IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
updated 05/27/2019

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 T - U - V

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.


Talcott, Horace P.
Horace P. Talcott, son of Asa and Caroline (Newcomb) Talcott, was born in Madison, Lake County, Ohio, on April 10, 1835. He married Elizabeth Kemp on July 5, 1857.

While working as a 27-year-old farmer in Clayton County, he was enrolled on August 11, 1862, at Strawberry Point in a company then being raised primarily in Clayton County by local dentist Charles P. Heath. They were mustered in as Company B on August 18, 1862, with Horace described as being 5' 8╝” tall with blue eyes, auburn hair, and a sandy complexion. When all ten companies were of sufficient strength, they were mustered into service on September 9, 1862, at Dubuque, as the 21st Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

A week later they crowded on board the steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed to its side and left for the South. They went first to St. Louis where they were inspected and spent one night before traveling by train to the railhead at Rolla where they arrived on September 22, 1862. On October 18th they started the first of many long marches they would take before their military careers came to an end. They walked to Salem, Houston, Hartville and, after a wagon train was attacked in November, back to Houston. They were still stationed there when ordered to the support of Springfield where an attack by Confederates moving north from Arkansas was expected. Horace was one of twenty-five from Company B who volunteered to join the expedition, but they never made it to Springfield. On the way, at Hartville on January 11, 1863, they engaged the Confederates in a day-long battle with their regiment having three killed in action, one fatally wounded who would die on the 26th, and at least thirteen non-fatally wounded.

Near the end of the month they walked south to West Plains where they arrived on January 30, 1863. Most thought they would continue into Arkansas but, instead, they were ordered to the Mississippi. They moved northeast through Thomasville to Ironton and Iron Mountain and reached the river at the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on March 11th.

The men enjoyed their stay in Ste. Genevieve but, on April 1, 1863, they boarded the Ocean Wave and again headed down the Mississippi, past Memphis, to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a massive army intent on capturing the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg was viewed as the “key” to opening the Mississippi River and the 21st Iowa would play a prominent part in the upcoming campaign. After moving through swamps and bayous west of the river, the army crossed the river on April 30, 1863 to the small landing at Bruinsburg. As the point regiment for the entire Union army, they led the movement inland and, guided along dirt roads by a former slave, they drew first fire about midnight. On May 1, 1863, Horace was with the regiment as it participated in the Battle of Port Gibson, a town that General Grant reputedly said was too beautiful to burn. Regimental casualties were three fatally wounded and fourteen non-fatally wounded.

Horace was also present on May 16, 1863, at the Battle of Champion’s Hill when the regiment was held in reserve by their commanding general, John A. McClernand, and only two companies were permitted to engage in light skirmishing after the battle. William Crooke, Captain of Company B, felt McClernand had been: "spellbound by a show of opposition and the throwing of a few shells from the high ridge in his front caused three of his own divisions and one of Sherman's to stand motionless while another division of his own corps was being slaughtered by wholesale almost if not quite within musket range, but hid from them by dense woods. 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."

Having not participated in the battle on the 16th, the 21st Iowa and others in its brigade, were ordered to the front on the 17th. Nearing the railroad bridge over the Big Black River they encountered entrenched Confederates hoping to keep the bridge open long enough for all their troops to cross. Never one to hesitate, General “Big Mike” Lawler agreed to a bayonet charge. Colonel Merrill shouted to the 21st - "By the left flank, Charge!" Colonel Kinsman ordered the 23d "Forward!" and "his noble regiment sprang forward" over the plain and toward the bayou and the waiting enemy. Some fired their guns; others just ran as fast as they could.

