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Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa

The Soldiers of Greene County

The boys who went to the war from this county in 1861 and ’62 proved their patriotism and their valor. Those that were spared came home at the close of the war and at once engaged in the various callings of citizens, and the splendid record which they have made is unsurpassed by any other class of citizens in the country. They have proven loyal to every principle of true citizenship. Two of the men who enlisted from this county afterward represented the county in the state legislature, to-wit: Gillum S. Toliver and A. R. Mills, while many others have filled positions of trust and responsibility. Generally speaking, they have made a success of life and assisted beyond computation in keeping alive the spirit of patriotism and devotion to the country and flag. Their ranks are being depleted from year to year and on the re-occuring of May 30, annually, they with all of our people gather in the cemeteries of the county and with the highest devotion and most solemn sense of duty strew the passionless mounds of their fallen comrades with choice flowers. This annual service of these survivors of the Civil war veterans is in a large measure responsible for the splendid condition in which the cemeteries of this county appear today. Memorial day is observed throughout the county wherever there is a cemetery of the dead.

The soldiers of the county represent nearly every northern state and they are scattered quite evenly over the county. They are devoted to the principles of the Grand Army of the Republic, and with a zeal unknown in any other order, gather around their camp fires and touch elbows as they did during the dark days of the rebellion, when the destiny of the country hung in the balance. When they meet in their reunions there is no division on acount of locality at time of enlistment. The Union soldier who went to the war from the northern pines of Maine and the Union soldier who gave his service from the Palmetto state, today meet in the most cordial manner. They welcome all who are willing to swear allegiance to the national government and dwell beneath the folds of the stars and stripes. They extend the hand of good-fellowship even to those who sought by force to disrupt the Union, yet they are the undying enemies of treason and no man can enter their order upon whom a stain of treason remains. Their valor has been proven on scores of battlefields. The empty sleeves, missing legs and battle scars are evidence unmistakable that they have stood in the thickest of the fray and faced death in all of its horrors. These grizzled veterans are held in loving esteem by their fellow citizens. To them we owe a debt of gratitude that can never be paid. We have not forgotten that these men made it possible for us to enjoy our pleasant homes and the highest degree of prosperity ever known to this or any other country. The Allwise alone knows what would have been our destiny had not these men responded to the call of their country and bared their breasts to the shot and shell of the enemy.

They realize that their march is almost ended, and that soon the final taps will be sounded, but in the language of another they can truthfully say: “We have fought a good fight,” we have saved the country without the loss of a star, and Old Glory, the grandest banner that was ever flung to the breeze, is honored and respected in all lands and by all people. Let us cherish the grand and ennobling principles which these heroes have bequeathed to us and swear by the memory of their heroism that we will take up the cause for which they fought and bled and if necessary give our lives in defense of these immortal principles.

Under the first call of President Lincoln, the raising of but a single regiment was assigned to Iowa, and this meagre quota was filled up so promptly by those counties connected by railroads with the capital and other places of rendezvous that remote counties like Greene found no place for its gladly enlisting men until late in the summer of 1861, when the Tenth regiment was organized. Company H in this regiment was enrolled in the counties of Greene, Carroll and Johnson, fully two-thirds of the men enlisting from Greene county. This splendid body of men, with such facts as have been secured from oflicial reports and otherwheres, are entitled to honorable mention in this Greene County History, as follows: It will be borne in mind that the entire company was mustered into service September 7, 1861:

Jackson Orr, commissioned captain September 24, 1861; resigned August 8, 1863. Now living, in good health, near Silverton, Colorado.

John H. Clark, promoted to first sergeant; wounded in the shoulder and head at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863; commisisoned captain, August 11, 1863; mustered out January 13, 1865, veteran. Mr. Clark settled in Jefferson for a time after the war and became a court reporter; later moving to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he is still enjoying good health. He is still a reporter in the state courts.

William G. Oungst, promoted from first sergeant to second lieutenant, February 7, 1862; first lieutenant, March 3, 1862; resigned October 7, 1862. Mr. Oungst is reported as living in the far west at the present time.

