for immediate release
Coast-to-coast family ties boost Pa. Gettysburg Monuments Project
HARRISBURG, Mar. 2 - On July 2, 1863, Pvt. Frederick Thate of Company B of the 98th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry charged with his regiment into the area known as the "Valley of Death" on the second day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Thate survived the battle and 138 years later his descendants are helping to ensure that the monuments to Thate and his comrades on the Gettysburg battlefield remain standing for generations to come as testimony to their courage and sacrifice.
In late February, state Rep. Harry Readshaw, spearhead of the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project, received a letter and a check for $500 to the Monuments Project from Harry A. Thaete III, a descendant of Frederick Thate.
"Thank you for your efforts to protect these monuments for future generations," wrote Thaete. "I have put out an appeal to my family members to help in this endeavor."
Just days later, Readshaw received a second letter, this one from Dr. F. Leland Thaete of Pittsburgh, along with another $500 donation. Dr. Thaete is a great grandson of Frederick Thate.
There are two monuments to the 98th PVI on the battlefield, one where they first formed "line of battle" before advancing. The second is on the J. Weikert Farm where they took position following their advance. The donations from the Thaetes were directed to the endowment fund for future preservation of the 98th PVI regiment monument on the Weikert Farm.
"It is especially rewarding when descendants of the Pennsylvanians at Gettysburg get involved in our project," said Readshaw, "no matter how large or modest their contribution. "Since almost all the monuments were put up by the veterans who survived the battle, they would be pleased that 138 years later, their descendants still recognize and honor them for what they did at Gettysburg."
With funding for current monument repairs and maintenance needs under their belts, Readshaw's Raiders, as the Monument Project supporters have been dubbed, are now targeting perpetual trust endowments to cover future preservation anticipated in the decades to come. The endowment trust goal is $431,000. Readshaw's Raiders have already pulled in well over $110,000.
On April 21, the project will hold its second annual Monument Challenge 5-K Run/Walk at the historic Daniel Lady Farm in Gettysburg.
Readshaw and the Pennsylvania Gettysburg Monuments Project may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone, 717-783-0411.
Updated: March 11, 2001
Copyright: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
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