The assault was short, only three minutes, and the Confederates were routed, but the regiment’s casualties were high. Horace Talcott was uninjured in the assault, but seven of his comrades were killed, eighteen were fatally wounded, and thirty-eight were non-fatally wounded. Among them was Colonel Merrill who “fell severely wounded” early in the charge when hit by a ball that passed from right to left through both thighs. The Thompson brothers joined two others “who carried off our beloved Colonel. We laid him beside that noble Christian soldier, Adjutant Howard, who was mortally wounded, fearing that his fate would be the same.” Many of the wounded would stay with the regiment while others would be transported to general hospitals in the north or, like Merrill, to their homes where they could rest and recuperate. Some would be discharged, but others would recover sufficiently to rejoin the regiment later.

Men still able for duty were allowed to rest, bury the dead and treat the wounded, but were soon in position on the line at the rear of Vicksburg. An assault on the 19th, before they arrived, had failed, but General Grant ordered another assault for the 22nd. With 985 men, officers and enlisted, on the muster rolls when the regiment was mustered-in, they were down to 820 on the morning of the 22d, but many were unable to participate. The assault was unsuccessful and the regiment suffered its heaviest casualties of the war: twenty-three killed in action, twelve fatally wounded and at least forty-eight with non-fatal wounds. Horace Talcott had participated in the assault and would remain present during the siege that ended with the city’s surrender. He then joined an immediate pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston and a siege of the capital at Jackson.

Horace maintained his health well during the regiment’s ensuing service in southwest Louisiana, the Gulf coast of Texas, excursions into Arkansas, and the campaign that resulted in the occupation of Mobile, Alabama in the spring of 1865. Returning from Alabama, they arrived in New Orleans on May 28, 1865 and, the same day, Horace was admitted to the city’s Marine Hospital. With the war nearing an end, there was no need for him to return to the regiment and he was mustered out at the hospital on June 5, 1865. Thirty-seven early enlistees were mustered out on the 10th, most recruits who had enlisted after the initial organization of the regiment were transferred on July 12th so they could finish their commitments, and the remained were mustered out on July 15th at Baton Rouge.

Online sources indicate that Horace and Elizabeth had three children, all born after the war: Fred Arthur Talcott on August 13, 1867, and twins “Mertie” and Bert Wallace “Bertie” Talcott in July 1870. Elizabeth died in 1909 and was buried in the Strawberry Point Cemetery. The following year, Horace died on June 22d, and was buried in the same cemetery. Their son, Fred, married Harriett Alice Manchester on June 30, 1892. Less than a month after their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary, Fred died on July 11, 1947, and Harriett died on July 9, 1949. They’re buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery.


Tharp, Jacob M.
Jacob M. Tharp was born in Gallipolis, Ohio, in 1820, moved to Illinois and, in the fall of 1857, to Buena Vista Township, Clayton County, where he worked as a farmer, laborer and “wood chopper.”

On August 12, 1862, the Civil War was in its second year when he was enrolled in the Union Army by McGregor Postmaster Willard Benton. Infantry regiments had ten companies with each company led by a Captain, 1st and 2nd Lieutenants, five ranks of Sergeant, and eight ranks of Corporal. On August 22, 1862, at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin, Company G was mustered into service with Jacob as 1st Corporal and Willard as Captain. The Company Muster-in Roll described Jacob as being forty-two years old, 5 feet 10╝ inches tall with blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. With nine other companies, they were mustered in as Iowa’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry on September 9, 1862.

After another week of mostly ineffective training, they marched through town on a rainy September 16th, crowded on board the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, and left for war. Their initial destination was St. Louis, but the trip took longer than normal. On the 17th, about noon, they were put ashore at Rock Island while the federal government decided what regiments should be sent to Minnesota where there was fighting between the Dakota and local settlers. When the government learned the regiment had already started south, it was allowed to continue and, with flags at half-mast in recognition of the death of Thompson Spottswood who had contracted measles while at Camp Franklin, resumed its journey about 2:00 p.m. on the 18th. On the 19th, Company F’s Walter McNally said they got under way “moved down to Montrose a Towne at the head of the lower rappid we heare had to go a shore againe at about none on the 19th heare we went abord the cares and went by raleroad to Kearkuk.” At Keokuk they boarded the Hawkeye State, continued downstream and on September 20th finally reached St. Louis.