Matthew Custer, promoted to second sergeant, veteran; then first lieutenant, January 4, 1864. Served through the war; afterwards a prosperous farmer in Hardin township, andnow a resident of Jefferson; in good health.

Andrew Purcell, commissioned September 24, 1861, as second lieutenant; resigned February 6, 1862.

Isaac H. Brown, promoted from second sergeant to second lieutenant, March 3, 1862; killed at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16,1863.

John Bish, promoted to second lieutenant August 7, 1865, but mustered out as second sergeant; wounded October 4, 1862, at Corinth, Mississippi, and November 25, 1863, at Chattanooga, Tennessee, slightly in the hip; veteran; now lives in Held county, Colorado.

Hubbard W. Bunker, promoted from fifth sergeant to first lieutenant, October 8, 1862; veteran; discharged October 11, 1864.

Isaac W. Deemer, enlisted in 1861; promoted to third sergeant. Now living at Lake City.

Goldsborow B. Burk, better known as “Banycr” Burk; promoted fourth sergeant; wounded slightly in head at Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 25, 1863; re-enlisted February 1, 1864. Returned home.at close of war and died at Grand Junction several years ago.

Sanford M. Amy, first corporal; wounded severely in the left thigh at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863. Died in Coloradotwo years ago.

Robert T. Smith; second corporal, captured at Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 25, 1863, and died of diarrhoea, at Andersonville, Georgia, in prison, July 1, 1865.

Joshua Burk, seventh corporal, promoted to sergeant; wounded severely in the right arm at Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 25, 1863; discharged at Davenport, Iowa, July 4, 1864, on account of wounds. Died in Missouri several years ago while visiting.

Albert Crumley, third corporal; discharged for inguinal hernia at Bird’s Point, Missouri, February 1, 1862. Now lives in Kansas.

Henry Myers, fourth corporal ; re-enlisted February 1, 1864. Returned to Greene county at close of war, and for many years was a farmer in Grant township. Later he moved to Jefferson and died about a year ago.

John L. Kinney, fifth corporal; transferred August 17, 1863, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, to the Twelfth Louisiana volunteers, and commanded a company of colored troops. He now lives in Louisiana.

Coleman P. Wright, promoted corporal; died at Columbia, South Carolina, February 19, 1865, on the “march to the sea.”

Archibald Burk, eighth corporal; wounded slightly in the head at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863; severely, in the leg, at Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 25, 1863; discharged at Davenport, Iowa, July 15, 1864, on account of wounds. Returned to Greene county and lives in Rippey.

George W. Short, promoted corporal; wounded severely in the right leg at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863; discharged at Davenport, August 11, 1863, for disability. Is reported living in Illinois.

Xavier Carlin, promoted corporal; re-enlisted January 1, 1864; wounded slightly in the foot at Cox’s Bridge, North Carolina, March20, 1865.

Joseph Deemer, musician; came home after the war and is now living in Des Moines.

John Roberts, musician; discharged at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, April 17, 1863.

Jacob Young, wagoner; re-enlisted February 1, 1864.

William Anderson, private; discharged at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, March 6, 1862. Returned to his home in Jefferson, where he lived many years, and is now at the Soldiers’home, Marshalltown, Iowa.

Joseph A. Anderson, private; wounded in the left leg at Corinth, Mississippi, October 3, 1862; re-enlisted February 1, 1864. Now livesat Storm Lake, Iowa.

Daniel H. Anderson, private; received an honorable discharge; re-enlisted March 20, 1864.

William L. Adkins, private; wounded slightly in the left arm at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863; re-enlisted February 1, 1864. Returned to his home in Washingtontownship, where. he died many years ago.

John W. Adkins, private; died, date and place unknown. He went into an engagement with his company and disappeared. It is supposed he was killed and body never found.

Archibald L. Allen, private; discharged March 6, 1862, at Birds’ Point, Missouri. Returned to Rippey, where he died several yearsago.

Henry L. Athey, private; discharged at Birds’ Point, Missouri, March 6, 1862. He returned to Greene county, but his present residence isnot known.

