Madison County



The following narrative is excerpted from History of Madison County (Iowa) & Its People printed in 1915. It has been reformatted for easier reading. Throughout this text, initials were often used in lieu of given names.  Where well known and documented, initials have been replaced with given names.

The news soon reached Winterset that the Southern states were in rebellion and that the flag had been insulted at Charleston, South Carolina. Although fully advised of the spirit manifested by Southern leaders the people were not prepared to realize the danger menacing free institutions of the Republic and were astounded and horrified when the real situation arose and confronted them. But almost every man and woman in Madison County loved and revered the Union and rallied at the first call, to express their sentiments.

Mass meetings from this on were the order of the day and night, and but little time was lost before action was taken. At one of these meetings, held on April 24, 1861, at the Christian Church, in Winterset, a large assemblage of people met in the house of worship and was presided over by Dr. D. B. Allen; John J. Davies acted as secretary. The object of the meeting was to discuss the ominous situation of the country and to ascertain how many persons in the county were willing to join a military company, or companies, for home protection. A committee of ten was appointed for the purpose of securing the names of those desiring to become members of the proposed companies. That committee was composed of the following named persons: Lewis D. Karns, Lorenzo N. Clark, William L. Leonard, Alfred Hood, Nathan Garretson, Henderson C. Carter, Frederick Mott, William Shannon, John W. Holbrook and Charles Gaskill.

It was the sense of the meeting that both the cavalry and infantry company should be organized, and that as their formation would be for home protection the citizens should furnish the enlisted men with arms. Thereupon, the Madison County Rangers, a cavalry company, was organized and the patriotic citizens signing their names that evening to the rolls of the cavalry company were: Jacob Israel Denman, John M. Lambert, E. W. Evans, David Dekalb Davisson, Charles A. Gaskill, Henderson C. Carter, George M. Rutledge, Henry M. Porter, B. M. Bixby, William Reynolds, Samuel Conigan, Butler Bird, William C. Newlon.

An infantry company was also formed and assumed the name of the Winterset Guards. Its muster roll showed the following names:


John M. Andrews

Nathan Anderson Harlan

Leander Pitzer

Oliver C. Ayres

William P. Hastings

William R. Shriver

Thomas Bardrick

John M. Holaday

James Stafford

Sylvester G. Beckwith

John D. Holbrook

John Stiffler

Derrick D. Bennett

Benjamin C. Howell

George W. Stiffler

George W. Betts

William M. Jenkins

Thomas M. Stiffler

David W. Burnett

Lewis D. Karns

D. W. Thompson

F. I. Cash

Jacob W. Kirk

Charles Tibbles

Francis M. Cassidy

Jesse R. Lambert

Miller Richard Tidrick

Lorenzo N. Clark

Hamilton Marlow

Cal Trion

J. W. Craven

Benjamin F. Murray

C. C. Ward

Henry J. B. Cummings

John Nichol

E. T. Warner

Henry C. Farnsworth

James P. Noel

Joseph D. Williams

Milton Foster

Asbury Nosler

John H. Williams

Titus W. Fouch

Eli Odell

Seymour B. Williams

William H. Goodwin

F. M. Pickerell



The "Rangers" met on the evening of the 26th and selected these officers:

Captain David Dekalb Davisson
First Lieutenant, George M. Rutledge
Second Lieutenant, Butler Bird
Third Lieutenant, B. F. Bixby
Orderly Sergeant, Henderson C. Carter

The men joining the "Rangers" were required to furnish themselves with a horse and saddle "and such arms as each might obtain." And the object of the organization, by the records, was to "defend the citizens and property of Madison County when the contingency might require it." This was the first military company organized in Madison County.