After one night at the city’s Camp Benton, they boarded cars of the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad and, huddled under blankets, were taken to the railroad’s western terminus at Rolla, a town of about 600 residents. From their first camp, said Cyrus Henderson, “wee have to carey our water from one to fore miles and it is bad then it tastes as bad as them pond up thare does.” Officers were aware of the problem with water that "oppressed the senses like the breath of sewers" and, on the morning of the 28th, the camp was moved about five miles southwest of town where there was good spring water.

On October 17th, pursuant to orders from Fitz Henry Warren, reveille was about midnight and, at 2:00 a.m. on October 18th, those able to travel started a march south to Salem. Muster rolls prepared every two months reflected the presence or absence of the soldier on the last day of the bimonthly period together with any interim absences, special duties, furloughs and other events. On the October 31st muster roll taken at Salem, Jacob was marked “present” but hospitalized.

By November 2d, due to deaths, transfers, discharges and three desertions, regimental strength had dropped to 970 from an original 985 when they started a march to Houston. Many on the rolls were too sick to travel, but Jacob continued south with his regiment and, on the December 31st muster roll at Houston, was again marked “present” but hospitalized.

On January 4th, Captain Benton signed a “Certificate of Disability for Discharge” saying that Jacob “has been unfit for duty 61 days. The said Jacob M. Tharp was taken sick while doing camp duty in camp near Rolla Mo. Oct 20th 1862 and has been unable to perform the duties of a soldier since that time and in my opinion never will be if retained in the service.” A surgeon said Jacob had chronic nephritis and lumbago and was “not able to assume erect position either at rest or in walking.” On the 24th, Brigadier General Fitz Henry Warren signed the order of discharge. Jacob was one of nine discharged that day and one of forty-two since the regiment was mustered in four and one-half months earlier.

On March 16, 1875, he filed an application for an invalid pension. Supporting affidavits were signed by former comrades William Flowers from Buena Vista Township, Llewelyn Walker of Millville and McGregor’s Willard Benton, but evidence was conflicting. Benton, in the contemporaneous “Certificate for Disability for Discharge,” had said Jacob became ill while doing “camp duty” at Rolla in October, 1862, and was unable to do any duty after that. When applying for a pension, Jacob said he didn’t become ill until January, 1863, while performing duty and after swimming a stream three times when placing pickets at Houston. Benton then, contrary to the certificate he had signed and on which the discharge was based, said, like Jacob, that the illness occurred in Houston in January.

Regardless of when (October or January), where (Rolla or Houston) and how (doing camp duty or swimming a stream) he had become incapacitated and regardless of whether he had been unable to perform duty since October or was performing duty in January, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Pensions finally agreed he was entitled to a pension of $4.00 monthly for a disability caused by lumbago and chronic nephritis while in the military.

Like most pensioners, Jacob then applied for increases. During the next several years Jacob applied no fewer than nine times for an increase, utilized the services of at least seven different attorneys, signed two more affidavits, secured another sixteen affidavits from people who knew him, and had medical exams in McGregor (four times), Dubuque (six times) and Elkader (once) - all to no avail. Still receiving $4.00 monthly, Jacob died on April 11, 1894, and was buried in Goshen Cemetery, Millville.

Jacob had been married two, possibly three and maybe four times. Pension records and information from a descendant, indicate he first married Catherine Stalnaker (although the spelling of her surname varies) and had two children, Jacob Jr. and Benjamin. Twice-married Fannie Holmes, widow of Benjamin Williams and Peter Holmes (possibly not in that order), said she married Jacob on March 23, 1876. Sarah M. Bliss, another widow, said she married Jacob on November 24, 1893, less than five months before his death - and she had a certificate of marriage to “prove” it - or so it appeared. The fourth wife, if any, has not been identified. Fannie filed a widow’s claim, a special master conducted an investigation, and the government agreed that she was Jacob’s legal widow. Fannie was granted a monthly pension of $8.00.


