First Arlington Burial

William Henry Christman was the first soldier interred in Arlington National Cemetery.  He was born in 1843 in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, the second son of Mary Ann and Jonas Christman.  Christman, a 20-year old farm laborer left his family at Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County, and enlisted into the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry on March 25, 1864.  On two occasions, Christman sent home his army pay to his parents, who used it to buy 22 acres of untimbered land.  In a letter to his parents dated April 3, 1864, William asked whether his brother Timothy and sisters ---Anna Maria, Emeline Mary and Sophia ---were recovering from illness.  He ended his letter by apologizing: “So please excuse my poor riting (writing) for I have to rite (write) on my plait (plate) so I cant (can’t) rite (write) as good as I ate”.  On May 1, 1864, William was diagnosed with the measles and died on May 11, 1864.  His May 13th burial site is behind the wall (now demolished) to the left of Ord and Weitzel  Gate.

More information can be found here.