Other warlike movements on the part of the citizens took place, one closely upon the other, and a few of them will be related in order to show the spirit and feelings of the people at that time of national travail. On April 27, 1861, Sylvester G. Beckwith and Jesse R. Lambert announced the receipt of their commissions from the adjutant general of the state, to organize a company of volunteers "in this senatorial district." At the close of this announcement the newly made officials sent out this appeal. "Let not the young men of our district be slow in responding to the call of their country in a time of danger." To encourage others it was reported that Sylvester G. Beckwith, Jesse R. Lambert, Butler Bird, William L. Leonard, James McCleary, William C. Newlon and Benjamin F. Murray had already volunteered.

On April 27, 1861, the following call was issued: "The people of Madison County, in favor of sustaining the Government in its endeavors to maintain and preserve the Union in its present crisis, are requested to meet at Winterset on Saturday, May 4, 1861, at 1P. M., for the purpose of giving expression to their views as American citizens. Signed, Albert West, M. L. McPherson, Masten Glazebrook, L. S. Garrett, Alfred Hood, Cal Ballard, Charles D. Bevington, John Leonard, Henry J. B. Cummings, Samuel Hamilton, Lewis Mayo, John J. Davies, W. L. Hart, D. D. Davisson, Nathan Garretson, Isaac L. Tidrick, John McLeod, William Compton, J. W. Moody, John A. Pitzer, D. B. Allen, William L. Leonard, Levi Morton Tidrick, Jonas Figley Brock.

At St. Charles, May 1, 1861, a large and enthusiastic war meeting was held; a Union pole was raised and a beautiful large flag, made and presented by the ladies of that neighborhood, was run up to the breeze. The occasion was enlivened by music from the Indianola Brass Band and Union speeches were made by Dr. William L. Leonard, of Winterset, and Lewis Todhunter, of Indianola. "Ringing patriotic resolutions were adopted."

Great excitement prevailed throughout the county and war with the South was the exclusive subject of general conversation. Those opposed to the prosecution of the war kept their views to themselves, while in public places, for the danger of violence was imminent.

On May 1, 1861, Elder A. Bradfield, of the Winterset Christian Church, delivered an ultra patriotic sermon in favor of the war for the Union. Other local ministers were equally patriotic in the pulpit.

The following extracts from the Madisonian are matters of local history and should be of more than ordinary interest to the present and future generations, if not of the past: A detachment of regular soldiers from Fort Randall, Dakota Territory, on their way to the seat of war passed through Winterset May 4th. They were entertained by the citizens and given a hearty reception.

May 18th, the Clinton Guards of this county met for organization and elected the following officers:

Captain, Robert A. Stitt
First Lieutenant Empson H. Venard
Second Lieutenant William T. Shelburn
Ensign, J. Brinson
First sergeant, Jacob Hyskill

The company numbered forty-four men. They proposed to uniform themselves forthwith and report to the Government.

About May 20th sixty stands of arms passed through Winterset for Page County, which was threatened with attack by rebels from Gentry County, Missouri.

Before May 25th "Madison County Guards," of Winterset, had disbanded, by reason of internal disagreement, and another organization was perfected which took the name of the "Union Zouaves." This organization was consisted of:


Henry J. B. Cummings, captain

Colston P. Lee, Private

John R. Nichol, first lieutenant

Ronald Bain, Private

Jesse R. Lambert, second lieutenant

Charles Danforth, Private

John M. Andrews, third lieutenant

Joseph D. Williams, Private

Lorenzo N. Clark, first sergeant

Casper Armbreast, Private

John Stuart Goshorn, second sergeant

Asbury Nosler, Private

William P. Hastings, third sergeant

Benjamin F. Murray, Private

S. Pitzer, fourth sergeant

John Hinkle, Private

John Stiffler, fifth sergeant

E. W. Reynolds, Private

J. W. Burnett, Corporal

Thomas M. Stiffler, Private

Emanuel A. Huber, Corporal

George S. Stiffler, Private

John M. Holaday, Corporal

Marion Cassiday, Private

E. C. Ward, Corporal

John P. Wallace, Private

Frederick Mott, Private

J. S. White, Private

John J. Davies, Private



May 25th, another company was due to be organized, which styled itself "The Silver Greys," and was composed of men over thirty years of age.

