IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
updated 01/12/2020

Clayton county Civil War Soldiers

of the

Twenty-first Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Historical information, notes & comments, in some cases correcting the record
Soldier biographies written by Carl Ingwalson

Surnames R

Carl will do look-ups in his extensive records of the 21st Iowa and he is always willing to share what he has.
His email address is on the Look-up Volunteers page.
If any of these biographies are copied, please give credit to Carl. Copyright info. at bottom of page.

Carl's notes:
There are three published rosters for the 21st Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. They're significantly different and all three contain numerous errors, in large part since they were relying on handwritten records, handwriting was often difficult to decipher, some men could not read or write, and others sometimes did not know how to spell their own names or altered the spelling from time to time.

a. Nathaniel B. Baker, Report of the Adjutant General, Volume I (Iowa State Printer 1863). Baker's roster was prepared while the war was still in progress, many had not yet enlisted, and there were errors for those who did enlist.
b. George Crooke, The Twenty-First Regiment of lowa Volunteer Infantry (King, Fowle & Company, 1891). Crooke's roster has limited information and was prepared at a time when record keeping wasn't the best. While he was a member of the regiment, he was absent for almost ten months and probably for that reason some of his narrative is also wrong.
c. Roster and Record of lowa Soldiers, Volume 3; by Guy Logan (Iowa State Printer 1910). The most recent of the three rosters, part of a massive state effort to accurately reflect those who served and, I thought, the most likely to be accurate.

I have researched the regiment for more than thirty years and visited most sites that were visited by the regiment. Each of these biographies is based on that research, the soldier’s records and records of his comrades that are on file with the National Archives & Records Administration, records and diaries on file with the State Historical Society of Iowa, original letters by members of the regiment, county histories, other original source documents and relevant online information.


Ray, Isaac
Co G, age 18, born in Iowa, residence Millville

08/15/62 enlisted
08/22/62 muster in Co. G
09/09/62 muster in Regiment
08/01/64 promoted to 8th Corporal
07/15/65 muster out Baton Rouge

This is from the R&R. I have not verified the information


Reed, William T.
Records conflict as to where William was born. The Company Muster-in Roll says he was born in Illinois, but his Descriptive Book says he was born in Jackson County, Iowa. A book about La Crosse, Wisconsin, says Iowa. Records also conflict regarding the year of his birth which was in:
-1831 or 1832 according to a medical report and three affidavits signed by William,
-1832 or 1833 according to a medical report and one affidavit signed by William,
-1833 or 1834 according to a medical report and the Muster-in Roll, and
-1836 (approximately) according to the book about La Crosse, Wisconsin.

William was working as a McGregor barber when, on August 15, 1862, he enlisted as a Private in Company G then being raised by the town's thirty-two year old postmaster Willard Benton. The company was mustered in on August 22, 1862, with Benton as Captain. William's Descriptive Book described him as being 5' 9'' tall, "Eyes Dark; hair dark; Complexion Dark." He was possibly the only man apparently of mixed race who served in the regiment; his wife, Amanda, was white. Bruce L. Mouser, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Black La Crosse, Wisconsin, 1850-1906: Settlers, Entrepreneurs, & Exodusers (La Crosse Historical Society, June 2002), page 33. Mr. Mouser can give no assurance regarding William's race, but says "the only conclusion one can make about the 'M’ in the census and marriage record is the fact that the census enumerator and the register of marriages thought he was a mulatto."

Of the eighty-seven men on the rolls of Company G when its ten companies were mustered in as the state’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry on September 9, 1862, William was one of only forty who served their entire terms and were mustered out at Baton Rouge and one of the few who were marked ''present" on every bimonthly Company Muster Roll from the time of their enlistments to their discharge almost three years later.

Records conflict slightly regarding his rank. All bimonthly Company Muster Rolls give his rank as Private during his entire service, but William’s Descriptive Book and the Muster-out Roll say he was promoted to Corporal on February 24, 1863 and reduced to the ranks on March 19, 1863. On February 27th, one of his comrades wrote a letter indicating that “G. White, P. McEntire, Wm T Reed are Corporals.” While that seems to confirm the short-lived promotion, the February 28th Company Muster Roll for the same time frame says William was still a Private.

William's early service in Missouri went well and he was with the regiment when it crossed the Mississippi River to Bruinsburg, Mississippi, on April 30, 1863, and started inland on the Plantation Road with Companies A and B as skirmishers. The skirmishers were pulled in after dark while Lt. Col. Dunlap, four others and their guide, a former slave, took the lead under ominous orders to ''proceed without halting on the main road to Port Gibson until they met the enemy and were fired upon." About midnight, enemy pickets fired. Ineffective shots were exchanged in total darkness for almost two hours until men rested and slept on their arms. The day-long Battle of Port Gibson (also known as Magnolia Hills and Magnolia Church) followed after daylight on May 1st with William Reed participating.

He was also present when the regiment was held in reserve on May 16th during the battle on Champion's Hill and he participated in the next day's assault at the Big Black River when the regiment suffered 7 killed in action, 18 fatally wounded, and at least 38 wounded non-fatally. One of the most seriously wounded was the regiment’s colonel, McGregor resident Sam Merrill, who fell on the field while leading the charge. William also participated in the May 22nd assault at Vicksburg when the regiment suffered 23 killed in action, 12 fatally wounded, and at least 48 wounded non-fatally. He was with the regiment during the siege of Vicksburg and in November 1863 when it left New Orleans for Texas, but there he had a problem.

On May 29, 1864, Frederick Richardson, Orderly Sergeant from Millville, detailed William for guard duty on Matagorda Island, but William refused. He said he was sick but, when "sick call'' was made, William did not appear. Sgt. Richardson couldn’t find him, but walked down to the landing and, on the way, met William who "had apparently been down there" without permission. The next morning, Sergeant Richardson "detailed him for guard again and asked him why he went to the landing" the previous day. "I then told him he must either report to the doctor or go on guard" As near as Sergeant Richardson could remember, William replied that Richardson could "suck his arse."

At a court martial hearing later that day, Richardson recounted the events, Private Obed Harrison (Millville) testified that William had said "he would just go wherever he had a mind to," and Captain John Craig (Millville) confirmed that he had not given William permission, and William had not asked permission, to go to the landing. William presented no defense, was found guilty of "conduct prejudicial to good order" and was sentenced "to be confined in some government fort to be designated by proper authority for the period of thirty days with a ball & chain attached to his left leg." The next day, Fort Esperanza was designated as his place of confinement.

William was released on June 26, 1864 and completed his service without incident. He was present during the regiment's participation in the successful campaign against Mobile the following April, its garrison duty processing arms and prisoners in Arkansas, and its mustering-out at Baton Rouge on July 15, 1865.

Postwar, he initially returned to McGregor but, in the fall of 1866, moved to Lansing, Iowa for "a short time," and then to La Crosse, Wisconsin where he continued his prewar occupation of barber for several years. From 1871 until October 1889 he moved about (“not lived much in one place,” he said) and lived in Eau Claire, Chippawa Falls, Menomonee and River Falls. He then returned to La Crosse where he joined the Wilson Cowell Post of the G.A.R.

By 1890 his health had declined to a degree that made it difficult to continue earning a living by manual labor. He applied for a pension and said he had rheumatism, kidney problems and failing eyesight. Friends and doctors confirmed his condition and a $6.00 monthly pension was granted in 1891 for “impaired vision,” an amount raised to $8.00 in 1902. In April 1904 he was living in Superior, Wisconsin, and said he was "completely broken down" and "totally disabled from any labor." He was receiving an age-based $12.00 monthly pension when he died in 1905. William is buried in Superior's Greenwood Cemetery where he has a standard issue military stone.

Except for a single reference regarding a marriage to "Amanda,'' no information has been found regarding his wife, parents, or any siblings or children.


Reeves, Charles Henry
Charles Henry Reeves said he was born in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, on April 22, 1842. Ann Elizabeth “Annie” Watson was reportedly born in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, on August 4, 1846. On July 4, 1861, they were married in Prairie du Chien.

During the Civil War, Charles was enrolled on August 11, 1862, at McGegor, Iowa, in a company being raised by William Crooke. Charles’ age was given as twenty-two (which doesn't correlate with the date he said he was born), his occupation as painter, and his description as being 5' 8" tall with blue eyes, brown hair and light complexion.

They were mustered in as Company B on August 18th and as the 21st Regiment of Iowa's volunteer infantry on September 9th. After brief training, they left Dubuque on a rainy September 16, 1863, on board the Henry Clay, spent one night in St. Louis, and then traveled by rail to Rolla. For the next several months their service was in Missouri - Salem, Houston, Hartville, back to Houston, and then south to West Plains. From there they moved to the northeast - Eminence, Ironton, Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve.

On April 1, 1863, they left Ste. Genevieve on the Ocean Wave and several days later reached Milliken's Bend, Louisiana, where General Grant was organizing a massive army at the start of what would be a successful Vicksburg Campaign. They crossed to Bruinsburg, Mississippi, on April 30, 1863, and began a march inland.

Charles participated in the day-long battle of Port Gibson on May 1st, was present during the battle of Champion's Hill on May 16th when the regiment was held in reserve by General McClernand, participated in an assault at the Big Black River on May 17th, and participated in an assault at Vicksburg on May 22nd during which Charles suffered a slight head wound. The ensuing siege lasted until July 4, 1863, when the city was surrendered. The next day, he was with the regiment and other federal troops as they started a pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston east to Jackson.

Charles apparently had culinary skills, at least those sufficient for the military. In July 1863, after their return from Jackson, he was detailed as a cook in a Vicksburg hospital, in August he was a cook on the hospital boat Nashville, and from September 28th to November 3rd, 1863, he was a kitchen steward in a Vicksburg hospital. After being relieved, he reached his regiment a week later at Brashear City in Louisiana. He remained with the regiment during its subsequent service in Texas and, after returning to Louisiana, was again detailed as a hospital cook, this time on August 27, 1864 at Morganza.

During the regiment's 1865 campaign to occupy the city of Mobile, Alabama, Charles became ill and, on March 17th, was admitted to a hospital on Dauphin Island where the remains of Fort Gaines are still standing at the entrance to Mobile Bay. Regimental muster rolls continued to report him absent and sick on Dauphin Island for the bimonthly periods ending April 30 and June 30, 1863, He was then transferred to a camp of distribution (a camp for soldiers awaiting reassignment) in New Orleans where he was treated for intermittent fever.

In the meantime, his regiment had completed its service and was camped in Baton Rouge while muster-out rolls were prepared for 1,126 men (those on the original rolls and those who enlisted subsequently as new recruits). The war was over and soldiers were anxious to go home. On July 15, 1865, the regiment was mustered out and, on the morning of the 16th, the men in Baton Rouge started north on board the Lady Gay - but Charles was still in New Orleans waiting for orders.

