|Cherokee County Biographies
WILLIAM MILTON COOMBS. Few men are living in Cherokee County who are able to relate so vividly the experiences of suffering in their country's cause as the subject of this short biography can, and it is to such men that the nation is indebted for its existence to-day. W. M. Coombs was born in Putnam County, Indiana, November 26, 1841, and is a son of Joseph and Delilah (Wright) Coombs. He is the only son in a family of four children. His mother dying when he was five years old, he was without a mother's care until the marriage of his father to Miss Amanda Wright, a cousin of his first wife. Four children were born of this union. When William was twelve years old the family removed to Champaign County, Illinois, where they remained four years. They then came to Iowa, and settled six miles east of Jefferson, Greene County, and there the father and mother still reside. William grew up to the life of a farmer, and remained under the parental roof until the "war alarm" sounded all over this land. He enlisted in Carroll County, Iowa in June 1861, in Company H, under Captain Orr, and was mustered into the service at Iowa City, September 28, 1861. Soon after he was sent to the front, and did gallant service until he was severely wounded. He participated in the first and second battles of Corinth, where so many boys laid down their lives. He was also at Inka and Champion Hill, being wounded at the latter place May 16, 1863. He was in the hottest of the fight, and received wounds in both arms, one leg, and lost the sight of one eye. He was placed in a hospital where he was detained seven months, but was able to attend to guard duty. He rejoined his regiment, but soon after received an eighty days furlough and went home. During the latter part of his service he was company Commissary. He was detailed on special duty to assist the Sixth Wisconsin Battery, and at the time of the battle of Inka was acting as driver for that battery. His pension of $17 per month seems inadequate compensation for such service.
Returning to Green County, Iowa, he bought a farm and lived there until the spring of 1870, when he came to Cherokee County and entered a homestead, on which he now resides. He has added to his land until he now owns 240 acres, which is well improved and adapted to general farming purposes. He left the farm in 1884 and the three following years lived in Aurelia, returning to the farm in 1887. Mr. Coombs was married January 22, 1865 to Miss Matilda McKinney, daughter of William and Elizabeth McKinney. Her mother is now the widow of Governor Beal, of Clark County, Iowa. Mrs. Coombs was born March 17, 1848, in the State of Iowa. They have a family of eight children living: Ida, wife of Hiram Johnson; Etta, Libbie, Zoma, Charles, Effie, Millie and Pearl. They have lost one daughter, Alice, who died at the age of twelve years. Miss Libbie Coombs is a successful teach, and has been engaged in her profession in Diamond and Spring townships. Mr. and Mrs. Coombs are members of the Congregational Church, and are held in high estimation by all who know them. Politically our subject is a Republican.Source: Biographical History of Cherokee County, IA, W. W. Dunbar & Co Publishers, 1889
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