June 27th Capt. P. Gad Bryan, of Indianola, made a stirring speech at the Christian Church, in the effort to secure recruits, for his cavalry company. He made an impressive address which was followed by M. L. McPherson, of Winterset. At the conclusion, the following Madison County men were enlisted: Jesse R. Lambert, William R. Shriver, Charles Tibbles, David W. Burnett, Thomas M. Stiffler, John Faurote, James D. Jenks, Everett S. Ewing, Milton Carter, James Harvey Bird, David D. Burnett, George W. Tibbles, John H. Williams, and Butler Bird.

During the latter part of April a company had been organized in Madison Township, of which William F. Clampitt, a Mexican war veteran, was captain. This military organization was the subject of much reckless talk for some time, as the loyalty of certain of its members was much questioned, and as strongly defended by Captain Clampitt.

June 29th E. S. Ewing, of Winterset, advertised for cavalry horses. The owners were asked to give a credit of six months to volunteers with approved security. He didnít secure many.

July 13th Capt. Henry J. B. Cummingsí Company G, Fourth Iowa Regiment, started for its rendezvous at Council Bluffs. Their departure was one of the saddest affairs that ever occurred in the County. Probably every eye that witnessed the scene was blinded by tears. Not even the most indifferent or hardened person withheld his emotions. It was never forgotten by anyone present.

Previous to the departure of Company G, on July 12th, the ladies in and near Winterset gave a festival supper to the company. It was one worthy of the ladies and the occasion. After the soldiers had eaten their fill there was an abundance for the citizens present. At this festival the ladies presented the company with a beautiful flag. Miss Geraldine Squire made the presentation address and the response was by the captain, Henry J. B. Cummings.

August 31, Lieut. John D. Jenks, and Serg. Jesse R. Lambert, of Bryanís Cavalry, were home on a few days leave of absence. On their return the following recruits went with them: William O. Ludlow, Joseph Reynolds, Edward Marlow, Matthew Wilkins, James K. McCandless and "Curly Joe."

September 1st, the board of supervisors appropriated $150 out of the county funds, for the benefit of the families of volunteers of Madison County, who were left in destitute circumstances by reason of such enlistments, if there should be any.

The above excerpts, which were scattered hither and yon, throughout the various issues of the Madisonian during the stirring year of 1861, give a good portrayal of the things that most interested the people in Madison County at that time. Many such events occurred before the close of hostilities between the North and the South. It certainly would be interesting reading, to many, to give a full relation of the local war time incidents, but space will not permit. However, Madison County did her part, faithfully and well, in putting down rebellion and upholding the glory and integrity of republican institutions. The county was represented in a number of different regimental organizations and furnished 710 men to the ranks of the Union army, which was in excess of her quota. The commissioned officers from Madison County in that great conflict were as follows:


William Anderson

First Lieutenant

Company F, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Charles S. Armstrong

