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Ryan, Edward (1846-1941)


Posted By: Linda Linn (email)
Date: 10/19/2012 at 12:55:42

Emmetsburg Democrat
May 15, 1941
Page 1
Death Calls
Last Civil
War Soldier
Edward Ryan, 95,
Died in Emmetsburg on
Saturday. Funeral
Was Held Monday.
Story of His Life.
Edward Ryan, 95, the last of the Civil War veterans of Palo Alto county, died at his home in this city Saturday morning. He had been failing rapidly in health during the past year and a half. Mr. Ryan was also one of Palo Alto county's pioneer citizens.

The funeral was held Monday morning. A requiem high Mass was celebrated in the Assumption church at 9 o'clock with the pastor, Very
Rev. W. F. Mason, officiating. Following the services Father Mason delivered an impressive sermon in which he recalled important events and tendencies during the past 100 years, rnost of which Mr. Ryan witnessed. He spoke highly of the hardiness, the courage many sacrifices made by men and women to build such a country as ours and he regretted that many of their highest ideals
have since been sacrificed in order to establish questionable values and codes of conduct.

Interment was in St. John's cemetery, with the Foy Funeral Home.in charge of arrangements. The pall bearers were M. W. Brennan,
Mike Neibauer, P. C. Jackman, J. J. Steil, Dave Joynt and Nick Martini.

Edward Ryan was bom in the county of Tipperary, Ireland, 95 years ago. When he was a child his parents and family emigrated to America, locating near Portage, Wis. Some time later Mr. Ryan Sr. died, leaving behind Mrs. Ryan and a family of small children. The
father's brother, who came to the United States at a much earlier date, owned a cotton plantation near Atlanta, Georgia. He was a wealthy gentleman and, had 400 slaves. When he learned of his brother's death he came to Portage and requested of Edward's mother to allow him to take seven-year old Ed back south with him. The permission was granted. Ed attended school near Atlanta and was like a member of the uncle's family.

After President Lincoln's proclamation giving freedom to the southern slaves was announced and the war continued the confederacy became very short of soldiers and Edward was forced to enter into the Third Georgian Cavalry at the age of 14. The regiment was commanded by Col. Stephens and the company by Capt. Smith. Edward was in the service two years. During General Sherman's march to the sea all kinds of property and food products were ruthlessly destroyed as a necessary war measure. No food was left for the southern soldiers. Mr. Ryan later reported that the cavalry of which he was a member was often times forced to live on basswood tree buds and other wild growth. They were almost famished.

For four months Mr. Ryan was on duty as guard at the notorious Libby prison in which thousands of northern soldiers captured in the
battle of Bull Run were kept. Food was scarce and conditions horrible. One day while assisting with the feeding of the prisoners Mr. Ryan recognized his own brother, John Ryan, of Portage, Wis., a Union soldier, who had been captured. John was so emaciated by his imprisonment that Ed hardly knew him. Eventually the two brothers got together and Ed succeeded in procuring a mule, gave the animal to his brother who finally escaped through the lines. Ed and three other members of the cavalry subsequently made their escape from the lost cause and walked to New Orleans. From that place they made their way by steamboat to St. Louis and later to Omaha.

Mr. Ryan then worked for the Union Pacific railroad that was at the time being built across the state of Nebraska and westward. He had many harrowing experiences while in this employment, He later was employed by the Wells Fargo company in conducting mule and cattle trains across the plains. There were many encounters with Indians and there was muc trouble. Finally Mr. Ryan came to Chalres City, Iowa in 1869, and took a trip the following year to the old town of Emmetsburg. He was in the employ of the late Patrick Nolan near Riverside for about a year.

Mr. Ryan was united in marriage to Bridget Hester at Coalwater, Butler County, Iowa in October 1872. They settled on a farm six miles northwest of Emmetsburg in 1879. Here they remained until 1900 when they established their residence in Emmetsburg. Mrs. Ryan passed away in June 1911. Mr. Ryan has since resided in the same home where his daughter, Miss Anna Ryan tenderly cared for him.

The deceased is survived by three sons, Wm. Ryan of San Francisco, Cal., Thomas Ryan, Chicago, Ill, and Edward Ryan, Emmetsburg. There are also two daughters, Miss Ann Ryan of this city, and Mrs. Charles Maguire of Chicago. A daughter, Mrs. Charles McCoy died in August 1923, while a son John passed away at Salt Lake City, Utah, March 30, 1939.

Civil War Record

Palo Alto Obituaries maintained by Cathy Joynt Labath.
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