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"Curtis King" Civil War Greybeard 1783-1863


Posted By: Mary (email)
Date: 12/27/2006 at 13:23:32

Info donated by Theresa E. Smith

Source: Hendricks County Indiana History Bulletin Vol. 2 No. 1 (1971)

"Old Hendricks Loss was Corn Huskers Gain"

To Iowa goes the distinction of the oldest trooper and the only over age regiment to serve for the North during the War between the states. However; Hendricks County can claim a small part of the recognition through a man whose historical and descriptive nature is truly one of the unique soldiers to serve either side during the great conflict.

Curtis King, a lineal decendant of Pocahontas was born in Culpepper County, Virginia in 1783, the son of a Revolutionary War Veteran. Married at nineteen, emigrated to Ohio in 1815 residing there until the late 1820's when removed to Hendrick's County, Indiana, purchasing property in Danville on May 29, 1829. During the next five years he was actively engaged in farming. He owned two farms, one 80 acres just east of present road southwest edge of Danville along White Lick Creek in section 10. When selling these lots and parcels of land, Hannah King, wife signed by an "X" on all instruments through August 31, 1838, and in Oct,1841, Curtis made his own mark alone indicationg her death during this time. In November of 1840, Curtis married Matilda Sharp in Hendricks County.Leaving Hendricks county in the early 1840's, the family lived a short time in Hancock county until moving to Wapello County Iowa, where he farmed until he felf his affairs and family welfare were in order for him to answer President Lincoln's call for volunteers. At the great age of 80 years, Private King mustered into Company H. of the 37th Iowa Infantry on November 9, 1862. This regiment was called the Greybeards comprised of men over 45 years old. Iowa was the only state to form such a regiment receiving authorization from Secretary of War Staton upon promise that they would be used only for guard duty. However, the unit did see action on June 5, 1864 when some 50 troopers engaged a band of Confederate guerrillas resulting in the death of two enlisted men. Private King's enlistment into the Army of the Mississippi was not easy as he was blind in one eye. Two or three companies refused him entrance until he was at last successfull with Company H. Upon his discharge on march 19, 1863, he was described as one of the most efficient men of his regiment; a stalwart figure standing 6 foot 2 inches in height, dark complexion, blue eyes and grey hair.

Curtis King, emigrant, father patriot, veteran, died at Muscatine, Iowa, the same year of his discharge at the age of 81, but, of him the half has yet been told. At his death he was the father of 21 children, the youngest only 15 months old at his death. Mr. king could never read or write but had such retentive powers that he claimed to repeat every word of the Bible for, Genesis to the end of Revolation through the help of a daughter who read to him from scriptures.

Transcriber notes: Family informant gives birth date for Curtis as possibly May 10, 1781. First marriage to Hannah ended in divorce March of 1840. He married her Aug. 3, 1813 at Hillsboro, Highland County, Ohio. They had nine children; six sons and 3 daughters born to them. Second wife was Matilda Sharp; aged 16 years. To this union 12 children were born; being nine sons and three daughters. He married her Nov. 17, 1840 in Danville, Hendricks County Indianna. Curtis King is buried at what was know as Williams Cemetery of Wapello County Iowa. Refered now to as "Curtis King Memorial." For more info go to: http://www.findagrave.com


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