First Lieutenant

Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Oliver C. Ayers

First Lieutenant

Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Sylvester G. Beckwith

First Lieutenant

Company A, Twenty-third Iowa Infantry

Adolphus Bradfield


Company F, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

J. M. Browne


Company F, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

William W. Buchanan

Second Lieutenant

Company E, Fifth Iowa Cavalry

Dr. Samuel B. Cherry


Forty-seventh Iowa Infantry

Daniel E. Cooper


Company F, Fourth Iowa Infantry

John M. Cooper

Second Lieutenant

Company F, Fourth Iowa Cavalry

Henry J. B. Cummings


Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

William Early

First Lieutenant

Company I, Fourth Iowa Cavalry

George N. Elliott

Lieutenant Colonel

Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

John Dwight Ewing

First Lieutenant

Company H, Twenty-third Iowa Infantry

James H. Goolman


Company H, Twenty-third Iowa Infantry

John Stuart Goshorn


Company E. Forty-seventh Iowa Infantry

George Gregory

Second Lieutenant

Company K Eleventh Iowa Infantry

Samuel G. Guiberson


Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

William Hastings

First Lieutenant

Company I, Fourth Iowa Cavalry

James D. Jenks

Brevet Lieutenant

Colonel, First Iowa Iowa Cavalry

John P. Jones

Second Lieutenant

Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

John A. Kelly

First Lieutenant

Company F, Fourth Iowa Infantry

Jesse R. Lambert

First Lieutenant

Company I, Fourth Iowa Cavalry

Dr. William L. Leonard


Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Robert E. Martin

First Lieutenant

Company C Thirty-third Iowa Infantry

Josi McLeod

Quartermaster Sergeant

Third Iowa Infantry

Frederick Mott


Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Leander Pitzer

First Lieutenant

Company F, Fourth Iowa Infantry

William Pursell


Company I. Fourth Iowa Cavalry

Jonathan B. Rawls

Second Lieutenant

Company A, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Edward W. Raymond

Quartermaster Sergeant

Company I, Fourth Iowa Cavalry

John L. Shipley

First Lieutenant

Company H, Twenty-third Iowa Infantry

William R. Shriver

First Lieutenant

First Iowa Cavalry

Davis S. Smith

First Lieutenant

Company K, Eleventh Iowa Infantry

John W. Stiffler

Second Lieutenant

Company K, Tenth Iowa Infantry

Thomas W. Stiles


Company F, Thirty-ninth Iowa Infantry

Robert A. Stitt


Fourth Iowa Infantry

Miller Richard Tidrick

First Lieutenant

Company G, Third Iowa Infantry

Adoniram J. Tisdale


Company F, Fourth Iowa Infantry

Of the above named officers, John D. Ewing, Leander Pitzer, Oliver C. Ayers and John P. Jones were killed in battle or died of wounds received while in battle.

The following are some observations by the County Coordinator

Although the Madison County Rangers (Cavalry) and Winterset Guards (Infantry) who signed up on that Wednesday night in April 1861 disbanded because of bickering among the leadership, some of the members went on to serve their county and the Union.  The following list details the eventual service of the members of those two groups.


Madison County Rangers

Butler Bird Quartermaster Sergeant, Company D, 1st Cavalry, enlisted 13 Jun 1861, discharged 14 Feb 1863
B. M. Bixby No record of service
Henderson C. Carter No record of service
Samuel Conigan No record of service
Jacob Israel Denman No record of service
David Dekalb Davisson No record of service
E. W. Evans No record of service
Charles A. Gaskill No record of service
John M. Lambert No record of service
William C. Newlon Third Sergeant, Company G, 3rd Infantry, enlisted 21 May 1861, slightly wounded at Shiloh, lost a leg, discharged 06 Apr 1863
Henry M. Porter No record of service
William Reynolds Third Sergeant, Company I, 4th Cavalry, enlisted 21 Oct 1861, discharged 18 Jun 1862
George M. Rutledge No record of service

It is interesting to note that just 3 of the original 13 Rangers ended up serving from Madison County.  Of the remaining 10, it is not known whether their fervor cooled, they were turned off by the in-fighting, they were turned down at enlistment, or they served from elsewhere. Of the Winterset Guard, 27 of 47 went on to serve and another 4 may have served but the names are in question.


