59th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BIRTH OF PETER J. KECK
Town of St. Johnsville
Montgomery County, NY
I'll write a few lines from the fifty-ninth anniversary of the birth of Peter J. Keck at his residence, No. 134 North St., last night. Mr. Keck was the color bearer of the 115th Regiment in the Civil War, and his bravery and daring did much to win laurels for his regiment. He dearly loves the flag and has always desired to possess one of his own. His friends thought it would be an excellent thing to present him with a flag on the occasion of his birthday anniversary. His birthday anniversary has always been remembered in some way at his home, but the day had passed and there seemed to be nothing different than usual. He thought it had been forgotten for once he would surprise them about it, but as he reached the house he saw George Schermerhorn on the piazza, and being ushered in found that he was the one who was surprised instead of his family.
Some of your friends have concluded to mark this occasion by presenting you with such a memorial as would not only express their apparition of you as a man and fellow Christian, but also endear you to them and them to you by such a token as will bind the past and the present in unfolding loyalty.
"It has come to the ears of some, from those who know that in the battles fought long ago, you were the color sergeant, and that you filled that position with distinguished honor to yourself and to your dear old regiment. It was your cool bravery that carried the flag in advance of the marching heros. When others fell on the right and left under the rain of shore and shell, unflinchingly and bravely you advanced with standard and kept the colors flying at the front. While you were the standard bearer no one had to command the flag forward. It was in the lead whenever the action required it to be there. The honorable wounds which you carry in your body tell where you stood in the din of battle. Be pleased to accept this flag from the friends who are present."
Mr. Thomson stepped aside and Mrs. Keck appeared on the scene draped in a large and beautiful American Flag, and as she approached her husband those present clapped and cheered. To say Mr. Keck was surprised is putting it mildly. His feeling and emotions are simply indescribable. As he folded the flag and his wife in his arms and imprinted a kiss on her cheek, no doubt many pleasant memories of other days flitted through his mind.
"It is a greater flag than when you carried it's representative in the war of the past. We believe its stars are not more numerous than the stars with which the Master will deck your own brow; its white no purer than your own noble Christian character; its rod no brighter than your own title to the royal glories of heaven by the grace of Christ, our Common Lord and other brothers".
Mr. Keck was so pleased and overcome with emotion that he could hardly command language to respond. He said he appreciated the gift very much, that the fact of its being an American Flag made it of more value to him than it would be if it were something else, and worth ten thousand times as much.
Peter, from Oppenheim, was a member of the 115th Reg. as a Pvt., 3rd Corporal and 2nd Sergeant, then flag-bearer. He was wounded 4 times, one in left thigh, one in right thigh, one in breast and thumb.
This is handwritten on a piece of paper I found in some family papers. It was copied from an old newspaper. It is believed that Peter was a brother to my great-grandfather, Andrew.
Allyn Hess Perry
Thanksgiving Day 1998
7th Corp. Peter J. KECK is listed in the rosters of the 115th NY Volunteers, Company E, serving with Privates Andrew Keck and William H. H. Keck, all enlisting from Oppenheim.
Back to Town of St. Johnsville Page
Back to Montgomery County NY Military Page
Back to Montgomery County NYGenWeb
Created: November 1998
Copyright: © 1998 - 2015 Allyn Hess Perry
Digital interpretation of engraving Copyright © 1998 - 2015 M. Magill
All Rights Reserved