A hike through the fall colors on the northern end of Whitehall brings you to the foundation of a homestead that turned out several generations of veterans.
One of them is currently working to make sure that another’s burial site, also located at the homestead, is proper for someone who served their country.
“When I learned about him, I felt a connection to him,” said Gary Rodd as he overlooked the gravesite of his multiple-great uncle, Solomon. “I come from the line of Joseph Rodd, who was Solomon’s brother, so he is a direct uncle to me and from what I have learned about him, we are quite alike. I feel an emotional connection to this person. He was a character, and somehow I feel the personality.”
Like Solomon, Gary also served his country. While Solomon and brothers Andrew and Alexander were members of the Union Navy during the Civil War, Gary and his brother Robert served as members of the Marines in Viet Nam.
Gary said he was proud to learn about the tradition that he and his brother had continued that he had not known before.
“Andrew, Solomon and Alexander all served in the Civil War, and there may have been even more members of the family in the war,” said Gary. “In the family line, there are also veterans from World War I, two from World War II and at least one from Korea, and then my brother and I.”
While the three sons of Canadian immigrant Pierre Solomon Rodd to Whitehall were the first veterans who were documented in the family, Gary Rodd said that there may have been even more who served before the Civil War.
“We think that they (Andrew, Alexander and Solomon) were the first in our line of veterans, but there may have been members of the family who fought as far back as the Revolutionary War since there were a number of French who came down to fight for the rebellion.”
The Rodd’s continued in Whitehall on their homestead, where most are currently buried. Gary Rodd said that when he first came upon his ancestors’ home, it was in good condition.
“I first brought my wife, Charlee, up here 20-something years ago,” said Rodd. “The property was beautifully maintained then, and I don’t know if the person who owned the neighboring property died or just stopped taking care of it, but it went into disrepair.”
Rodd said that when he came to the site about eight years ago, he was unable to find the marker of Solomon.
“It was virtually unseen,” said Rodd. “The stone was buried in clay and the base for the stone was completely buried by the clay.”
Rodd said that with the help of his wife, he was able to find both the gravestone and the foundation for the Rodd homestead.
“I came up here twice with a bunch of people looking for the sites,” said Rodd. “After one trip, I was frustrated because I could not find the marker and she told me that it was just over in the corner under the big pine tree. Another time, after having a large group look for the foundation, I went up with my wife and it was like she was drawn to it. The next thing we knew, she was standing right in the middle of the foundation.”
Now, Rodd is working to reclaim the gravesite of Solomon by creating a new area to secure the base of the stone and cleaning and replacing the stone.
“I want him to have a gravesite that is proper for a veteran,” said Rodd. “We veterans have to watch out for each other, especially when we are family.”
Rodd said that he has enlisted the help of the Whitehall American Legion to help with the repair and re-dedication of the site.
“They said that they might be able to get a Civil War re-enactment group to come up and do the re-dedication, which would be great,” said Rodd. “I thought that this was a nice thing for the Legion to get involved with in honoring a local Civil War veteran.”