Thomas Athey, private; re-enlisted January, 1864.

John Bennett, private; died of measles at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, November 9, 1861.

James M. Brewer, private; wounded in the back at Champion Hills, Missouri, May 16, 1863; re-enlisted January 1, 1864. Now livingin Kansas.

James B. Carter, private; died of measles at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, November 21, 1861.

John Chaflin, private; died of measles atCape Girardeau, Missouri, November 19, 1861.

Philip Cline, private, a mere boy when enlisted. Had a revolver, which he claimed was his main reliance. So far as known, he was absolutely without relatives.

Jotham Crumley, private; died at Mound City, Illinois, September 15, 1862, from disease.

Edward Davenport, private; discharged at Bird’s Point, Missouri, February 10, 1862.

William Greek, private; served his term and re-enlisted. Soon after he disappeared and has never been heard of since. Was a brave soldier.

Amos Gilliland, private; wounded severely in the side at the battle of Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863. He returned home andnow lives at Paton, in Greene county.

William N. Hall, private; killed in the battle of Chainpion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863.

John B. John, private; discharged at Keokuk, Iowa, December 10, 1862, for disability. Lives in Rippey.

Thomas M. Lee, private; wounded severely in the neck at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863; and severely in the arm at Chattanooga, Tennessee, November 25, 1863; died two years ago in California.

Joseph R. Locke, private; transferred April 22, 1863, to the Eleventh Louisiana volunteers. It is said he commanded a company of colored volunteers. He still lives in Louisiana.

Jefferson McCoy, private. It is reported of this soldier that he never missed a day of service'while in the army, nor a battle in which his company had a part, enlisting for all there was in the struggle. Since the war he has been
living on his little farm in Grant township.

John C. McLain, private; re-enlisted February 1, 1864. Moved to Los Angeles, California, and died there, two years ago.

Daniel Miller, private; died at Birds’ Point, Missouri, of diarrhoea, February 4, 1862.

Jacob Miller, private; accidentally killed at Cape Girardeau, Missouri, October 19, 1861.

Oliver O. Mosier, private; promoted to commissary sergeant, October 19, 1861; died at Bird’s Point, Missouri, February 6, 1862.

William Rhoads, private; wounded in the thigh at Champion Hills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863, and died from his wounds at Memphis,July 16, of same year.

Abraham Scott, private; transferred February 15, 1864, to invalid corps.

Alonzo C. Stevens, private. At close of war took up his residence in Chicago.

Hiram Scott, private; died at Lake City.

Jerome W. Teitsort, private; re-enlisted January 1, 1864. Returned to Greene county and was killed by the cars at Scranton, several yearsago.

Thomas B. Turpin, private; died of the measles at Mound City, Illinois, December 25, 1861.

John E. Van Horn, private. Returned home after the war and now resides in Kansas.

John F. Wilson, private; re-enlisted February 1, 1864.

Lewis Wright, private.

William H. B. Wynkoop, private; discharged at Bird’s Point, Missouri, February 1, 1862, on account of scrofula* and consumption. Resided in Jefferson until his death some fifteen years ago.

A number of young men who presented themselves in good faith for enlistment were rejected by mustering oflicers, but their loyalty was rewarded by an acceptance later in the struggle. Among these were John David, Lewis Adkins, Marion Reece, Addison Monroe and Charles J . Wynkoop.

Smith J. Hutchinson’s name was added to the roll of company H the day it was mustered in. He was killed at the battle of ChampionHills, Mississippi, May 16, 1863.

Gillum s. Toliver and Doily B. Johns originally joined company K of the Tenth regiment. but at their own request were transferred to company H so as to be with the rest of the Greene county boys. Toliver was discharged for disability at Hamburg, Tennessee, May .7, 1862, and Johns died on the same date at Mound City, Illinois.

There were other eulistments in company H from Greene county, as follows: Harrison Bruner, February 25, 1864; Reuben B. Greek, February 26, 1864; John W. Myers (deceased), February 25, 1864; Henry Ranbarger, March 16, 1864; James C. ,Toliver, February 25, 1864; James S. Wilson, February 19, 1864.