Winterset Guard

John M. Andrews Quartermaster Sergeant, Command, 39th Infantry, enlisted 17 Aug 1862, appointed 24 Nov 1862 
Oliver C. Ayres First Lieutenant, Company A, 39th Infantry, enlisted 08 Aug 1862, commissioned 24 Nov 1862 
Thomas Bardrick No record of service
Sylvester G. Beckwith First Lieutenant, Company H, 23rd Infantry, enlisted 22 Jul 1862, wounded at Black River Bridge, died of wound 05 Jun 1863
Derrick D. Bennett No record of service
George W. Betts Private, Company A, 39th Infantry, enlisted 12 Aug 1862
David W. Burnett Private, Company D, 1st Cavalry, enlisted 18 Jul 1861
F. I. Cash No record of service
Francis Marion Cassidy Private, Company A, 39th Infantry, enlisted 13 Aug 1862
Lorenzo N. Clark No record of service
J. W. Craven No record of service (A John D. Craven served in the 23rd Infantry).
Henry J. B. Cummings Colonel, Command, 39th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861 as Captain, Company F, 4th Infantry
Henry C. Farnsworth No record of service
Milton Foster No record of service
Titus W. Fouch No record of service
William H. Goodwin Private, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, wounded at Vicksburg
Nathan Anderson Harlan No record of service (A John A. P. Harlan served in 39th Infantry).
William P. Hastings First Sergeant, Company I, 4th Cavalry, enlisted 14 Oct 1861
John M. Holaday Private, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jan 1862, wounded at Pea Ridge, discharged
John D. Holbrook No record of service
Benjamin C. Howell Eighth Corporal, Company H, 23rd Infantry, enlisted 09 Aug 1862, discharged for disability 26 Aug 1863
William M. Jenkins No record of service
Lewis D. Karns No record of service
Jacob W. Kirk Private, Company D, 1st Cavalry, enlisted 13 Feb 1864
Jesse R. Lambert First Lieutenant, Company I, 4th Cavalry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, resigned 02 Jul 1862
Hamilton Marlow No record of service (An Eddy Marlow served in Company E, 47th Infantry).
Benjamin F. Murray Company G, 3rd Infantry, enlisted 21 May 1861, taken prisoner at Shiloh 
John Nichol No record of service
James P. Noel No record of service
Asbury Nosler Quartermaster Sergeant, Command, 47th Infantry
Eli Odell No record of service
F. M. Pickerell No record of service
Leander Pitzer First Lieutenant, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, wounded at Vicksburg 28 Dec 1862, died of wounds at Paducah, Kentucky 23 Jan 1863
William R. Shriver First Lieutenant, Company D, 1st Cavalry, enlisted 31 Jul 1861, resigned 18 Jun 1864
James Stafford Second Corporal, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, wounded at Chickasaw Bayou, killed in action at Cherokee 23 Oct 1863
John Stiffler Second Lieutenant, Company K, 10th Infantry, enlisted 28 Sep 1861, killed at Missionary Ridge 25 Nov 1863
George W. Stiffler Private, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 15 Nov 1861, wounded at Chickasaw Bayou
Thomas M. Stiffler Fifth Sergeant, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, wounded at Chicasaw Bayou and Vicksburg, died of wounds 14 Aug 1863
D. William Thompson Private, Company A, 39th Infantry, enlisted 14 Aug 1862
Charles Tibbles Private, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, taken prisoner at Clayville, Arkansas
Miller Richard Tidrick Commissary Sergeant, Company G, 3rd Infantry, enlisted 20 May 1861, resigned 23 May 1862
Cal Trion No record of service
C. C. Ward No record of service
E. T. Warner No record of service (An Ephraim P. Warner served in Company G, 3rd Infantry).
John H. Williams Private, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, wounded at Chickasaw Bluffs, died of wounds at Young's Point 14 Feb 1863
Joseph D. Williams Private, Company F, 4th Infantry, enlisted 01 Jul 1861, died from hernia 17 Sep 1861
Seymour B. Williams Fourth Corporal, Company H, 23rd Infantry, enlisted 09 Aug 1862, wounded at Spanish Fort, Alabama 30 Mar 1865, died 02 Apr 1865



Maintained by the County Coordinator

This page was last updated Thursday, 13-Apr-2017 14:54:57 EDT .