On July 20th, the same day his regiment debarked at Cairo, Illinois, Charles reached Baton Rouge. With his regiment gone, he reported to the Provost Marshal's office where the captain in charge saw "no reason why the man should not be furnished transportation to Davenport Iowa where his Reg't was sent." Before the day was out, an assistant adjutant general was able to report "transportation furnished to Cairo Ills." and Charles was on his way. His Descriptive List and other papers had gone north with the regiment but, by July 31st, he reached Davenport where orders were received that "this soldier will report without delay . . . at Clinton for muster out of service. The AQM will furnish transp. no papers."

Charles said he and Annie lived in McGregor for about twenty years until they moved to Cumberland, Wisconsin. That’s where they were living when, in 1885, Charles applied for a federal pension based on various ailments he said were contracted during his service in Mississippi and Texas. The Adjutant General’s office verified some of the ailments and the slight head wound, but the claim was still pending when Charles moved to Idaho.

In February 1896, while living in Wallace, Idaho, Charles reapplied for a pension, referenced some of the same ailments mentioned earlier, and also claimed to have received a wound from a shell during the assault at the Big Black River. Again his claims were investigated. In addition to the ailments reported earlier, the Record and Pension Office said he was treated for intermittent fever (malaria) for six days in July 1865 while waiting to be discharged. It found no record of a shell wound, or any wound, received at the Big Black.

In June 1897, he was ordered to appear for a routine examination before a board of pension surgeons in Rathdrum, Idaho. In January 1898, Dr. Frank Wenz advised the Pension Office that Charles had failed to appear. That was about the time he left Idaho and move eighty miles west to Spokane, Washington. Another medical exam was arranged for July 1898 in Spokane and this time Charles appeared. He complained of the same ailments referred to earlier, mentioned malarial poisoning that the Record and Pension Office had noted, and said he now also had “stiffness of right hip,” but he made no reference to any wounds. Witnesses said he was credible and had good morals but, based on the surgeons’ certificate, a Medical Referee said Charles was not ratably disabled.

In 1907, a new law authorized pensions based solely on age provided the soldier had served at least ninety days and received an honorable discharge. Charles applied, but encountered a difficulty when the Pension Office realized that, while he consistently signed his name as “Reeve” (eventually on eleven different documents), he was listed as both “Reeve” and “Reeves” in military records. After inquiry, they agreed his correct surname was “Reeve” and he was granted a $12.00 monthly pension, payable quarterly. New laws allowed for increases at various ages (66, 70, 75), but Charles had difficulty proving his age. The age given at enlistment didn’t correlate with the claimed birth date and, he said, the family Bible in which records were kept had been lost in an 1857 fire. It took several more years and affidavits from Annie and one of their daughters (both of whom signed as “Reeve”) but, eventually, Charles received increases to $24.00, $30.00 and $72.00.

During his career in the west, Charles had worked as a barber in Wallace, Idaho, joined the Reno Post of the G.A.R., was active in various lodges, enjoyed Honey Dip twist tobacco, become interested in lead and silver mining activities in the Coeur d'Alene area, and was one of the early promoters and a part-owner of the Hercules Mine in Burke, Idaho. As an obituary reported:

''The faith of Mr. Reeves is believed to have been an important influence in the mines' development, for when one partner or another would despair of success, his optimism in his barber shop at Wallace, would encourage continued work."

Although he sold most of his holdings in the mine, he "retained enough to secure a comparatively large fortune" and at one time owned extensive property in Spokane.
In 1927 Charles and Annie celebrated their sixty-fifth wedding anniversary. Later that year, on December 27th, Annie, the "mother of 15 children," passed away at the family home, 1917 East Fifth Avenue, Spokane. She was buried in the city's Riverside Park Cemetery (now Riverside Memorial Park).

A certificate increasing Charles’ pension to $90.00 was issued on May 7, 1928, but, on May 20th, Charles died, only five months after the death of his wife. Several "old soldiers" were present when he was buried next to Annie in Riverside Memorial Park.

Despite the “Reeve” spelling they gave in pension documents and when they signed their names under oath before notaries, their surname is given as “Reeves” in their obituaries, on their gravestones, and elsewhere. As indicated in Annie’s obituary and by Charles in pension documents, they had fifteen children. Six died before Charles, but he was reportedly survived by five daughters, four sons and sixteen grandchildren. The birth dates, and even the given names, were sometimes inconsistent but their fifteen children were Ella, Carrie, Ida Mae, Jessie, Lemuel, Josephine, Mildred, Jay A., Roger, Frank, Reo, Arthur Earl, Sidroe (aka S. D., Sydney and Sadie D.), Harry Harold, and Elizabeth June “Bess” (aka B. E. and Bessie).


Reynolds, Nelson R.
In the decade before the Civil War, immigration to Iowa, especially from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and the New England states was extremely heavy, so heavy, said one article, that in 1856 only 17% of Clayton County’s residents had been born in Iowa. Nelson Reynolds was one who emigrated from New York. The son of Lester and Anna Reynolds, Nelson was born in the town of Stuyvesant on March 25, 1842. By the time the war started, he was living near McGregor and working as a farmer.

Emigrating from Connecticut in 1855 was Rev. Isaac Stoddard, his wife (Delia or Celia), son (Benjamin) and daughter (Mary). The Stoddard family settled in Clayton County and lived in McGregor where another son (Isaac C.) was born. In 1859 they moved to Grand Meadow Township.

On August 14, 1862, Nelson was enrolled by McGregor postmaster Willard Benton in what would be Company G of the 21st Iowa volunteer infantry. The company’s Muster-In Roll said Nelson enlisted at Millville, but he later said his enlistment was at McGregor. He was described as being 5' 9” tall with grey eyes, brown hair and a light complexion. Company G was mustered into service on August 22nd at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin. On September 9th, ten companies were mustered in as a regiment.

Training was essential for men, mostly farmers, who were unfamiliar with military discipline and the ways of war, but the training was brief and hampered by an outbreak of measles that spread quickly in the close confines of the barracks. On a rainy September 16th, those able to travel marched through town and boarded the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside. They arrived at Rock Island on the 17th and Montrose on the 18th. Due to low water, they spent the 19th traveling by rail to Keokuk where they boarded the Hawkeye State and resumed their trip to St. Louis where they spent the night of the 20th before boarding rail cars on the 21st and heading west to Rolla.

They then camped southwest of Rolla for almost four weeks. While there, Grand Meadow resident, Jim Bethard, wrote home and told his wife that “Wm Barber and Nelson Runels have had the measles but are on the mend.” Three of their comrades died from measles and at least another three deaths were attributed to lung problems following measles.

Company rolls were taken bimonthly and Nelson was marked “present” on rolls taken October 31st at Salem, December 31st at Houston and February 28th at Iron Mountain where Nelson was detailed as a teamster. On March 11th, they reached Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River and camped on a ridge north of town until April 1st when they boarded several transports and went downriver to Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, where General Grant was organizing a large army to capture the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg.

On the 12th, Nelson was ill and left behind when the regiment started south, walking along roads and crossing bayous west of the river. On April 30th, they crossed from Disharoon’s Plantation to the Bruinsburg Landing on the east bank and, the next day, fought the daylong Battle of Port Gibson. Nelson was not present, but caught up on the 15th. On May 16th, the regiment was held in reserve during the Battle of Champion’s Hill. William Crooke, then Captain of Company B, expressed the feelings of many when he said, “those who stood there that day will surely never forget the bands of humiliation and shame which bound them to the spot, while listening to the awful crashes of musketry and thunders of cannon close by." Two companies, A and B, engaged in light skirmishing after the battle but, if allowed to move two hours earlier, Crooke thought Confederates under John Pemberton "would have been compelled to surrender right there - bag and baggage.”

Having not participated on the 16th, they were rotated to the front on the 17th and, with the 23d Iowa, led an assault on entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River. The assault took only three minutes, but seven in the regiment were killed, eighteen others had wounds that would prove fatal and at least forty had non-fatal wounds, some serious and others not. They were allowed to rest and care for the dead and wounded while the Confederates withdrew to their base in Vicksburg and the Union army followed.

Hoping to profit from what he thought was a demoralized enemy, Grant ordered an assault for the 19th that failed. With more troops and better information, he ordered another assault for the 22nd. This time, the 21st Iowa was present and joined in the attack, but this assault also failed and the regiment suffered its heaviest casualties of the war: 23 killed, 12 fatally wounded and at least 40 with non-fatal wounds some of which led to amputations of arms and legs.

Many of the wounded lay on the field between the lines. One was William Barber. It was two days before a brief truce was called and Nelson helped carry his friend to the surgeon’s tent. In a postwar affidavit, Nelson described how “Dr Orr administered cloform to him, while a surgeon I did not know, dressed the wound by injecting a preparation into the wound that caused large quantity of maggots to come from the wound. The surgeon probed for the bullet but could not locate it. I remember that the surgeon said the bullet was still in the hip but that he could not at that time locate it. I was with the said William C. Barber a part of each day for several days after he was taken to the hospital and helped to care for him and saw his wound dressed a number of times.”

On June 20th, federal artillery pounded Vicksburg and Isaac Stoddard’s wife died in Jesup, Buchanan County. She is buried in the city’s Cedar Crest Cemetery. The Vicksburg siege ended on July 4th and, on the 13th, Jim Bethard wrote home and told his wife he had received her recent letter and “was sorry to hear the news of Mrs Stoddards death I deeply sympathise with Mr Stoddard for he has been bereft of a great treasure.”

The regiment went into camp at Carrollton, Louisiana, on August 15th and, two weeks later, Nelson Reynolds was granted a sixty-day sick furlough and headed north. Late returning, he was briefly regarded as a deserter but rejoined the regiment at Indianola, Texas, in late January and was returned to duty without loss of pay. During the next several months he spent part of the time as a company cook and part as a guard at brigade headquarters. On August 1, 1864, he was promoted to 6th Corporal but, in October, became sick and was admitted to the Washington U.S. Army General Hospital in Memphis. While there, without explanation, he was reportedly reduced to the ranks. On June 2, 1865, with the war nearing an end and still in the hospital, Nelson was individually mustered out of the service.

In 1867 Rev. Stoddard bought 160 acres near Jesup. Still living at home was his daughter, Mary May Stoddard, who was born in Connecticut (New Haven or Gales Ferry) on October 28, 1849. On November 18, 1868, a month after her nineteenth birthday, Mary and twenty-five-year-old Nelson Reynolds were married. They moved to Winthrop in 1869 and then to Jesup and Parkersburg before settling in Luverne, Minnesota in 1873. They had three children - Clifford born in 1869, Hattie in 1871 and Clayton in 1877.