The Tenth regiment, which participated in some of the hard fought battles of the war, notably Champion Hills, Mississippi, was in the service nearly four years, and was mustered out at Little Rock, Arkansas, August 15, 1865. It was made up of patriotic, noble men.

The Thirty-ninth regiment contained about forty men who enlisted from Greene county, nearly all belonging to company E.

Robert M. Rippey was commissioned captain of company E, November 24, 1862, and died at Corinth, Mississippi, October 30, 1863. He was a prominent and influential citizen of the county and had held the oflice of county judge to the satisfaction of the people.

John N. Couttes was commissioned first lieutenant November 24, 1862, and captain October 31, 1863. He resigned January 6, 1865.

Newton P. Wright was promoted from second to first lieutenant October 31, 1863, and was killed at Altoona, October 5, 1864.

Jacob M. Toliver was commissioned second lieutenant November 24, 1862, and resigned March 4, 1863. He returned to Greene county where he lived for some years and now is apracticing attorney at Lake City, Iowa.

Among the rank and file of company E were Albert M. Bills, now a resident of Meeker, Colorado; John Carson; Oliver M. Smith, died in Texas; Jacob Warley; Mark York, who was lost in the war, but is said to be still living; Theodore B. Powers, living in Oklahoma; Caleb A. Shreve, of Oregon; Luther Short; Charles H. Tietsort, Pueblo, Colorado; and William F. Waldron, of Glidden. Bills, Reed, Shreve and Tietsort were captured at Altoona, October 5, 1864, with a large company of prisoners. Fifteen made their escape from a moving freight train, but only Reed and Bills escaped, and they were sixteen days and nights in reaching the Union lines. The others were recaptured and taken to Macon, Georgia. Carson and Waldron were wounded in the famous battle at Altoona.

There were Greene county men who enlisted in other regiments, as follows:

John W. Myers enlisted in the Ninth, February 26, 1864.

David John enlisted in company E, Twenty-third regiment, August 16, 1862.

Robert Gilroy, John H. Sims, George W. Mason and William E. McCoy enlisted May 11, 1864, in company H, Forty-fourth (100 days) regiment.

John Ladlie enlisted in company C, Forty-sixth regiment (100 days’ men), May 23, 1864.

It is a remarkable historical fact that Greene county, with a scant population, not footing up to fourteen hundred, should have furnished one hundred and fifty men who willingly enlisted in the war for the Union. With a people mainly devoted to agricultural pursuits, far removed from the scenes of strife, with no telegraphic, and not even railway, connection with the outside world, it would hardly seem as if a spirit of such splendid patriotism could be so speedily aroused. But Iowa was a, part--a grand factor—in the Union, and Greene county was a part of Iowa, hence when the calls came. and meetings were held, the stars and stripes unfurled, the fife and drum sounding the notes of the country’s great need, men, young and old, jostled over each other in their great desire to have a part in putting down the rebellion. So well were the quotas of every call kept full, that there was never any demand for a draft in Greene county. The cry seemed to be: “We are coming, Father Abraham, the last man of us, if the need comes.” And that “our boys in blue” acquitted themselves bravely is well evidenced by the terrific engagements at Champion Hills, at Chattanooga, at Shiloh, and on other battlefields.

The present population of Greene county is largely made up of men who came here from the eastern and middle states after the close of the war, bringing their proud war record with them, hence there is probably in the county today fully two hundred veterans, while of the one hundred and fifty men credited to the county by reason of local enlistments, probably not a dozen now reside here. Many have moved away and a far greater number have gone to the far-away land “on the other side of thehills.” It has been computed that the soldiers now living in Greene county represent more than fifty different regiments enlisted in half that number of states. And yet, under the unifying influences of the G. A. R., they really are under but one command, with liberty and fraternity as their battle-cry.

*Possibly tuberculosis

From Past and Present of Greene County, Iowa, by E. B. Stillman,
Chicago, Illinois: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1907

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