Boots, Thomas L. 1840-1932
Posted By: Judy Bender Moyna (email)
Date: 1/19/2004 at 08:29:31
Oelwein’s Last Civil War Veteran Is Dead
Thomas L. Boots, 92, only Civil war veteran living in Oelwein, died Wednesday morning at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Fred White. Funeral services were held Friday afternoon.
Boots was one of twelve children, born at Brighton England on Aug. 26, 1840. He came to
Saratoga, N. Y., when 6 years old. After his parents died he became a seaman on the Great Lakes
and he spent the winter of 1860 in the West Indies.
He enlisted in the Union navy at Chicago, Oct. 1, 1861, and was placed on the iron-clad Essex
which he helped take down the Mississippi river. When the boat was blown up after thirty-nine
minutes of fighting, Boots was thrown upside down against a gun but escaped uninjured.
Always in the thick of the fray, he volunteered at Island No. 10 to spike the enemy’s batteries. Seven thousand prisoners were taken there. When the Mississippi, a sail and steam boat, the largest warship in the battle, started to burn, he was one of the men who lifted Lieut. George Dewey, later admiral, and five other seamen from a piece of wreckage.
The war left him a physical wreck, suffering from chronic inflammation of the throat. He did what
work he could until 1868 and then moved to Elkader, Iowa. In 1886 he began farming near
Arlington and in 1902 he retired and went to Stanley where he lived until he came to Oelwein.
He leaves his widow and ten children. One son, Fred J. Boots, well-known aviator, was killed in an accident at Hartford, Conn., Aug. 29, 1928.
-source: Clayton County Register/Journal, 31 Aug 1932
Clayton Obituaries maintained by Sharyl Ferrall.
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