In 1891, Nelson applied for a pension indicating that, at forty-nine-years of age, he was unable to perform manual labor due to “Disease of the Kidneys” that he attributed to a cold he contracted twenty-nine years earlier in Rolla while convalescing from measles. After two medical examinations, the Bureau of Pensions concluded he was not disabled “to a ratable degree.” Nelson applied twice more and a $6.00 monthly pension was finally granted in 1904. He applied several more times and received gradual increases, ultimately being approved in 1917 for $30.00.

From Luverne, Nelson and Mary moved to California where their son, Clayton, was living. Clayton died in 1927. Five years later, giving their residence as Arcadia, Mary wrote to the Director of Pensions. Nelson was “under care” and she asked for forms so she could request another increase on his behalf. “Surely the World is all O.K. and beautiful is it not? But age comes finding myself 83 years. But desirous of continued effort. When chance comes sickness must be met. I married said veteran in 1868 - 64 years came. Was 18 [sic]. Long, long road, was it not? Children in heaven, save one in Honolulu.”

In 1934, Nelson was admitted on an emergency basis to a Veterans Administration facility in Los Angeles where he was eligible for hospital and domiciliary care. A friend told the VA that Mary had cared for Nelson for the last four or five years “when he really, should have been in the care of the Hospital and she is all worn out” while Mary said she had gone “nearly entirely without sleep or rest” while caring for her husband. Nelson died on September 20th of that year and was buried near Clayton in San Gabriel Cemetery.

Mary, still living in Arcadia, wrote to the Veterans Administration and applied for a widow’s pension - “God bless our America, loved loyal lands,” she said. Mary was awarded $38.00 monthly. In 1941 she requested an increase. She had recently had cataract surgery on one eye, the first time in eight years she “had even a speck of light” but, with the help of a “glass” was able to write her own letter. The increase was denied since she had not been married to Nelson while he was in the army. Mary died on June 2, 1944, and was buried next to Nelson in San Gabriel Cemetery.


Rice, James Marshall
Emigration from Ohio to Iowa was very heavy in the pre-war years. In 1853, Fortner Mather moved from Union County, Ohio, to Clayton County to become pastor of a Methodist Episcopal Church. Four of his brothers - Darius, Sterling, Esquire and John - followed as did their aunt and uncle, Joel and Sarah Rice, with their six children - George, James, Carolyn, Robert, Tero and Marshall. Following the Rice family, or at least Carolyn, was Jim Bethard. Carolyn and Jim were married in 1858 and, on October 1, 1861, her brother, Jim Rice, married Elizabeth “Lib” Stevenson.

In the fall of 1862, with casualties from wounds and illness mounting, President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers. On August 11th, Jim Rice, his cousin John Mather and his brother-in-law Jim Bethard enlisted in the infantry at the Grand Meadow depot (between Luana and Postville). With three others, they called themselves “the Roberts Creek crowd.” They were mustered in as part of ninety-nine man Company B on August 18th and, on September 9th, ten companies were mustered in as the 21st regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry.

On a rainy September 16th, members of the regiment walked from Dubuque’s Camp Franklin to the levy at the foot of Jones Street where they crowded on board the four-year-old steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started south. After transferring to the Hawkeye State, they reached St. Louis on September 20th and Rolla, by rail, on the 22nd. Jim Bethard wrote weekly letters to Caroline (“Cal”), always sharing news of her brother and cousin so Cal could share the news with Lib and other family members. From Hartville, Missouri, on November 15th, he said her brother “Jim and John and I have discovered that it [tobacco] is a nautious weed and therefore we abstain from the use of it.” On December 13th they were in Houston during a heavy rain when Jim wrote that “there is no less than four writing in the tent and Jim Rice is laying with his feet against my back trying to sleep and every once in a while he gives me a punch in the back with his feet.”

From Houston they moved to Hartville, then back to Houston, south to West Plains and northeast to Ironton, Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve before being transported downstream to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing an army to capture Vicksburg. Still west of the Mississippi, they walked south on roads, across plantations and through swamps and bayous. Along the way, Jim Bethard became sick and was left behind, but Jim Rice, John Mather and others able for duty continued south and, on April 30, 1863, crossed the river to Bruinsburg.

On May 1st they fought in the Battle of Port Gibson and on the 17th participated in an assault at the Big Black River. On May 22nd, Jim Rice, but not John Mather, participated in an assault at Vicksburg. Jim Bethard caught up with the regiment on June 4th and told Cal her brother was well. On the 15th, he wrote that “James Rice has had rather a bad streak of luck having lost his pocket book containing all his money which was about $17.” On June 19th, John Mather died from the debilitating effects of chronic diarrhea.

The siege at Vicksburg ended with its surrender on July 4, 1863. The regiment had suffered 31 killed in action, 34 who sustained fatal wounds and at least 102 who received non-fatal wounds during the campaign, but “the two Jims” were well and participated in the regiment’s next campaign, an expedition to and siege of the capital at Jackson. They arrived back in Vicksburg on July 23rd and, on the 26th, Jim Rice was granted a thirty day furlough to go north. On August 23rd, with the furlough nearing an end, Jim Bethard wrote to Cal that “I suppose Jim is beginning to think about packing his duds to start back,” but that was not the case since her brother had become ill. “I am sorry to hear of Jims illness,” Jim Bethard wrote on September 13th. “I think it is curious that he has that diahrea so much at home after having his health so well in the army it was lucky for him that colonel Merrill was at McGregor to give him leave to stay ten days longer.” The furlough stretched beyond the ten days and it was November 4th before Jim Rice reached the regiment then at Camp Pratt in southwestern Louisiana. Jim wrote to let Cal know her brother “was as tickled as a stray dog that has just found his master when he came to the company and the boys were all equally as glad to see him.”

In late November they were transported across the Gulf for service on the coast of Texas where James Rice was promoted to 5th Corporal. He had some minor health issues (“neuralga in the head”) and was worried about “large bills for house rent and meat,” a concern made worse when others received two months’ pay but he didn’t. The money was due, but there was an apparent problem with muster rolls during his prolonged furlough months earlier. In April, Jim told Cal that he and her brother were healthy and “out on the beach last week as far as we could get.” After returning to Louisiana in June, 1864, they saw more service west of the river and along the White River in Arkansas where “Jim Rice traded some sugar for two chickens.” Jim Bethard cooked the chickens “and made some soup and dumplings and we had a splendid dinner . . . Jim said it tasted old fashioned.” They were both “hearty as bucks” and “in high spirits over the prospects of the election of Old Abe.” The regiment’s final campaign was in Alabama where they occupied the city of Mobile and “took a stroll around the city.” They were mustered out at Baton Rouge on July 15, 1865.

After being discharged at Clinton on the 24th, Jim Bethard left for Sigourney where Cal had moved with her parents, but Jim and Lib Rice had other plans. In October they sold eighty acres they owned in Clayton County and in the spring of 1867 moved to Wright County as two of its early homesteaders. Unfortunately, “through some oversight in the numbers of his land at the land office, he settled on the wrong piece and had, after building and making his improvements, to remove the buildings to the proper location in the section, all of which caused him considerable loss of time and money. But with a true, stout heart he went to work and commenced all over, finally gaining for himself and family a desirable home” in Vernon Township.

Three children were born after the move to Wright County: Sarah Evelyn “Eva” Rice on June 23, 1867, Helen Isobel “Nellie” Rice on July 8, 1871, and Lenora “Nora” Mae Rice on November 10, 1875. On February 28, 1877, from Dry Lake in Section 16, Lib wrote to Jim’s parents in Sigourney. Jim “has gone to the timber for a load of wood,” she said, and the “ground is in good rig to put in wheat & oats.” Eva (9) and Nellie (5) were anxious for their grandparents to visit, but “dont see why grandma wants to call Nora a little stranger for that she aint a stranger.” Jim, “dont calculate to do any braking this summer he is going to put in a lot of corn and stay at home and tend it.”

An Odd Fellows lodge was formed in Dows and Jim was one of the members, but the following month, on June 8, 1882, Lib died. She was buried a few miles to the south in Blairsburg Cemetery. Eight months later Nellie would be buried in the same cemetery.

In February, 1883, forty-five-year old Jim married Mary Ann Valley on the 15th and prepared for spring work on their farm and apple orchard. In September, the Monitor reported that he “handed us samples of Duchess apples grown in his orchard this season, and finer looking or tasting fruit it would be difficult to find in any locality. Mr. Rice tells us that he will have thirty bushels of apples, about one-fourth of the crop he would have had only for the late frosts in the spring.”

Children born to Jim and Mary Ann were Pearl Rice born November 11, 1883, Maud Rice born April 8, 1886, and Harry Rice born February 11, 1889. Jim continued his Odd Fellows membership, joined the Grand Army of the Republic and was still working his farm when a fire destroyed the commercial district of Dows in 1894. Like most veterans who fought for the North, Jim applied for an invalid pension, a pension granted at $12.00 per month.

Mary Ann died in 1915 and was buried in Dows’ Fairview Cemetery. Jim applied for and received periodic increases to his pension and was receiving $40.00 when he died “on or about” August 7, 1919. Jim was buried in Fairview Cemetery.


Robbins, Charles Henry - 'Charlie' or 'Fifer'

~photo contributed by Rita Knight Hill
Comrade C.H. Robbins. June 25th, 1910. 74 years.
~photo contributed by Rita Knight Hill

The son of Henry and Relief French Robbins, Charles Henry Robbins, was born in what is now Ontario, Canada, on June 25, 1836, the third of their children who were born in Ontario. Six more children were born after they moved to the United States.

On August 11, 1862, Charles ("Charlie" to his friends; "Fifer" to his brother William) enlisted in Company B of the 21st Iowa Infantry, a regiment then being recruited in Iowa's northeastern counties, its 3rd Congressional District. He was described as being a 5' 6'' tall painter (in a regiment where the average height was about 5' 8") with hazel eyes, brown hair, and a dark complexion. Giving his residence as Cox Creek (which could refer to the township or to the Cox Creek post office in the western part of the township), he was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 federal enlistment bounty and a $2.00 premium. The $75.00 balance of the bounty would be paid on honorable discharge.

The Company was mustered in at Dubuque on August 18, 1862 with a total of 99 men (officers and enlisted). Another 17 would enlist subsequently as new "recruits." Initial officers were Captain William Crooke, 1st Lieutenant Charles Heath, and 2nd Lieutenant Henry Howard. The regiment was mustered in on September 9, 1862 at Dubuque where they received brief training at Camp Franklin (formerly Camp Union).

