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George S Botsford


Posted By: George W Botsford (email)
Date: 11/18/2013 at 16:57:27

George S. Botsford was born May 27, 1835, near Livonia, Livingston Co., N.Y. Next to a man's own personal record is that of those from whom he drew his origin. The parents of our subject, Elnathan and Zilpha (Terry) Botsford, were natives of Livingston County, N. Y.; the father was born near Livonia and the mother near Lima. Elnathan Botsford was a painter by trade but died when a young man thirty-two years of age in 1837, in his native town. The family included two sons only, our subject and his elder brother William. The latter, when a little lad six years of age, removed with an uncle to Seneca County, Ohio, and was joined there by the mother and George S. the year following, when the latter was five years old. The mother had been left in limited circumstances, and two years later contracted a second marriage where a problem arose the issue of which was three more children. Two only of these are now living, and reside in Ohio


After the second marriage of his mother young George was placed in charge of a guardian, Oliver Crockett, who proved a very kind man, and finding the boy not properly cared for, took him into his own home, where he remained until a youth of seventeen years. Mr. Crockett then gave him his choice of remaining with him or going into a store at Green Springs. He chose the latter, but on account of impaired health returned to Mr. Crockett and assisted him as well as he could in the tannery. Later, through the influence of his guardian, he secured a position as purchasing agent of an Eastern manufacturing company, which handled black walnut lumber. His duties then lay in Southern Michigan, where he remained, and was a resident of that section for one and one-half years.

In the spring of 1854, Mr. Botsford, then a man of nineteen years, crossed the Mississippi River and purchased 160 acres of land in Fayette County Iowa, near West Union. . He, however, did not settle upon this, but engaged as a stage driver from Dubuque to St. Paul, Minn., and driving four and six horses. Later, for a period of fifteen months, he drove a stage from West Union to Decorah, Iowa. When this contract ended, he began hauling goods for a merchant at West Union,Iowa to and from McGregor, Iowa, and was thus occupied until after the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861.

Mr. Botsford now sold out his teams and enlisted in the State Militia; expecting to join the first 75,000 men called for by President Lincoln. On the 8th of June, 1861, his regiment was sworn into the National service at Keokuk, Iowa. Mr. B. was a member of Company F, 3d Iowa Infantry, and after drilling awhile at Keokuk, Iowa, they departed first to Hannibal, Mo., and during the summer of 1861 his regiment was stationed as guards along the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad in Northern Missouri.

Our subject first saw the smoke of battle at Palmyra, Mo., in June, 1861; was at Ft. Henry, and was later at Ft. Donelson. At the latter place he first looked upon Gen. Grant, and declares that, notwithstanding reports, "the General was not drunk." Mr. Botsford subsequently fought at Pittsburg Landing, the siege of Corinth, and later was stationed with his regiment as a guard along the Charleston & Memphis Railroad.

The spring of 1863 saw the Army of the West moving toward Vicksburg, in the siege of which our subject participated. The winter of 1863-64 was passed in the vicinity of Natchez, Miss. Where the term of enlistment of Mr. B. having expired he veteranized and was commissioned Orderly Sergeant. Subsequently he was appointed Sergeant Major. In March, 1864, he was given a furlough, and returning to Iowa settled up various business matters there and upon rejoining his regiment marched with the army of Gen. Sherman to the sea. On the way there he fought at Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge. Dalton, Rome and Atlanta. For valiant service he was made Captain of Company B, and after the death of Lieut. Col. Jacob Abernathy, was placed in regimental command.

On the 21st and 22d of July, 1864, the regiment of our subject lost heavily at the battle of Atlanta, and on account of their reduced numbers were made a part of the 2d Iowa, and Mr. Botsford was given a Captain's commission under Gov. Stone, with which rank he was mustered out at the close of the war. The 17th of January, 1865, found them returning North through the Carolinas, during which they marched through Goldsboro, and experienced the terrors of the dismal swamp, where the soldiers underwent great sufferings, being exposed to nightly frosts of great severity, and often making their way through mire and water knee deep. This naturally resulted in much sickness and death among the soldiers, and while at Goldsboro they received the news of Lee's surrender. This buoyed up the sinking spirits of the troops and gave them courage to push on to their destination. On account of his bravery and fidelity to duty Capt. Botsford was the recipient of the commission of Lieutenant Colonel, the papers reaching him although he was never sworn in.

Our subject looks upon this period of his life as an experience with which he would not willingly part, although it was one fraught with many hardships. Although he was remarkably fortunate in escaping wounds, sickness and death, the sufferings of those around him were such as to leave an ineffaceable impression upon his mind for all time to come. He became intimately acquainted with the brave Geo. McPherson during his boyhood, but with his characteristic modesty he never made his presence known to the General, and it was only by accident that the latter learned in the third year of his service that his old boyhood acquaintance was in the same division. Capt. Botsford marched with his comrades to Washington, and had the pleasure of being present at the grand review, and of marching with his company through the streets of Davenport, Iowa, where they.were honorably discharged on the 19th of July, 1865.


Our subject now returning to Fayette County Iowa, went from there in August of that year to Sandusky, Seneca County, Ohio, where he occupied himself at farming until March, 1869. At this place he met his future wife, Miss Agnes Scattergood, to whom he was married at Waterloo, Ind., March 24, 1869.

Mrs. Botsford was born Aug. 4, 1848, at Elyria,Ohio where she attended the common schools; she was deprived by death of her affectionate mother when a young girl of fifteen years. She then kept house for her father until his second marriage, when she was permitted to resume her studies in the High School at Clyde, Ohio.

Mrs. Botsford is the daughter of Charles W. and Lucinda (Reynolds) Scattergood, the former a native of Sheffield. England, and the latter of Essex County, N. Y. Mr., Scattergood crossed the Atlantic when a lad of twelve years of age with his parents, who settled in Ohio. He was married to Miss Reynolds . The six children of her parental family were named respectively: Irwin, Agnes, Viola, Eva, George and Harrison. Of these four are living, and three reside at Waterloo, Ind.

Our subject and his wife afterward took up their residence at Waterloo, Ind., where they lived until moving to Nebraska.

In the spring of 1873 they settled in a little log house on eighty acres of land in Otoe County Nebraska,near the town of Palmyra, That land which is now included in their present farm. Here they commenced to live in true pioneer style, laboring early and late in the building up of their homestead and the cultivation of the land. The first dwelling was replaced by the present tasteful residence in 1874 , and there gradually grew up around it the buildings adjacent, and fruit and shade trees which add so much to the attractions and the value of the property.

The modest dwelling of Mr. Botsford is attractive within and conveniently arranged, while without are orchards, groves, the smaller fruit trees and shrubbery, barns, cattle sheds, and all the other buildings necessary for his own convenience, for the domestic animals and for the storage of grain. These are the results of the industry of the proprietor, who settled up his present homestead when the land had undergone very little cultivation. Of late years he has given much attention to stock-raising, and it has been remarked by those who have seen them that his swine are as fine as any to be seen in the State of Nebraska.

The Botsford's moved away from Nebraska in 1892 to settled on a farm in the vicinity of Waterloo, Ind., where he now resides, being seventy-one years of age in the year of 1901. Mr. and Mrs. Botsford have no children, but their home is the frequent resort of the many friends whom they have gathered around them during their long and pleasant lives. He is spending his declining years surrounded by all that makes life desirable, His has been a career eminently praiseworthy, filled in with industry and good deeds, during which he has built up for himself the record of an honest man and a good citizen.

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