Thurber, Avery R.
Co D. - Avery's information is included in the biography of his brother Justin.


Thurber, Justin Wells
Frederick G. and Zilpha (Farmer) Thurber, both from Vermont, where living in Ashtabula County, Ohio, when their five children were born. Justin, the oldest, was born on May 19, 1840 and was followed by Avery, Emma, Ezra and Rosanna. In the 1850's, the family moved to Clayton County, Iowa, where Frederick worked as a farmer and helped organize the local Methodist-Episcopal Church. The state weathered the financial panic of 1857 and was prospering when Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860, but Southern states soon fulfilled their threat to secede and, on April 12, 1861, Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter.

It was thought by many that the rebellion would not last long. “There are men enough in Pennsylvania alone to subdue South Carolina without the aid of Iowa volunteers,” said the Clayton County Journal. A confederacy of Southern states was formed, war followed and on July 9, 1862, Governor Kirkwood received a telegram asking him to raise five regiments in addition to those already in the field. In answer to this call, twenty-two-year-old Justin and nineteen-year-old Avery enlisted at Volga on August 12th in what would be Company D of the state’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry. By then, Justin had married Celestia Truman while Avery was unmarried.

At Dubuque’s Camp Franklin, the company was mustered in on the 22nd and the regiment on September 9th. They boarded the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started downstream on the 16th, encountered low water at Montrose, debarked, traveled by rail to Keokuk, boarded the Hawkeye State, spent one night at Benton Barracks in St. Louis and then traveled by rail to Rolla, Missouri, where they arrived on September 22nd. For more than six months the regiment remained in Missouri, but the health of its members suffered during the harsh winter. Some died and others were “discharged for disability.” At Salem on October 31st, when the first bimonthly muster roll was taken, both brothers were present, but Justin was “sick in quarters.” On November 2nd, he stayed in Salem when the regiment left for Houston. Another roll was taken on November 30th at Houston and this time both brothers were “sick in quarters.” On January 26, 1863, the regiment started a march to West Plains while Avery, Justin and many others were left in Houston, hoping to regain their health.

They eventually rejoined the regiment but on February 26th Justin was admitted to a regimental hospital in Ironton complaining of diarrhea, a common ailment that caused the death of at least sixty-four members of the regiment. On the 27th, at Iron Mountain, Avery died with his death attributed to “congestive chills.” Two days later he was buried and one of his comrades said he was “one of an escort this forenoon to escort a dead soldier to his last resting place and fier three volleys over his grave as the last honor to his remains.”

Justin was well enough to continue with the regiment when it moved to Ste. Genevieve and then by transport to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large army to capture Vicksburg. In a corps led by John McClernand they walked south, paralleling the river, crossing several large plantations and wading through swamps but, unable to continue, Justin was left in a regimental hospital at Judge Perkins’ Somerset Plantation. After the May 1st Battle of Port Gibson, many of the sick and wounded were cared for in Grand Gulf and that’s were Justin was when he wrote a notice that was published in the Clayton County Journal:

“Notice is hereby given that whereas my wife, Celestia A. Thurber has behaved in an improper manner and refused to recognize her lawful name while I have been absent in the army, I will not pay any debts contracted by her on my account and I warn all persons against harboring the said Celestia A. Thurber. J. W. THURBER. May 30th, 1863.”