Leaving Dubuque on September 16th, they went first to St. Louis where they spent one night at Benton Barracks. On night of the 21st they were loaded on rail cars and, about midnight, left the station. They traveled on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad through the night and the next morning disembarked and made camp in Rolla. With little to do while awaiting orders, regimental bands often serenaded each other and men played ball and other games. On October 15th, Charles sprained an ankle while engaged in a “friendly wrestle” with another soldier.

The ankle sprain was his worst injury of the war although, like most others, he had occasional bouts of sickness, one serious enough to require hospitalization. During the Vicksburg Campaign, he participated in the May 1, 1863 Battle of Port Gibson and was present during the May 16, 1863 Battle of Champion's Hill when the regiment was held in reserve, something that was hard on the men who could hear the sounds of battle and of comrades in other regiments being wounded and killed. "Those who stood there that day," said Captain William Crooke, "will surely never forget the bands of humiliation and shame which bound them to the spot, while listening to the awful crashes of musketry and thunders of cannon close by."

Having not participated in the battle on the 16th, they were rotated to the front on the 17th when Charles participated in the regiment's assault on entrenched Confederates at the Big Black River and had "his whiskers shot off." During the assault the regiment had seven men killed in action, eighteen fatally wounded, and at least thirty-eight whose wounds were not fatal. Among them was the regiment's Colonel, Sam Merrill, who was very seriously wounded in both thighs and fell on the field while leading the assault. Charles survived the assault without injury and, on May 22, 1863 participated in an assault on Confederate lines at Vicksburg. Again the regiment had heavy casualties: twenty-three killed in action, twelve fatally wounded, and at least forty-eight non-fatally wounded. Charles continued with the regiment throughout the ensuing siege, a subsequent expedition to and siege of Jackson, Mississippi, and on January 7, 1864 was promoted from Private to 7th Corporal. On August 1, 1864, he was promoted to 6th Corporal and he held that position during the regiment's final campaign of the war, a campaign that ended with the occupation of the city of Mobile, Alabama.

On July 15, 1865, they were mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisiana and, the next morning, boarded the Lady Gay and started the long trip up the Mississippi. About 8:00 a.m. on the 20th, they went ashore at Cairo and went to the “soldiers rest where a dinner was waiting.” They then boarded rail cars and, about 2:00 p.m., continued their journey north. They received their final pay and were discharged at Clinton on July 24th.

On September 22, 1869, Charles married Hannah Ann Galer. They were married in Prairie du Chien, but made their home in Osborne, Iowa, about six miles south of Elkader, where Charles owned "a finely cultivated farm of 156 acres." Charles and Hannah raised a family of seven children: Mary (born September 27, 1871), Charles (born April 21, 1873), Clara (born April 27, 1875), Rose (born August 15, 1878), Elsie (born May 13, 1880), John (born April 26, 1882), and Robert (born November 16, 1883).

In 1878, Company D held a reunion in Strawberry Point and Charles elected to attend. In 1883 he joined the Elisha Boardman Post, Post 184, of the G.A.R. in Elkader, he attended the regiment's 1911 reunion in Central City, and he served one year as a School Director, but declined other offices.

His mother died on March 16, 1886, and his father nine months later on December 21st. Both were buried in the Mederville Cemetery, 31220 Evergreen Road, Elkader.

In the fall, Charles often worked with H. K. Johnston during the threshing season, but a lame back eventually forced him to quit. On April 3, 1924, at age eighty-seven, Charles died of renal and cardiac complications. Two days later, he was buried in Mederville Cemetery, only a few minutes from his home in Osborne. The following year, on August 28, 1925, Hannah died and was buried with her husband.


Robbins, William
Henry and Relief (French) Robbins were born in Canada, immigrated to the United States, lived in Ohio and Illinois, and, on October 14, 1855, arrived in Clayton County where they settled in Cox Creek Township about half way between Elkader and Strawberry Point.

Their nine children were Malisa (born August 25, 1832), Susan also shown as Susanna (born April 25, 1834), Charles Henry (born June 25, 1836), John (born January 27, 1838), William (born March 28, 1840, in Cuyahoga County, Ohio), Rachel (born August 25, 1842), Relief (born August 28, 1850, in Illinois), Joseph Emery (born February 28, 1852) and Lucy E. (born February 20, 1858).

As a boy, William was troubled with joint pain. Some called it “inflammatory rheumatism.” William Abbott, later a barber in Manchester, recalled that William was once treated by having “his feet and legs wrapped with cloths saturated with turpentine and he was sitting by the fire and the cloths caught fire.” A doctor treated him, but William “would scream with pain when they would go to lift him up or turn him in bed.” Abbott’s grandfather “took two-tined pitchforks and wrapped rags around between the tines of the forks and made crutches for him to walk with. I never knew him after that to complain of any pain or soreness in his joints or to walk stiff or lame.”

Guns fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and a conflict no one expected was fast approaching. The War Department asked Northern states to provide infantry or riflemen for a maximum of three months, but the war escalated quickly and, a year later, on July 9, 1862, Iowa Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments as part of the President’s call for 300,000 three-year men.

By then, Charles Robbins was twenty-six, John was twenty-four and William was twenty-two. George Peck, a farmer near Osborne, recalled that John enlisted “but not being well & his father objecting William took his place.” On August 11, 1862, William and Charles were enlisted at Cox Creek by Strawberry Point dentist Charles Heath in what would be Company B of the 21st regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry. They were ordered into quarters at Camp Franklin in Dubuque on August 16th, mustered in as a ninety-nine man company on August 18th and, with nine other companies, mustered in as a regiment on September 9th.

Crowded on board the steamer Henry Clay, most left Dubuque on September 16th, went downstream to St. Louis and then, by rail, traveled to Rolla where they spent the next month of their service. From Rolla, they walked to Salem, Houston, Hartville, back to Houston and then south to West Plains where they arrived on January 30, 1863, after a difficult march in the mid-winter ice and snow. From there they moved to the northeast, passed through Iron Mountain, Ironton and Pilot Knob, and, on March 11th, arrived in Ste. Genevieve where they camped on a ridge north of town.

On April 1st, Companies B, C and G boarded the Ocean Wave and started downstream. The other seven companies traveled on different transports. The Ocean Wave reached Memphis on April 3rd, laid over for three days and resumed the trip on the 6th. That evening the men debarked at Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was assembling a large army at the start of the North’s latest campaign to capture Vicksburg. On the 12th, they began what would be a difficult walk south, sometimes on roads but other times struggling to make their way through swamps and across bayous. On April 30th they crossed the river to Bruinsburg and on May 1, 1863, William participated with his regiment in the Battle of Port Gibson. He was present when they were held in reserve during the Battle of Champion’s Hill, and participated in a May 17th assault at the Big Black River and a May 22nd assault on Confederate lines at Vicksburg. General Grant then decided on a siege with the 21st Infantry stationed opposite the railroad redoubt, but the arduous duty during the past two months had been hard on William.

A robust, healthy, man before the war, he was now exhausted. Christian Maxson (a postwar merchant in Edgewood) recalled that during the siege William “was on guard I went out to see him and while I was standing talking to him his gun fell out of his hand and he sat down and placed his hand over his heart, and I asked him what was the matter with him and it was quite a spell before he answered me and then he said that there was something the matter with his heart. He did not say how it affected him only that he felt smothering - could not get his breath.” In June, Charles took his brother to the division hospital where William was admitted. George Crop (a postwar farmer near Sand Springs) was in the hospital at the same time and recalled that one day, William, “got up and started to walk from his bunk and having taken two or three steps he fell and I thought he was dead, but they picked him up and he remained unconscious for as much as fifteen minutes."

Abe Treadwell and Myron Knight (both farmers near Edgewood) recalled that it was about this time that William was “moon-struck” and couldn’t see after dark. They called it “moon-eyed.” Never one to shirk duty, William traded with others so they did his duty at night and he did their duty during the day. Christian Maxson said that, during the Mobile campaign in the spring of 1865, “I was on guard at a house to keep the boys from tearing it down when William Robbins came up to me to give me some orders and he dropped right down on the porch beside a post and placed his hand over his heart and fell over backwards and seemed to lose consciousness. I called for some water and sprinkled in his face and he revived and I asked him whether he was troubled a great deal with those spells and he said he was but that that was the hardest spell he had ever had. He said that it would be the death of him yet.”

Despite his problems, William was never one to complain. A private at enlistment, he was a 2nd Corporal when he was mustered out with the other original enlistees on July 15, 1865, at Baton Rouge. On the 24th, they were discharged from the military at Clinton. Charles recalled that, “on the 26" day of July, 1865, at Dubuque, Iowa, while on our way home about 4 o’c in the evening he and I went to the R.R. depot to take train for Manchester Ia on our way home and while at depot William Robbins suddenly placed his hand upon his breast and said, ‘God Fifer, if this old thing sticks to me I won’t have but a few days to stay after I get home.’ I was often called fifer in the army. I replied to him that we would have good times yet and tried to get his mind off from his malady. I remember this incident vividly for I was startled at his action knowing that he was liable to drop away suddenly. I remember this date for we arrived home on the 27" day of July 1865.”

Only a month later, William and his father were busy harvesting. While others were “carrying sheaves,” William “took the grain cradle and cradled a short time and blistered his hands and suddenly he dropped the cradle and placed both hands to his breast.” Despite their concerns, others tried to lighten the mood by making fun of his blistered hands. The next fall he worked for Henry Long, Henry Walker and Dave Courtman on their farms, but often had to “stop work for a few moments” to catch his breath. William Abbott recalled that, one time, “after we quit harvesting and while on our way home and crossing a piece of new breaking (being very rough) he was taken again and dropped some thing he was taking home and put his hands to his breast.” It happened again in the fall of 1867 when he was “attempting to load a rather heavy log;” the horse started, William got angry and immediately “had a spell.” True to form, he sought no medical treatment and, unlike most others with disabilities they attributed to their military service, did not apply for an invalid pension.

On April 5, 1868, William married Nancy Scovel in Littleport. For the next year and a half they made their home near Osborne and William continued working with others, traveling around “threshing in all kinds of weather and sleeping under the machine at night.” William Carpenter had served with William and recalled that, “about 5 years after our discharge Wm. Robbins was threshing. I think at my fathers place and I was helping father. Robbins was oiling machine when suddenly he stopped straightened up and threw his head and shoulders back and gasped like. I asked him what was the trouble and he leaned against machine and said it seemed as though he would choke to death and there was a bad feeling in his chest.”

