About stanprager

Book nerd, computer geek, rock music fan, dogmatic skeptic.

Cleaning George W. Gould’s Gravestone


AVEM0937Before (L.) and After (R.) … Today, July 15, 2019,  I made the long drive to Paxton, MA with the express purpose of cleaning the gravestone of my adopted Civil War soldier, Private George W. Gould.  I purchased a professional conservation kit, studied up a bit, and then spent 1 1/2 hours cleaning and scrubbing the stone. The results are quite extraordinary!
When I arrived I was pleased to see that the flag I had placed on Memorial Day was still there, along with the laminated tag I had attached to it referencing this project that includes a link to this website.


On my last visit, I noticed how bad the stone looked: dirty, discolored and marred with lichen and other growths.


I came equipped with a professional conservation cleaning kit that I had purchased, which was recommended to me by someone who regularly tends to soldiers’ graves.  I also brought along several gallons of water. I read the instructions prepared by a conservator carefully, watched a helpful video, and set off on a mission to carefully clean this stone.


While the final phase of cleaning involves utilizing a biologic called D/2, a safe biodegradable liquid that removes stains from mold, algae, mildew, lichens and air pollutants, most of the process consists of spraying water on the stone and scrubbing. Lots of scrubbing …

Scrubbing the Stone

… lots and lots of scrubbing 

IMG_2357IMG_2358It is tedious work, to some degree, but highly rewarding. And even exciting: gradually, the identifying marks of the original stonecutter became visible at the lower right hand corner of the stone!  This was fully obscured prior to clean. 


It turned out to be a lot of hard work, but the final result was quite impressive when compared to the original state of the stone!


The difference is especially apparent when juxtaposed with the nearby grave of Gould’s daughter, Ada, who died of illness in an orphanage when she was only seventeen years old. I plan to return and clean her gravestone next . . .


My work today is intended as a tribute and a salute to Private George W. Gould, who died at Cold Harbor in 1864 to save the Union and end human chattel slavery.


Wreaths Across America 2018

As part of my commitment to Wreaths Across America 2018, I took a 75 minute drive to Paxton MA to lay a wreath on the grave of my adopted Civil War soldier, Pvt. George W. Gould, who sacrificed his life at the bloody battle of Cold Harbor in 1864 to save the Union and end human chattel slavery. There is a tag on the wreath that tells his story and links to the transcribed Civil War correspondence of Pvt. Gould on this website: https://resurrectinglostvoices.com/george-w-gould-letters/ 🇺🇸 🇺🇸

I am gratified to see that flags I placed on his grave on Memorial Day & Veterans Day are still in place. Huzzah Pvt. Gould!



Veterans Day 2018

On Veterans Day, I drove 75 minutes to Paxton MA to put a flag on the grave of George W. Gould, the Civil War soldier who I have adopted. Pvt. Gould was a true American hero who died in 1864 at the bloody battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia to save the Union and end human chattel slavery. I am humbled by his sacrifice. I installed another flag on his grave, saluted and sang stanzas from the Star Spangled Banner and John Brown’s Body, then thanked him for giving his life so that this nation can still thrive. I feel that by adopting one soldier I can honor all soldiers.  It was wonderful to find that the flag I placed on Memorial Day was still in the ground!

Gould Veterans Day 2018

Memorial Day 2018

Once again, this time for Memorial Day 2018, I made the hour and a quarter drive up to Paxton MA to put another flag on the grave of Private George W. Gould, an ordinary soldier who who gave his life on the field of honor at Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864 to save the Union and end human chattel slavery.  By this act, I also honor all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Rest easy, Private Gould … we thank you for your sacrifice …

Honoring Private George W. Gould: Wreaths Across America 2017

Today, December 16, 2017, as my own contribution to Wreaths Across America, I drove an hour and a half to Paxton MA to put a wreath on the grave of Private George W. Gould, an ordinary soldier who died at Cold Harbor in 1864 to save the Union and end human chattel slavery. The tag on the edge of the ribbon has his story and a link to this website that I created to host his Civil War letters, in the hopes that someone will come across it and his voice will speak to us again.

It was a frigid day as I trudged through the snow-covered cemetery to lay the wreath. In addition to the GAR flag, the little flag I added on Veterans Day was still in place. Light snow began to fall as placed the wreath. I sang the Star-Spangled Banner in a hushed voice, saluted Private Gould, and thanked him for his service. There would be no United States 🇺🇸 today if it were not for men like Private Gould who sacrificed everything for us.  #wreathsacrossamerica2017



Gould Tag Card2