Jabez Hamlin McConkey
Posted By: S. Ferrall, IAGenWeb volunteer
Date: 7/22/2017 at 18:06:30
Born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Feb. 16, 1839; s/o Addison & Mary Deming (Hamlin); he resided at home until 1855, and went to live with an uncle at Marietta, Ohio.
In the fall of 1860, he went down the river on a trading trip as far as Louisiana, and there had charge of a steamer, which was confiscated by the confederates; and he started north, he was arrested and forced to enlist in the confederate army, from which he escaped, surrendered, and was confined 13 months in Camp Chase, Ohio.
His mother, writing of the affair, said: "O! those were dark days; we could not hear from him. I used to pray God that I might hear before I died, whether he died on the steamer, or had been forced into the confederate army and died in battle, or died in camp and had decent burial; but gave up all hope of seeing him again."
Concerning his release, she wrote: "My home was in Oberlin, 100 miles from Camp Chase. We were to have a sanitary fair at Cleveland, at which Gen. Garfield was to speak; where I met him by appointment to ask his assistance in obtaining my son's release. Among other things on that occasion the general said: "supposing we have reverses, and need these confederate prisoners for exchange; what shall we do if we let them go?"
I felt indignant, and insulted; said I, "Gen. Garfield, if you send my boy back into the confederate army, as loyal a man as ever lived, one whose relatives, not one of them, ever lived south of Mason and Dixon's line, and compel him to take up arms against his country, you need never expect the army to succeed, for God will curse you!"
He raised his hat and replied, "I will do all I can for your son's release." He went to see Secretary Stanton, who hesitated, and said that the prisoners who had been released, had gone back into the Confederate army, etc.
Finally, the sister of Mr. McConkey went to see President Lincoln, and showed him papers from the officers of Camp Chase. He asked if she had anything further. She replied that there was nothing except a file of papers which had laid in the War Dept. over a year asking his release. The good president wrote: "Release J.H. McConkley. Abraham Lincoln."
With joy she returned to Camp Chase to find her brother a free man.
He died, unmarried, Monona, Iowa, Oct. 3, 1867.
~source: The Hamlin Family A Genealogy of Captain Giles Hamlin of Middletown, CT. by Hon. H. Franklin Andrews; pg 323, Generation 7
Note: buried in the Monona City cemetery. For interested researchers, his military records are on Fold3
Clayton Biographies maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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