A. W. Smith said William worked for him in 1876. “In haying of that year I assisted Mr. William Robbins in drawing hay. He was pitching from load. I was mowing it away when suddenly without saying a word he sat down upon the load and appeared in distress I asked him what the trouble was and he placed his hand upon his breast and said he had trouble of the heart and had such spells frequently. He was a person who said but very little, was very quiet and of good habits and good reputation.” Fred Peet said he and William were pitching hay when William “opened his shirt and showed me his chest and I noticed his heart was throbbing for dear life and I told him to quit work. I asked him how long he had been troubled in that way and he said ever since he had been in the army.”

William and Nancy had four children: Saphronia born December 25, 1868, Effie May born June 9, 1870, William H. R. born July 14, 1872, and Jennie born July 4, 1875. Edgewood’s Lewis Blanchard was the family doctor, but said William was “opposed to taking medicine or being treated by a physician” and “was always in a great hurry when at my office.” As William continued grubbing, chopping wood, breaking prairie, threshing and doing some carpentry work, his attacks became more frequent. He had trouble sleeping and often had to sit up for most of the night.

On February 2, 1882, “he was away cutting some brush and seemed to be unusually tired at night and did not sleep any scarcely.” The next morning he chopped wood and “after his dinner was sitting at the table reading and I,” said Nancy, “was sitting with my back to him and after a time he asked me what time it was and I said it was three o’clock. He then said it was time for him to go to work. That was the last he ever said.” Turning around, Nancy saw William’s “head leaning forward over his chest.” Forty-one-year-old William was dead. He is buried in Edgewood Cemetery where a G.A.R. marker stands next to his government-issued stone.

Claiming that his death was service-related, Nancy was working as a “washerwoman” when she applied for a widow’s pension, but proving her claim was difficult. William had been hospitalized at Vicksburg, but there was no other military record reflecting medical problems and he had served without complaint for the full term of his enlistment. Comrades and friends signed affidavits attesting to his health before, during and after the war, but the pension office wasn’t convinced. Special examinations were ordered and pension examiners took depositions in Edgewood, Osborne, Manchester, Sand Springs, Clarksville and Brush Creek and even in Stockton, California; twenty-four depositions in all. It took eight years, but a pension was finally approved retroactive to the date of William’s death.

William’s parents both died in 1886 and are buried in Mederville Cemetery as is his brother, Charles, who died in 1924. William’s daughter, Saphronia, died in 1891 and was buried near her father. Nancy Robbins continued to live in Edgewood until her death on October 3, 1921. She, like her husband and daughter, was buried in Edgewood Cemetery. Effie married Christian Maxson who had served with her father. She died in 1947 and also was buried in Edgewood Cemetery. Her brother, William, died in 1933 and is buried in Manchester’s Oakland Cemetery. Jennie was the last of the Robbins’ children to die. She had worked as a school teacher, cared for her mother as Nancy got older, never married and eventually moved to Los Angeles where she died on December 22, 1953.


Robinson, David H.
David Robinson was born in Highgate, Vermont, in 1826 or 1827. More than 450 miles to the southwest, Sarah (“Sally”) Howard was born on June 1, 1835, near Mayville in Chautauqua County, New York. They were married at the home of David and Didama Wood in Chautauqua County on July 1, 1852. A daughter, Viola Almira Robinson, was born in 1853 in Pennsylvania and a son, Charles A. Robinson, was born in 1855. By the following year the family of four was living in Highland Township, Clayton County, Iowa, where, on January 25, 1862, a daughter, Carra May (“Carrie”) Robinson, was born.

By then the Civil War was more than nine months old and thousands of men had lost their lives. On April 6, 1862, Union soldiers were surprised when attacked in Tennessee. The two-day Battle of Shiloh awakened those in the west to the severity of the war as Iowa’s hospitals were soon filled with the sick and wounded brought north on hospital ships. On July 9th, President Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers with Iowa to raise five regiments. Despite the approaching fall harvest, the volunteers came quickly. David enlisted at Elkader on August 14th in what would be Company D of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry with Sam Merrill, a McGregor banker and merchant, as Colonel. David was described as being a thirty-five-year-old farmer, 5' 6” tall with brown hair and dark eyes.

Company D was ordered into quarters at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin where they were mustered into service on August 22, 1862. On September 9th, ten companies were mustered in as a regiment and on the 16th they left for war. Crowded on board the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, they went downstream and, after a night on Rock Island, resumed their trip but had to debark at Montrose due to low water levels. From there they took a train to Keokuk, boarded the Hawkeye State, reached St. Louis on the 20th, left by rail the next day and arrived in Rolla, Missouri, on the 22nd. Company Muster Rolls were taken bimonthly and indicated the presence or absence of the soldier as of the last day of the period. David was “present” on October 31st at Salem, December 31st at Houston and February 28th at Iron Mountain but, in each instance, was marked “sick in quarters.”

They reached the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River on March 11th and made camp on a ridge north of town. By then, General Grant was planning a campaign to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg, a city that, together with Port Hudson, kept that segment of the river out of Union hands and permitted Confederate soldiers and supplies to cross unimpeded. The Ste. Genevieve regiments were transported downstream to Milliken’s Bend where Grant’s 30,000 man army was being organized. Assigned to a corps under General John McClernand, the regiment started a movement south along the west side of the river - walking on muddy roads, wading through swamps and being transported over numerous bayous.

David Robinson was with the regiment as they passed Richmond, Cholula and New Carthage and, on April 23, 1863, when they camped on John Perkins’ Somerset plantation. The able-bodied continued their march, but the April 30th muster roll said David had been admitted to a division hospital at Somerset. From there, he was transported north for better treatment and was hospitalized at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis when he died on August 4th from the debilitating effects of chronic diarrhea. David and several other members of the regiment are buried in the National Cemetery at the barracks. A week after her husband’s death, Sally appointed attorney Thomas W. J. Long to go to St. Louis to retrieve any personal effects and, on the 19th, Thomas signed a receipt for a gold pen and case, a wool blanket, a vest, a pair of socks, a blouse, a hat, a jackknife, a pair of boots, two pairs of pants and $29.05 cash.

The following month, on September 23, 1863, Sally married thirty-year-old widower George Redhead at the home of Jacob and Rohana Howard in Pony Hollow near Elkader. George had been married to Ann Rowe but, in 1861, in a span of fewer than six months, Ann and both of their children (one-year-old and two-month-old sons) died. All three are buried in Garnavillo Cemetery.

Charles Robinson also died young, but Viola and Carra, their mother and her new husband soon “settled on a farm they had purchased two miles south-west of Postville.” Due to her remarriage, Sally was not eligible for a widow’s pension but, on November 23, 1863, she signed an affidavit requesting a pension for “Viola and Carra May Robinson.” Her request was supported by David’s captain, Elisha Boardman (who recalled that David had become sick due to exposure and hardships “and never done duty afterwards”) and by others who signed affidavits attesting to Sally’s marriage to David and the birth of Viola and Carra. A monthly pension of $8.00 was granted retroactive to the day after their father’s death. Two years later, saying she was a resident of Grand Meadow Township in Clayton County but with a post office address in Postville, Sally applied for an increase which was soon granted.

On October 5, 1864, George Redhead enlisted in the military. He was mustered in as a new recruit in Company C of the 13th Regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry and, for a second time, Sally “was put to the task of managing the farm and caring for the home while awaiting the return of her husband.” He was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky, on July 21, 1865, and discharged at Davenport on the 29th.

George resumed his farming career, but needed frequent medical treatment. Dr. B. H. “Doc” Hinkly, a physician in Clermont, recalled that he had first treated George on August 9, 1865, only eleven days after his discharge. George was then in a “very bad condition being reduced very low & his mind somewhat defective his Diorrhoea had reduced him to the lowest.” Dr. William Lewis of Clermont treated George in 1883 and “gave him office advice for an attack of acute albuminuria.” George’s “urgent symptoms gave way readily, but convalescence was slow, and he was in a debilitated condition.” Dr. Luther Brown of Postville also treated George and noted that “he successfully conducts a large farm.” James Roll who did George’s blacksmithing recalled that George was “a very stout active man” before enlisting, but was “frequently confined to his bed” after being discharged. H. D. Angell said George was “not expected to live” when he first came home.

Despite his health issues, it was not until February 3, 1886, that George finally applied for an invalid pension. Indicating he was a resident of Grand Meadow Township, he said he was suffering from chronic diarrhoea incurred in the military. Government records confirmed his service and illness, but did not reflect any diagnosis or medical treatment. A Board of Pension surgeons said he appeared well-nourished and muscular and no pension was awarded. Like most veterans, George persisted. There were more affidavits and another examination and finally, on April 18, 1887, a certificate was issued providing for $8.00 per month.

In addition to the three children (Viola, Charles and Carra) that she had with David, Sally had another four (George Lincoln, Lillian B., Anna and Sadie Grace) with George.
Carra married Hiram Booth on August 26, 1886, but the next year became ill and Sally went to care for her. Sally returned home on December 10th thinking Carra was improving but, later that month, Carra died and was buried as “Carrie M. Booth.” Hiram then married her half-sister, Lillian.

Sadie Grace Redhead died in 1912 and was buried as “Sadie G. Eckard.” Her father, George Redhead, died on January 3, 1914. Sally’s oldest daughter, Viola, married twice, died on February 16, 1926, and was buried as “Viola A. deEnos.” Sally died on December 12, 1928, while living with Anna at1461 West Lake Street, Minneapolis. Sally, Carra, Viola, Sadie and George are all buried in Postville Cemetery. Sally was survived by three children from her second marriage - George Lincoln Redhead, Lillian B. (Redhead) Booth and Anna (Redhead) Spurling.


Robinson, John J.
John J. Robinson was born in Richland County in upstate New York. By 1859 he was living in Colesburg, Iowa. A year later he was in Buffalo Grove. In January 1862 he moved to Strawberry Point where, on August 13, 1862, he was enrolled by William Grannis in what would be Company D of the state's 21st regiment of volunteer infantry. The Muster-in Roll said he was a twenty-eight-year-old farmer with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion.

On August 22nd, the company was mustered in at Camp Franklin in Dubuque with a total complement of ninety-seven men (officers and enlisted). On September 9th, ten companies were mustered into federal service as a regiment and, on a rainy September 16th, those able to travel walked through town and, at the foot of Jones Street, boarded the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started south. Downstream they transferred to the Hawkeye State and, about 10:00 a.m. on the 20th, they arrived in St. Louis where they spent one night at Benton Barracks before traveling by rail to Rolla. They camped most of the time a few miles southwest of town where there was good spring water, but on October 18th started the first of many long marches. The next day they arrived jn Salem where, on the 31st, John was "sick in quarters." From Salem they walked to Houston and then Hartville where they were dependent on supplies brought by wagon train from the railhead in Rolla.

