"Finding Jimmy Clader"
By Bob Doerr
On a cool spring Saturday afternoon as I walked through the Union and West End Cemetery at 10th and Chew Streets in Allentown I was reading the tombstones of some of the 700 or so Union Soldiers of the Civil War buried there. As a Civil War reenactor in Co. C 46th Pa Vol. Infantry I was most interested in finding someone from that unit.
After being there about 1 hour I was approached by a gentlemen by the name of Don Hagenauer. He asked if I were looking for anyone in particular. I replied "no, only someone from the 46th. He then called his wife Janet who was sitting in their truck and asked if she had anyone from that unit in her records. (Both Don and Janet are members of the cemetery association board and Janet is the cemetery historian). She replied "no" but if I were to give her my name and address she would check her records at home and get back to me. Lo and behold she had infomation on a Pvt. James L. Cladder, Co. C of the 46th. At the young age of 19 years, about 1 year and 1 month from the date of enlistment James was killed at the Battle of Antietam in Sharpsburg, Maryland on September 17, 1862. The day of this battle would go down as the bloodiest day of the Civil War with over 26,000 men killed or wounded.
The information that I received from Don and Janet was the bond that started a fine friendship. After checking veterans graves registration records for Lehigh County Janet also found that there was a record of a headstone on James Clader's grave but no stone of any kind was visible on the Clader family plot. Janet later probed the family plot with a long screwdriver but found nothing. Working as a team, we fabricated a 5 foot probe and on our next visit to the cemetery we used that probe on a rough grid pattern and within a few short minutes we located a tombstone about 6 to 8 inches below the surface. Thinking this was the tombstone of James , with great excitement we unearthed the tombstone of James' mother, Katharine. Although the stone had been broken off near the bottom, the engraving was rather clear. Katharine was born Oct. 11, 1821 and died June 16, 1869. Next to Katharine's stone we again probed the area and found another stone the same 6 to 8 inches below the surface. The engraving on the second stone is very hard to read but the name Clader is clear. We believe it is a child's stone as it is much smaller and has a sleeping lamb engraved on the top. The next stone we found was that of James. All the engravings are very clear. James Lewis Clader, son of Ephraim & Katharine Clader, Born July 24, 1843. Member of Co. C 46th Reg P.V.I. Fell at Antietam Sept 17, 1862; age 19 years 1 month and 23 days. This stone was also broken near the base.
Since the discovery and unearthing of the stones, Don and I have remounted James' stone on the original base and used metal supports to hold it in place. The child's stone has been set upright. Katharine's stone had to have a new base made and a metal frame fabricated to suppot it. All this work was done by Don and me under the watchful eye of Janet (supervisor & cemetery historian). As noted in the photos below, a military bronze plaque has since been ordered and is now installed on James' grave.