately returning Williams to his home.
Oregan Senate President Peter Courtney announced, during a ceremony in his honor,
“He was a son, a brother, a husband and a father. At the end of his life, however, he was alone and institutionalized here…When he died, nobody came. Nobody came to honor him. Nobody came to take him home. Nobody came. Until today.”
The biker group is known as the Patriot Guard Riders. The group is known for attending funerals of U.S. military veterans, police officers, and firefighters. The group admits it is an honor to escort Williams’s ashes to their final resting place.
After his time in service, Williams quickly got married and then abruptly divorced. He remarried and moved to Minnesota. The couple’s first child passed away at only 19 months old however they went on to have five more children. It was after the family moved to Washington state that Williams and his wife separated.
Completely alone, Williams was admitted to the Oregan State Hospital for the Insane in Salem where he died at 78-years-old as the result of cerebral arteriosclerosis.
His remains are set to arrive in Maine on August 22nd. A ceremony will be held for Williams and he will be buried with military honors in the Togus National Cemetery. One of the many veterans buried at Togus was actually an individual that was a part of Williams’ Company during his time in service.
“He will rejoin his comrades-in-arms in Maine,” said Greg Roberts, the superintendent of Oregon State Hospital.