On November 24th, teamsters and guards taking supplies to Hartville camped for the night along Beaver Creek. That evening, some were tending to the horses, others were finishing dinner and some were foraging in the nearby woods when they were.attacked and quickly overwhelmed. One man was shot in the chest and killed. Two others were mortally wounded. Sixteen men, three of whom had been wounded, were taken prisoner and paroled. Among the wounded was John Robinson who was one of the guards. John sustained a gunshot wound to "the left side of the crown of the head" (the "left parietal eminence") and was "rendered insensible." He was taken to the regimental hospital in Hartville where, said Strawberry Point's Joseph Baker, "I washed his wound and did all I could for him."

John was with the regiment when it moved back to the more secure confines of Houston, but was still convalescing and remained behind when the regiment started for West Plains on January 26th. Several weeks later he caught up but was sick "in quarters" at Iron Mountain and then hospitalized for 'febris remittens" (malaria) and pneumonia. He returned to duty on July 19, 1863, duringthe brief siege at Jackson, Mississippi, and was with the regiment when it moved farther south and camped at Carrollton. There, on September 5th, he was granted a thirty-day medical furlough to go north. He reached his Clayton County home on the 18th, but was late returning to the regiment. "I left home Feb 3d 1864 to report to my Company and Reg't was detained at Dubuque Iowa five days waiting transportation which I received from Provost Marshal at Dubuque Iowa to report at Davenport Iowa where I arrived about the 9th of Feb 1864 and was detained there by order of Surgeon in Charge until the 12th Clay of March 1864, I there received transportation and reported to my Company March 26th 1864" at Matagorda Island, Texas. He said he had, for a long time, been "unable to travail and regularly forwarded Surgeon's certificates stating that such were the facts." Lieutenant William Grannis confirmed receipt of the certificates from Dr. Clark Rawson and John was reinstated without loss of pay or allowances.

John was able to maintain his health during the balance of the regiment's service on the Gulf Coast of Texas and, subsequently, in southwestern Louisiana, on the White River of Arkansas and in Memphis. On January 17, 1865, the regiment was camped near New Orleans on low ground at Oakland, the Kenner family's old sugar plantation, when George Brownell said he and John Robinson "took a walk back acrost the plantation to the woods distance two miles we got a lot of boards together and built a little raft and run it near camp and then got team to haul it up for us. We gave our officers the moste of it to build a flour up." On the 22nd, Emerson Reed joined them when they "took a long walk in the forenoon."

In February, they were transported down the Mississippi and eastward across the Gulf to Dauphin Island on the west side of the entrance to Mobile Bay. On March 19th, after crossing to Mobile Point, they started a very difficult movement north along the east side of the bay and, said Lieutenant Cooley, "the command suffered terribly from exposure, rain and mud." Already suffering from a "lame back," John was among thousands of men working, sometimes in torrential rain, to drag trees and logs through swamps and marshes to make many miles of corduroy roads. Often, said George Crooke, "the first trains passing over would bury the logs out of sight, and the process had to be repeated two or three times." John caught a severe cold and the hard work affected his lungs, but he continued on duty throughout the Mobile campaign and subsequent service along the Red River in Louisiana where George Brownell said he, John Robinson, Emerson Reed and Duane Grannis "went hunting for bees but did not have any luck."

They were mustered out of service at Baton Rouge on July 15, 1865, and discharged at Clinton on July 24th. Initially, John went to Brush Creek and lived with John and Mary Carothers "during the fall and winter and during the year 1866" and the men worked together "at the business of burning lime." John also worked as a farmer but, in 1870, he, Frank Billgham, and John and Mary Carothers moved to the Dakota Territory where they lived near Springfield.

On December 15, 1873, John applied for a government pension. Pensions at that time required a veteran to show he was, to some extent, unable to perform manual labor due to a service-related disability. Saying he was a healthy man before the war, John referred to the head wound he sustained eleven years earlier and said he was now "frequently attacked with vertigo & partial loss of vision." John Carothers recalled that they had worked together "wood choping shoveling dirt and in the hearvest field" before the war, but now John was "troubled with lame back and lung and throat disease." Surgeons in West Union found a scar and 'some indentation of the bone" and felt John was entitled to a pension.

In an April 1874 affidavit, John declared "that he is married; that is wife's name was Clarinda Smith, to whom he was married at Taylorsville Iowa" and said he was now "almost wholly disabled from obtaining his subsistence from manual labor." In subsequent affidavits (all signed by mark), he said he also had a lame back and kidney problems due to a cold Missouri winter during the first year of his service. Several comrades signed supportive affidavits and Gilbert Cooley, then living in Strawberry Point, recalled the Beaver Creek attack and that during the winter John "became lame in his back with kidney affection." The Pension Office investigated the claim, but made no decision and, in July, 1877, John moved back to Brush Creek. In 1879, he again applied for a pension and, this time, also referred to the difficult Mobile campaign when he said he "contracted lung and throat disease from which he has never recovered. "In an 1881 affidavit, John's father, Thomas Robinson, said John was healthy before the war ("always able to do any kind of hard labor: such as choping wood, working in the hearvest field, or working in the ground with a shovel"), but not after being discharged with a cough, shortness and lame back (when he was unable "to do hard manual labor and more than half the time has been unable to do any kind of labor more than light chores").

Subsequent to his discharge, John said "that he doctored himself, was poor, had no money to pay doctor bills, that his mother was living then, that she was a good nurse and made remedies in the shape 'of salves and liniments, that he used them for his lame back, cough, throat and lungs." In the Dakota Territory he was treated by Dr. Thomas Eagle and in Brush Creek by Dr. T. M. Sabin. Dr. Sabin said he had become the family physieian soon after John returned from the Dakota Territory. Suffering from lumbago and chronic bronchitis "which almost totally disabled him," John was sometimes "confined to the house for several days." A certificate of October 11, 1880, awarded $2.00 monthly, an amount later increased to $8.00, $12.00 and finally to $30.00 he was receiving when he died on January 18, 1904. John Robinson is buried in Arlington Cemetery in Fayette County as are John and Mary Carothers.


Rogers, Jabez S. 'Jabe'
Jabez S. Rogers was born in Preble County, Ohio, in about 1830 and married Sarah J. Reeves (aka Reeve) who had been born in Ohio in about 1839. Internet sources indicate their first three children, all born in Iowa, were Fremont (about 1859), Almina (about 1860) and Heenen born in McGregor on September 9, 1861, when Iowa's 1st Infantry was already in the field. With President Lincoln having called for 300,000 more men to fight an increasingly devastating war, thirty-two year old Jabez, then working as a carpenter, was one of many in Clayton County who answered the call. On August 12, 1862, he was enrolled at McGregor as a 5th Corporal by Willard Benton. On August 18th he was mustered in with Company G and, on September 9th, when all ten companies were of sufficient strength, they were mustered in as the 21st Regiment of Iowa's volunteer infantry.

With a wife and three young children at home, Jabez, called "Jabe" by his friends, left Dubuque on September 16, 1862 for three years "or the war." In lieu of dog tags used in later wars, Civil War soldiers had a Descriptive Book and Jabez was described as being 5' 9" tall with brown eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion. The regiment went first to St. Louis and then, by rail, to Rolla, Missouri, for a month. There were eight ranks of Corporal, but rank was apparently not for Jabez and, on September 30th, at his request, he was reduced to Private and Brad Talcott was promoted from 6th Corporal to take his place.

While in Houston, Missouri, on January 9, 1863, word was received that a federal garrison in Springfield was threatened by a Confederate force moving north from Arkansas. A relief force including 262 men from the 21st Iowa was assembled and left on the "double quick.” To hasten the march, wagons carried many of their backpacks, arms and other accouterments and men took turns riding where space permitted. Alonzo Cole, a prewar tailor from McGregor, later described how "the mules were driven by one Jabez Rogers and going down hill struck a bowlder which threw us up in the wagon, the soldier sitting opposite me brought the hammer of his gun down on my knee pan cutting clear to the bone on my right leg." A day-long battle was fought at Hartville on January 11th, but the Descriptive Book doesn’t indicate if Jabez participated.

At West Plains, Missouri, on February 1, 1863, Jabez was again detailed as a teamster and he served in that capacity as the regiment moved northeast, a movement that his comrades said was particularly hard on the teamsters -"mules and wagons, guns and caissons, were constantly mired'' -"details of men with ropes and chains being constantly employed to pull them out." After a twelve-mile march, laden with muskets and knapsacks, they reached Thomasville in mid-afternoon on February 9th, but the teams were well behind and supper was delayed until almost 11:00 p.m. Passage of wagons, artillery and ambulances had been almost impossible. Roads were "so bad that six mules can hardly draw an empty waggon." They reached the Mississippi at the old French town of Ste. Genevieve and it was there, on March 25th, that Jabez was relieved of his teamster duties.

From Ste. Genevieve they went south by transport to Milliken's Bend where General Grant was organizing a massive three-corps army to capture Vicksburg. They were assigned to a corps led by General John McClernand and then walked, and waded, and slowly made their way south through bayous and swamps west of the river. Men suffered greatly. Many became sick and were left behind. On April 24, 1863, suffering from chronic diarrhea, Jabez was sent to a hospital on Joshua James' Ione Plantation near New Carthage.

Jabez was later moved to Judge Perkins' Ashwood Plantation and eventually rejoined the regiment on the siege line around the rear of Vicksburg, but he was still not well. Jabez said he stayed only “a little while when I was again sent to the Hospital about three miles in rear of Vicksburg suffering from a bloody flux. I remained there two weeks when I returned to the Regiment and confined there until the fall of Vicksburg.” The city surrendered on July 4th and the regiment then participated in a pursuit of Confederate Joe Johnston to Jackson, but Jabez and many others remained behind in a field hospital. From the 4th to the 24th, eleven men died from illness, at least six of whom were suffering from the same ailment as Jabez. When the regiment returned:

“they took me into the Regimental Hospital in front of Vicksburg where I stayed until I was put on board the Hospital Boat “Nashville” and taken to ‘Jefferson Barracks’ Missouri. Thence I was sent to Keokuk, Iowa Hospital No. 1, the Estes House, where I stayed about six months.”

Jabez was admitted to the Estes House on August 21, 1863, by which time the regiment had left Vicksburg and moved farther south. One of his comrades still with the regiment was Company B’s Jim Bethard who wrote frequent letters to his wife in Grand Meadow. On October 2nd, Jim wrote that "Jabe Rogers was sent up the river sick before we left Vicksburg and I have not heard from him since." It would be mid-April, 1864, before Jabez was able to rejoin the regiment in Texas, but, from then on, he was able to maintain his health and was marked “present” on all subsequent bimonthly company muster rolls. During that time he saw service on Matagorda Island in Texas, on the White River in Arkansas, and in Alabama during the campaign to occupy the city of Mobile. They were mustered out at Baton Rouge on July 15, 1865 and, the next morning, boarded the Lady Gay and started north.

