‘He was remembered all along’: Family finds Civil War veteran’s gravesite

SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. — As people throughout Dane County gathered this weekend to remember those who sacrificed everything for this country, one local family spent time honoring a long-lost relative who they found out actually served in America’s deadliest war.

After more than a decade of digging, the Mautz family’s search for connections to the past came to a close thanks to years of genealogy work.

“It was a surprise to find him here, yeah,” Lisa Imhoff said after finding her husband Dave’s great-great-grandfather William Henry Gilbert — a Civil War veteran — was buried at a Sun Prairie cemetery.

Bill Mautz, one of Gilbert’s great-great-grandsons, said learning about Gilbert’s death helped paint a picture of his life.

“It’s really a reward to have Lisa and Dave research this information and bring it forward for us,” Mautz said.

Mautz, Imhoff and other family and friends gathered Sunday afternoon to hold a remembrance ceremony at William Henry Gilbert’s gravesite. Despite the family’s recent discovery, Imhoff said Gilbert’s grave was always decorated with an American flag for his service in the Civil War.

Finally finding Gilbert’s grave brought a sense of closure to Mautz, who said his mother had wanted to know where he was buried.

“It’s said that we die three times: The first time when our body ceases to function; the second time is when our body is put in the grave,” Imhoff said. The third, she added, is the last time someone says our name.

“He was remembered,” Imhoff said. “He was remembered all along.”