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DEAL, James H. (1842-1930)


Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 9/2/2020 at 16:37:32

James H. Deal
(October 5, 1842 – March 12, 1930)

Ida County Pioneer Record, Ida Grove, Iowa, Thurs., Mar 13, 1930, p.1
Was Surviving Member G.A.R.
Death Comes to James Deal Wednesday Morning in His 88th Year
Death has proven victor in the last brave fight waged by James W. Deal, Ida Grove’s surviving member of the old Matthew Gray G. A. R. post, and the last Civil War veteran, but one living in this city. For four months, Mr. Deal has been almost at death’s door, but day after day went by and still Mr. Deal’s courageous spirit held out and he emerged from every sinking spell, with a tenacious hold on life. Finally after midnight Tuesday, he seemed unable to rally and his condition of coma terminated peacefully in death at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 12. Mr. Deal’s last illness dates as far back as September 1928 when his trouble was diagnosed as pernicious aenemia. He had a serious sick spell in January 1929, but improved to the extent that he was enabled to visit his old haunts in his son’s store and even to enjoy a few of his favorite fishing trips in the summer. Late in August, he had another relapse and since that time, he has been confined to his bed. He was able to receive his family and friends until about a month ago, when it became increasingly difficult to carry on a conversation or to recognize those about him.
Mr. Deal was born October 5, 1842 near Terre Haute, Indiana and lived to the ripe age of 87 years, 5 months and 7 days. In March 1862 he enlisted at Boone, Iowa, in Company K, Sixteenth Iowa Infantry and his first battle was on the bloody field of Shiloh. He belonged to Shermans’ army and was in engagements around Vicksburg. On September 19, 1862, he took part in the hard fought battle of Iuka, Mississippi and had his leg broken below the knee by a minie ball. Twenty-two pieces of bone were taken from the wound and for seven months he was unable to walk, then he got up and was about, with the aid of a crutch. Late in 1863 he went to Jefferson Barracks near St. Louis and attempted to re-enlist but the military authorities gave him an honorable discharge and sent him home. After the war, he became interested in the construction work on the Union Pacific railway, then building westward from Omaha. In 1866 he went to Cheyenne, at that time the terminus of the transcontinental line, hiring out as a teamster under General Casement, the government contractor. He hauled freight and supplies from the railhead to the construction camp. He followed this business for eighteen months, until the Union Pacific was built into Ogden, where it joined the line being built eastward from California. He then received a pass to San Francisco. Mr. Deal got the western gold fever like many of his companions and prospected over parts of California and Nevada, working in the smelters at White Pine, Nevada. After making a little stake, he and his partner sunk a shaft nearby and thought they would soon be rich. Instead they would soon be rich. Instead they used up all their funds and found no good ore. For over four years, he lived out of doors, sleeping out in a wagon, or under it and part of the time in a dugout. He returned to Iowa in 1870. The following year he was married at Boone to Mary Parks, whose death occurred in Ida Grove November 18, 1913. They came to Ida County in 1879 and he and George Porter at first ran a farm for the latter’s father. Six years later, he bought his farm in Hayes Township, where he lived until about eighteen years ago, when they moved into Ida Grove. Mr. Deal is survived by six children, eighteen grandchildren and seven great grandchildren. One daughter, Hattie, died years ago in her young womanhood. The surviving children are: Alma Deal at home; Stella Gibson of Des Moines; Mary Alexander Allen of Blomkest, Minn.; Edgar Deal of Ida Grove; Mrs. Edna Tillotsen of Battle Creek; Howard Deal of Ida Grove. Mr. Deal was the last surviving member of the local Grand Army post. A month before his death, Dr. G. C. Moorehead carried the venerable flag that had belonged to the post, to Mr. Deal’s bedroom, where he was able to gaze upon its stars and stripes lovingly during the lonely last hours. Mr. Deal at one time ascribed his long life to his refusal to worry, his love of fishing and his efforts to take care of himself. He was fond of a joke and a story and was never happier than when surrounded by a group of his friends and engaging with them in some badinage or other. He was unselfish in his devotion to a friend and will be remembered for many favors conferred upon others. Fond of a “strap” he would more quickly avenge an affront to a friend than himself. The funeral of Mr. Deal will be held at the Armory in Ida Grove at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 14, and will be in charge of the American Legion and the Odd Fellows, Mr. Deal being a member of the latter body. Rev. George W. Dunn will make the address at the Armory and Rev. C. A. VanGriethuysen at the cemetery. Mr. Deal will be given a military funeral, with a firing squad and bugler officiating at the cemetery. During the funeral, the Ida Grove stores will remain closed.


Ida Obituaries maintained by Tonja Winekauf.
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