January 3, 1946 - May 24, 2007
For nearly a decade the 67th New York never suffered a single casualty in the ranks… until one Spring day when one of our Founding Fathers, John Ernest (a/k/a Corporal Josiah McCartney), passed away suddenly. The news was all the more tragic as we had seen him only a few days previous during our Living History encampment at Smithtown Historical Society.
John surprised us that early Sunday morning with his visit however we really should not have been... Although John had not donned the uniform in five years he still paid us a visit every season in his civilian clothes just to catch up with his old comrades. The demands of family and work forced John to leave the hobby behind however there was always that feeling that under the right circumstance and with a little encouragement, he would have accoutered up and fall in the ranks.
During this last visit, our Lieutenant managed to convince John to join us at Green-wood Cemetery in Brooklyn the following week for a Memorial Day. We were all looking forward to having John join us after such a long absence...
Sadly, Memorial Day 2007 was a black one for our regiment. We performed at Green-wood Cemetery, a bitter irony for us honoring the soldiers that fought and for those who kept their spirit alive in our modern age. John may not have been with us in body at Green-wood but hopefully he was with us in spirit.
John’s dedication to Living History was expressed with an unrivaled creativity that still remains with us today. An artist at heart, John's hands crafted wonderfully detailed articles that some of us still keep and use today. Anyone who has visited his home could see that it was a testament to a man that could not allow his creativity to remain trapped within his mind.
Yet for all his work in the hobby, and for his key role in founding the 67th NY, John's most important contribution was his companionship. For whatever the circumstances, John was loyal, helpful, and always willing to be a good friend. Those that knew John have suffered a staggering loss yet they will always have their memories of him to keep the spirit of his friendship alive.