On January 22nd, 1899, a young nurse knocked on the door to the manager’s office at the Veterans Home and stepped inside. She had a clipboard in her hand and set it down on the desk.
“Good morning, sir. Just one signature this morning. A Garrison.”
General Barret was immersed in a stack of paperwork and didn’t look up at the nurse. He just held out his hand.
“Can you believe they’re going to change the name of this town to Sawtelle? “ he mumbled.
The nurse took the clipboard off the desk in front of him and placed it in his hand. He absent-mindedly put his signature next to the name without reading it.
“Thank you, sir. He’d only been here a month. And, no sir, I don’t care for that name at all. I think Barrett is much nicer,” she said and turned to leave.
Before she closed the door behind her, General Barrett looked up.
“What did you say his name was?”
The nurse stuck her head back inside the office and looked back down at the clipboard.
“Garrison. John Garrison. Second Colorado Cavalry. Went in his sleep yesterday evening. Anything else, sir?”
General Barrett stared at the door for a minute without moving.
“Sir?” the nurse asked.
“No ... nothing else. See he gets a good burial,” he said and turned on his chair to look out the window.
“Well, you finally get some rest, Mr. Johnson ...” he whispered.
Sailor, scout, soldier, gold-miner, hunter, trapper, moonshiner, constable, and widower. Mountain man. The Indians called him “Dapiek Absaroka” – Crow Killer. Others, “Liver Eater.”
When the body of Jeremiah Johnson was moved from Sawtelle National Cemetary 75 years later and reburied in Cody, Wyoming, before a crowd of two thousand, Robert Redford was one of the pall-bearers.