After Jabez was discharged at Clinton on July 24th, the Rogers family lived in Lansing for a short time before settling in McGregor. Their four children born after the war were Orris U. (about 1866), William H. (about 1869), Edith M. (about 1873) and Eva M. (about 1877). Jabez found work as a painter, but his wartime illness continued "unabated." By 1878, he said he was "so disabled and decrepit" that he could no longer work or "obtain a livelihood." Naming Prairie du Chien attorney L. F. S. Viele as legal counsel, he applied for an invalid pension. A doctor testified that Jabez still suffered from chronic diarrhea, "has never recovered therefrom, is at this present time afflicted with the same, so much so as to incapacitate him from labor." William Crooke, former regimental Major, knew Jabez well and confirmed the wartime suffering. A pension was granted and Jabez was receiving $17.00 monthly, payable quarterly, when he died on May 27, 1894. He is buried in Copp Cemetery, Anson, Wisconsin.


Rogman, John
John Rogman was born in the grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in northern Germany on November 5, 1843. He “arrived in the United States of America April 1861 and located at Garnavillo.” That was the same month that Southern guns fired on Fort Sumter. Despite the perilous time of his arrival, the Clayton County Journal wasn’t concerned “because it is not worth while. There are men enough in Pennsylvania alone to subdue South Carolina without the aid of Iowa volunteers.”

During his first year in the county John worked on the farm of Frederick Reuter but, in the spring of 1862, he moved to National where he worked for Oliver Crary. By then, the Civil War was a year old and it escalated throughout the summer. In the fall, President Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers to augment the thousands who had already enlisted. Governor Kirkwood was confident that Iowa would meet its quota, but enlistments started slowly as many were busy with the fall harvest and Northern enthusiasm that anticipated a quick end to the war had faded. Enlistments accelerated when more favorable federal and local bounties provided a financial incentive that let soldiers better care for families they would be leaving behind. On August 10, 1862, giving his residence as National, John was in McGregor when he was enrolled by attorney William Crooke in what would be Company B of the 21st Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

The regiment was mustered into service at Dubuque on September 9th and left for war on the 16th. Crowded on board the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, they went down the Mississippi and, after a brief layover at Rock Island and a transfer to the Hawkeye State at Keokuk, arrived in St. Louis on the 20th. The next night they traveled by rail to Rolla. For almost seven more months their service would remain in Missouri - Rolla, Salem, Houston, Hartville, back to Houston, south to West Plains and then northeast through Thomasville and Ironton and into the small French town of Ste. Genevieve. From there they were taken downstream to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing an army to capture Vicksburg. The regiment was assigned to a corps led by General John McClernand and, on April 12th, started south on the west side of the river. After walking along small roads, wading through swamps with muskets held high and sometimes being transported across bayous, those still able for duty crossed to the east bank on April 30, 1863.

They went ashore at the small Bruinsburg landing and started inland with the 21st Iowa Infantry as the point regiment at the head of the entire Union army. Led by a former slave, they walked slowly inland until fired on about midnight. Due to darkness, the firing was brief but on May 1st John Rogman participated with the regiment in the one-day Battle of Port Gibson. He was present on the 16th when they were held in reserve during the battle at Champion’s Hill and participated on May 17th when the 21st and 23rd Iowa Infantries led an assault that routed the enemy at the Big Black River. He then participated in a May 22nd assault on the railroad redoubt at Vicksburg.

During the ensuing siege, men kept heads low behind hills and breastworks during the day and, when not on duty, tried to rest in a hollow at the base of a steep hill behind the line. It was mid-June, John said, when “I along with some others was detailed to carry cartridge boxes from Army wagon in a hollow to camp up on the side of the hill. It was after it had been raining. The ground being slippery I fell and the cartridge box fell on me.” It fell “on my stomach & fore parts causing a rupture of the right side of the testicles.” John didn’t want to go to a hospital but, in early August was granted a thirty-day furlough and returned to Clayton Center. He rejoined the regiment on September 14, 1863, at Brashear City, Louisiana.

He remained on duty during the balance of its service in Louisiana followed by almost six months along the gulf coast of Texas. After returning to Louisiana in June, 1864, John became ill. For a month starting on August 21st he received continuous treatment for diarrhea (an ailment that killed at least sixty-four of his comrades) followed by fever and hospitalization at Morganza and New Orleans. In the spring of 1865 he accompanied the regiment to Dauphin Island in Alabama but a month after arrival was hospitalized at Fort Gaines. With the war nearing an end, John was mustered out on June 15, 1865, a month before the regiment’s other original enlistees.

After returning to Garnavillo, he worked as a farmer and then, still with health problems, for Schroeder & Kuenzel at Valley Mills “at $13.00 per month. mens wages then was $25.00 per month. they considered me only half a hand.” He then moved to Clayton Center and, in exchange for board, worked for an uncle, Joe Bahlke. That was followed by moves to National, back to Clayton Center and then to Elkader where he lived with a brother-in-law, Fritz Tiede, and then with John Becker, a soon-to-be brother-in-law. John said he then “bought a Stable Horse with money I saved while in the army and took care of the horse for about two years.”

On March 7, 1868, twenty-four-year-old John was married to nineteen-year-old Wilhelmina “Minnie” Becker in Garnavillo by Fr. Rentzch, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Minnie, like John, had emigrated from the Mecklenburg-Schwerin area of Germany. After their marriage, John “rented a small farm from Wm Koss” but, due to his rupture, had to “hire the heavey work done.” He “then bought a small brush farm near Clayton, Clayton Co. Ia. and moved onto it in the fall of 1869 and remained there up to the fall of 1880.” Advised to go west for his health, he moved 400 miles to Otoe County, Nebraska, and then to the town of Orchard in Antelope County.

On March 17, 1884, he applied for an invalid pension. In “sound physical health” when he enlisted, John said he was now “at times disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries” and recurring health problems. A pension surgeon agreed that John was at least half disabled, but the government wanted more evidence that it said was not forthcoming. The process went on for months and then years as John signed more affidavits, changed attorneys, and secured supportive affidavits from two neighbors and from former comrades David Drummond and William Lyons, but finally, on July 2, 1891, he was awarded $12.00 per month retroactive to when his application had been received seven years earlier. With affidavits from two more comrades, Othmar Kapler and surgeon William Orr, he applied for an increase that was granted at $18.00 monthly.

As he got older and continued with farm work, his health worsened. A doctor testified that John had a “double inguinal hernia. Left can be retained by Truss and Right side is almost impossible to Retain.” When the laws changed to permit age-based pensions, John was quick to apply but there was a problem. On the application he signed in 1884, he failed to notice that the person writing it had given 1844 as John’s birth year. As a result, the government said he’d have to wait another year before applying. John said it was a clerical error and submitted what he thought was good evidence, including what a witness said was an accurate transcription from John’s baptism record on which a German pastor had given the birth year as 1843. The government wasn’t convinced, but the pension was eventually increased several times and John was receiving $72.00 when he died on May 13, 1922. He is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery in Orchard.

The following month, signing as “Minnie,” John’s widow applied for a pension, giving the date and place of their marriage and saying they had continued to live together as husband and wife until his death. Two Nebraska witnesses who had known them for many years also said Minnie and John had lived as husband and wife, but that wasn’t good enough for examiners who noted that the witnesses hadn’t known John and Minnie long enough to know if they had married. In October a more receptive Deputy Commissioner commented that “German Lutherans are not noted for loose morals” and a pension was granted. Minnie died on December 14, 1927, and is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery where her stone gives her name as “Mina.”

John and Minnie had three children, all boys. F. William Rogman was born on January 27, 1869, and died on August 5, 1893, at twenty-four years of age. Edward Rogman was born on April 28, 1876, and was only eight years old when he died on June 20, 1884. The middle boy, John Rogman Jr., was born on May 22, 1874, and was still living in 1922, but the date of his death is unknown.


Ruff, Francis Burdett
Dates of births, marriages and deaths, and even names and places, often vary irreconcilably in available records, nowhere more so than with Francis B. 'Frank' Ruff. He was apparently born on January 10, 1822 (based on the age given at death) in (according to his Muster-in Roll) Wayne County, Michigan. Mary Jane Harding was born December 1, 1825. On September 17, 1843, in Parma, Michigan, they were married.

According to Francis in postwar pension documents, children born before the war were Frank Edward Ruff (born July 25, 1844, Dixon, Iowa), Mary Ann Ruff (born March 13, 1847, Coldwater, Iowa), Sophia Ruff (born March 16, 1850, Lodomillo Township, Clayton County, Iowa), and Joseph Ruff (born September 24, 1858, Clayton County, Iowa).

On April 12, 1861, Southern guns fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Frank was thirty-nine years old. His oldest son, Frank Edward, was sixteen, but his age was listed as eighteen and his residence as Davis, Illinois, when he enlisted on August 15, 1861, in the 26th Illinois Infantry.

In Iowa, on July 9, 1862, Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments as part of the President's call for 300,000 three-year men. If the state's quota wasn't raised by August 15th, it "would be made up by draft" but, despite the Governor's confidence, enlistments started slowly. Farmers were busy with the fall harvest, the war was more serious than anticipated, enthusiasm had waned, and "disloyal sentiment was rampant in some parts of the State." All men between eighteen and forty-five were listed in preparation for a possible draft. Initially, a $100 Federal enlistment bounty was to be paid when the soldier completed his term but, on July 7th, Congress agreed, at Secretary Seward's request, that $25 could be paid in advance, the balance on honorable discharge. A $2.00 premium would be paid to anyone who secured a recruit, or to the recruit himself if he appeared in person. Local meetings were held, enlistments continued and an Iowa draft was not required.

On August 15, 1862, Francis B. Ruff answered the call when he enlisted at McGregor in what would be Company B with Elkader resident Elisha Boardman as Captain. They were mustered in as a company on August 15th and as a regiment on September 9th, both in Dubuque. Francis was described as being thirty-nine years old (which doesn't correlate with the calculated date of birth), 5 feet 7 inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a light complexion. Like other enlistees, he was paid a $25 advance on the enlistment bounty and a $2.00 premium. His salary as a private would be $13.00 monthly.

