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John Hiram Muselman


Posted By: Kent Transier (email)
Date: 6/4/2013 at 21:02:23

The following biography comes from
research by the editor and from a
journal written by the subject's
daughter, Daisy (Muselman) Barnes.

Special thanks to Colleen Peterson
for submitting the Daisy Barnes
family history narrative.

John Hiram Muselman is a somewhat unique individual as he is the only known soldier who resided in Madison County and served in both the Confederate Army and the Union Army. He was born in Page County, Virginia, 05 January 1845, son of Joseph and Louisa Eliza (Edwards) Muselman.

On 26 June 1861, at the age of 16, he enlisted as a Private in Company D, 60th Virginia Infantry, and served for a little over two years. On 14 April 1863, he was captured as a deserter by the Union Army at Fayetteville, Virginia and held captive at Charleston, West Virginia, before being released to enlist, at Columbus, Ohio on 28 May 1863, in the 22nd Ohio Light Artillery Battery. Again, during his service he was captured, this time by the Confederate Army. As he tells it, he was on a gunboat on a river when the boat was blown up. He was wounded in the foot and ended up in the river where the cold water staunched his bleeding and may have saved his life. When captured, he was held in Confederate prisons at Belle Isle, Libby and Andersonville. During his confinement by the Confederates, he used the alias John Rinehart, fearing discovery as a deserter if he used his real name. He participated in a prisoner exchange on 01 Apr 1865 and was mustered out on 22 May 1865 at Columbus, Ohio.

He never talked much about his Virginia family but he did say he was home on furlough once, (probably the only time) and as he was leaving, his sister was bidding him goodbye and they saw a train in the sky (yes they saw things in those days too) and his sister said that it was a sign that she would never see him again - which proved to be true. Due to the fact that the North won the war and that he was eventually on the winning side - perhaps that was some compensation for never seeing his family again.

Eight months after mustering out of the Union Army, on 08 January 1866, he married Nancy Armstrong in Franklin County, Ohio, probably in the city of Columbus. They had 3 children, Amanda born in Ohio, and Henry Amos and Joseph L., born in Iowa.. They came to Iowa in 1867 and were residing in Squaw Township, Warren County. There is no record of their journey from Columbus to Warren County.

Nancy died on 11 April 1872 at St. Charles, Iowa and on 17 March 1873, John married Clara Trotter and 3 children were born to them, John McLain, Jennie May, and Myrtle Alice. Clara passed away on Valentine's Day in 1882 and on 10 April 1883, John married his third and final wife, Frances Rebecca Young. To them were born seven children, Tyler Elmer, Rufus Elza, Benjamin Harrison, Sarah Adaline, Ralph Isaiah, Daisy L, and another who died in infancy, possibly named Clara.

John had very little education but was a hard worker. He used to buy a plot of timber and clear it off and would make stove wood or fence posts. Daughter Daisy used to go to the timber with him and they rode home on the big load of "pole" wood. She couldn’t stand to see the horses pull so when they came to a hill she would get off and push which she knew helped a lot. If John had nothing else to do he would re-pile the stove wood, or change ends on the fence posts he had leaning against the trees, or he would tear out a fence and rebuild it. He couldn’t be still on Sundays so he would go out in the middle of the corn field and hoe "where no one could see him". John was a drinker, which was not to his credit, but he was a periodic church worker, loved to take part in revival services, and he was good hearted as could be...when he wanted to be. He liked to talk about the fights he had when he lived over around St. Mary’s in Warren County. He had a sense of humor too. He used to kid around and often said, when talking about his family "that he had 13 children that he knew of." This was probably said to embarrass his wife, Rebecca, as she was very prim and shy about such sayings.

Depending on his year of birth, John lived to the ripe old age of about 80 and passed away at Truro Iowa on 16 March 1923 after a few weeks of illness. He is buried in the Young Cemetery at Truro.

Editor's note: Although this article gives his year of birth as 1845 and his gravestone appears to say 1846, he was listed in the 1850 census as age 8 and in the 1860 census as age 16. It is very likely that his year of birth is 1843 and possibly 1842.


Madison Biographies maintained by Kent Transier.
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