Camp 1804 genealogist Bill Lee speaking.
This was last Saturday on April 25, at Calvary Cemetery on Belmont Avenue, Fresno, California.
Jerry Ryan and his father were railroad builders in Houston, Texas. Before the Civil War they built the railroad across Cuba. Before the Civil War he married in Texas, and When Texas seceded in 1861, Jerry joined Waul’s Texas Legion. Waul’s became a trans-Mississippi unit in the Army of Tennessee, as did many regiments from Arkansas, Louisiana and other Texas regiments.
Early in the war Jerry was captured at the battle called Shiloh, and sent to Rock Island, the Union prisoner camp, Illinois. He was part of a prisoner exchange and either returned to Texas or returned to another Confederate unit. After the war he continued railroad work, and was working on railroad in Oregon. He came to Fresno to build the railroad there in 1873. Ryan was first section foreman for the Southern Pacific in this locality and by his industry and shrewdness soon accumulated enough money to start him in the hotel business.
In 1874 he ceased the railroad business and remained in Fresno. He was most likely a member of the Price Camp of Confederate Veterans, as other notable members were Doctor Muex, Doctor Henry Hopkins, and others. One other was a Confederate he had met at Rock Island, Illinois and exchanged with him. That was Fresno’s first County Sheriff, J. D. Collins. They became life-long friends and died a year apart, Ryan in 1909, Collins in 1910.
The memorial was hosted by the Sons of Confederate Veterans local General Tyree Harris Bell Camp #1804. General Bell probably knew Collins and Ryan also, as he farmed in what is now Clovis and Sanger, and is buried at Bethel Cemetery in Sanger. The Sons of Confederate Veterans genealogical organization is dedicated to preserving the memory of Confederates and their history.
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