On board the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, they left Dubuque on September 16, 1862 and, almost immediately, Francis was detailed as a teamster for Quartermaster Charles Morse. While serving in that capacity at Hartville, Missouri, he was with a wagon train that was sent to the railhead in Rolla for supplies. On their return, they were only a few miles from Hartville on November 24, 1862, when they camped for the night next to Beaver Creek. That evening, while most were relaxing or finishing their dinner, they were attacked by a mounted force of Confederate guerillas and quickly overwhelmed. George Chapman of Company D was killed immediately, while Philip Wood and Cyrus Henderson were mortally wounded. Another three suffered non-fatal wounds and thirteen were captured. Their attackers took as many provisions and weapons as they could carry, destroyed the rest, burned the wagons, paroled the prisoners, and quickly left. Francis Ruff was one of the prisoners.

Francis continued to serve with the Quartermaster as a teamster and wagon master for the balance of the regiment’s service in Missouri: Houston, West Plains, Thomasville, Ironton, Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve where they arrived on March, 11, 1863. Twelve days later, more than 500 miles to the north, Mary Jane gave birth to another child, Maude G. Ruff in Black River Falls, Wisconsin.

On April 30, 1863, they crossed the Mississippi to Bruinsburg and started a march inland. As they got farther and farther away from the river, away from their base of supplies, the Quartermaster's burdens increased as wagon loads of supplies had to be brought longer and longer distances. In June, as the Vicksburg Campaign was nearing an end, Francis became ill and was sent north to St. Louis to try to regain his health. He was still there in September but, on the October 31, 1863 muster roll, was again marked "present" with the regiment.

On November 27, 1863, immediately after the regiment landed on St. Joseph's Island in Texas, Francis was detached from the regiment and again assigned to duty as teamster. Their tour along the Gulf Coast lasted until mid-June and, except for an incident when five members of the regiment were captured near Green Lake, was largely uneventful. Texas and opportunities to do some beach-combing, swim in salt water and gather shells were initially interesting, but eventually soldiers became bored and wished they were in a more active arena where they might help bring the war to an end. Even Colonel Merrill referred to their duty at "Matagorda Island Texas, as guardians of the sacred drifting sands of Texas.”

In early June, Francis was tending to his duties as a teamster when, said Surgeon William Orr, Francis "received a kick from a mule which caused a transverse fracture of the right patella - that I was Surgeon of the 21st Iowa Vols at that time and that said Francis B. Ruff was under my care and treatment for said fracture." Soon thereafter they were back in Louisiana and Francis was granted a furlough to go north to recuperate. He returned in October, continued his duties as a wagon master, and was with the regiment during the balance of its service in Louisiana and Arkansas and in Alabama during the campaign to occupy Mobile.
On July 15, 1865, Francis was present when they were mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Five days later his son, having earlier reenlisted as a veteran volunteer, was mustered out of the 26th Illinois Infantry at Louisville, Kentucky.

While living in Lenora, Kansas, in 1880, Francis applied for an invalid pension and said “while getting up some vicious mules and harnessing them one of them kicked me on my right knee & cut it so that the knee water runs out and my leg is weak & I am lame.” It took three years but, on June 19, 1883, a certificate was mailed entitling Francis to a pension of $4.00 monthly.

They were still living in Kansas when Mary Jane died on April 27, 1885. She is buried in Lenora East Cemetery, Lenora. Francis applied many times for an increase to his pension based on a hearing problem and the knee disability that he said was worsening, but it was January 14, 1888, before a new certificate was issued, this one for $6.00 monthly. This was increased to $8.00 in a certificate issued July 12, 1889.

Francis’s second wife was Lydia Cunningham, a war widow whose first husband, Richard Cunningham, had served with Francis in Company D. He died in 1876. Francis and Lydia were married in 1885. Lydia died in 1891 and is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Volga, Iowa.

By 1896, Francis was living in San Diego when he married Mary Ann Tiffin, a native of England, on October 25, 1898, in the city’s First Congregational Church. Francis died on January 31, 1907 (according to his widow), February 2, 1907 (according to a government Pension Agent) or February 3, 1907 (according to an obituary). The obituary published on February 4th in the San Diego Union newspaper also said, contrary to the Muster-in Roll, that he was born in New York: "Ruff - In this city Feb 3, 1907, Francis Ruff of Grantville, a native of New York aged 85 years and 24 days."

Mary Ann died on May 9, 1914. They're buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, San Diego. Francis’ son, Frank Edward Ruff, died in 1921 and is buried in the Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles.


Russell, Enos M.
Enos Russell was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. Julia Ann Farr was born in Wabash County, Indiana. On December 8, 1859 (the same year that John Brown and his follows attacked federal facilities at Harper’s Ferry), Enos and Julia were married in Garnavillo by Rev. Fortner C. Mather, a descendant of New England’s Puritan minister Cotton Mather. A son, William Edward Russell, was born February 16, 1862, ten months after Southern guns fired on Fort Sumter.

War followed and quickly escalated. On July 9, 1862, Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments as part of the President’s call for 300,000 three-year men. If the state’s quota wasn’t raised by August 15th, it "would be made up by draft.” As an incentive, men enlisting voluntarily would receive a $100.00 bounty, $25.00 when mustered and the balance on completion of their service with an honorable discharge.

One of the state’s new regiments was to be raised in the “third congressional district, consisting of Dubuque, Delaware, Clayton, Fayette, Bremer, Chickasaw, Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Worth, Mitchell, Howard, Winneshiek, and Allamakee counties.” In Clayton County, Elisha Boardman and William Grannis were especially active in recruiting members for what would be Company D of the state's 21st regiment of volunteer infantry and it was Elisha who enrolled Enos Russell on August 14, 1862, at Elkader.

The Company Muster-in Roll dated at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin on September 9, 1862, described Enos as having blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion. At 6' ” he was about four inches taller than the average height of men in the regiment. On September 16th they marched into the city and, at the foot of Jones Street, boarded the tightly packed sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started south.

Due to low water at Montrose, they transferred to the Hawkeye State, spent one night in St. Louis and then traveled by rail to Rolla with Enos serving as an acting company teamster. They left Rolla on October 18th and started the first of many long marches - going first to Salem, then Houston and then Hartville. While there they were dependent on supplies brought by wagon trains from the railhead in Rolla. The wagons typically “carried 4,500 pounds of freight at two and a half miles per hour when conditions were favorable,” but even with less weight winter weather and bad roads made the round trip a slow one. On the night of November 24th, teamsters and guards stopped for the night along Beaver Creek and were just finishing dinner when attacked by a much larger force of enemy cavalry. Quickly overwhelmed, one man was killed and two were fatally wounded. Wounded slightly in the head, Enos was one of three who suffered non-fatal wounds.

Recognizing their vulnerability in Hartville, Colonel Merrill moved the regiment back to the more secure confines of Houston. On January 11, 1863, an estimated 262 members of the regiment participated in a one-day battle back at Hartville. After being reconstituted in Houston, the regiment left for West Plains on January 27th. From there, they walked to Ironton, Iron Mountain and into the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River where they arrived on March 11th. Starting on March 26th, companies were transported downstream to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large army to capture Vicksburg.

After walking south along the west side of the river, they crossed from Disharoon’s Plantation to Bruinsburg on the east bank on April 30th. With the 21st Infantry at the head of the army, Lieutenant Colonel Dunlap led a small patrol positioned even farther in front. In darkness, they walked slowly along a dirt road, followed by the balance of the infantry, light artillery and the teamsters and wagons. Those able for duty participated in the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1st, were present but held in reserve during the May 16th Battle of Champion’s Hill and participated in an assault at the Big Black River on the 17th and another at Vicksburg on the 22nd. Enos was reported “present” the entire time and throughout the siege that ended on July 4th, but his Descriptive Book does not indicate that he participated in any of the engagements during the Vicksburg campaign or the earlier fight at Hartville. This is possibly because, if he was still serving as a teamster, he was detailed to care for the horses and wagons that usually traveled behind the marchers.

After the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4th, most joined General Sherman in a pursuit of Confederate Joe Johnston to Jackson before returning to Vicksburg and going downstream to Carrollton on the outskirts of New Orleans. While it does not appear on any of his bimonthly muster rolls, Enos was apparently granted a furlough in August. On September 6th, in Elkader, Dr. J. A. Blanchard (who would later enlist in a 100-day regiment), H. S. Granger (who had published the county’s first newspaper) and Jacob Nicklaus (who had served as the county’s Treasurer and Recorder) signed a letter indicating Enos was “still unfit for military duty in consequence of diarrhoea for which he received his furlough.”

Enos rejoined the regiment in time to go with it to Texas where it served along the Gulf Coast. On May 23, 1864, as the regiment was preparing for a return to Louisiana, Enos was detailed for “boat duty” on Matagorda Island. After returning from Texas he received a promotion to 8th Corporal on August 31st, a promotion to 7th Corporal on October 31st and, the next day, an unexplained reduction to the ranks by order of Lieutenant Colonel Van Anda.

In December, while they were stationed in Memphis, Enos was admitted to the city’s Overton General Hospital. Medical treatment for an undisclosed ailment continued for several months but, on the morning of April 28, 1865, he was ordered back to the regiment. Perhaps not wanting to return or possibly knowing alcohol was prohibited in camp, he spent part of the day drinking. By evening, he was intoxicated. When he resisted a Provost Guard, Enos was shot in the chest and killed. He was buried the next day and is now in the Memphis National Cemetery.

On October 30, 1865, Julia Russell signed a Widow’s Declaration for Pension recounting Enos’ service and death, their marriage almost six years earlier, the birth of their son, and that she had not remarried. Representing her was twenty-five-year old attorney Realto Price who, that same month, married Sarah Stewart and, in another fifty-one years would serve as Editor of the 1916 History of Clayton County. Realto sent Julia’s application and a copy of her marriage record to the Pension Office in Washington. The Adjutant General’s Office reviewed its files and noted that Enos was reported as “shot dead by Provost Guard at Memphis Tenn April 28" 1865.” No further action was taken and the application was considered abandoned, perhaps because Julia had remarried soon after submitting her application.

She married William L. Smith in Freeborn County, Minnesota, but he died on January 8, 1880. More than thirty-five years later, on September 8, 1916, Congress enacted a law that permitted “any widow . . . whose name was placed . . . on the pension roll . . . and whose name has been . . . dropped from said pension roll by reason of marriage to another person who has since died . . . shall be entitled to have her name again placed on the pension roll.” On June 1, 1917, while living in Ellendale, Minnesota, seventy-nine-year-old Julia applied for a “remarried widow’s pension.” Since she had not been previously placed on the pension roll, she did not seem to be eligible, but Enos’ military record was reviewed. On September 1, 1917, the Commissioner wrote and advised Julia that her claim was “rejected on the ground that your former husband, the soldier, was never discharged from his only alleged contract of service.”

No more information has been found regarding Julia or her son, William Edward Russell.


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