During the next several months, Justin was hospitalized at Milliken’s Bend with chronic diarrhea, on board the Charles W. McDougall with intermittent fever and in a general hospital in St. Louis. By October 13, 1863, he had joined the regiment along Vermillion Bayou in Louisiana and he continued “present” on muster rolls on December 31st (Matagorda Bay, Texas), February 29th (Indianola, Texas), April 30th (Matagorda Bay, Texas), June 30th (Terrebonne Station, Louisiana) and August 31st (Morganza, Louisiana) before serving two month as a hospital cook. On November 21, 1864, relieved from his cooking duties, Justin returned to regular duty and the next day was with his comrades when they boarded the John H. Dickey on Arkansas’ White River and headed for Memphis where they arrived on the 28th and made camp. A month later they boarded the Baltic, went downstream, debarked and camped at Kennerville on January 5, 1865. Still there on the 30th, George Brownell said he and Justin joined Salmon Bush and Thomas Larkin and the four men “took the Morning train down to New Orleans had a pleasant time went to the St Charles Theater in the eavning.” On February 5th they boarded the George Peabody and on the 7th made camp near Fort Gaines on Dauphin Island, Alabama. Two days later Justin, Billy Fobes and James Ferman were sent to the fort’s hospital where Justin was admitted and treated for an irritating eye inflammation. Still suffering from his eye problem, Justin was sent back to New Orleans for treatment in the city’s Marine Hospital and from there to the Grant General Hospital on Willet’s Point in New York Harbor. Finally, with the war nearing an end, Justin returned to Iowa where he was discharged on May 20, 1865.

Within months of his discharge, Justin had divorced Celestia and, in Prairie due Chien, married Florilla Tremain. They had four children: Wilber Avery (born August 29, 1866), Minnie Eugenia (born November 7, 1869), Jay Sheridan (born October 7, 1874) and Maggie Ann (born October 1, 1877).

Justin worked as a farmer in Clayton County until the fall of 1871 when the family moved to Lincoln, Kansas. Still there in 1874 he applied for an invalid pension based on the eye inflammation incurred on Dolphin Island. A doctor in Lincoln signed a supportive affidavit indicating that “manual labor of any kind aggravates the condition and he cannot labor in the dust or wind but a small portion of the time.” Justin applied again in 1880, this time claiming he was suffering from chronic diarrhea and a lame back incurred during bad weather in Missouri. A doctor noted that Justin “has rings in ears & says that without them eyes are sore all the time,” but the doctor found no evidence of chronic diarrhea or back problems.

By 1882 Justin was back in Iowa and living near Mederville. To support his still pending claim, he secured affidavits from three of his comrades- Harvey King, Johann Hopp and Gilbert Cooley - and many others who knew him before and after his service, but it was not until 1885, almost five years after he applied, that Justin was finally approved for $2.00 monthly from the date of his charge to March 23, 1881 “the disability having ceased.” Like many others, he immediately applied for an increase in the amount of his pension. More affidavits were submitted, more doctors conducted examinations and sometimes increases were granted, other times not. While Justin and Florilla kept busy with their farm they visited friends in nearby Elkader, entertained relatives from Oklahoma and grandchildren from Chicago, and on December 31, 1906, “entertained twelve at an oyster dinner.” Justin was receiving $12.00 monthly, payable quarterly, when he died on December 6, 1908, while visiting his daughter, Minnie, in Sylvan, Minnesota.

Later that month, Florilla applied for a widow’s pension. To prove her marriage, she submitted a certified copy of a marriage record showing they had married on August 13, 1865. Justin had previously advised the government of his marriage to Celestia and said they had divorced. To prove the divorce, Florialla submitted divorce record showing the uncontested divorce was in September 1865, one month after her marriage. In explanation, she said Justin had told her he was divorced when they married and “I think he was misled by his attorney and supposed the divorce had been granted.” Despite her apparently not having had a legal marriage, her application was approved at $12.00 monthly, an amount she received until her death on January 12, 1944.

Justin, Florilla and Justin’s parents are all buried in Mederville Cemetery, Cox Creek twp.


Treadwell, Abram 'Abe'
The son of Tyron Treadwell and Mary (Smith) Treadwell, Abram (“Abe”) Treadwell was born on September 18, 1832, in the town of Aylmer in what was then known as Canada West, today’s Ontario. When he was twenty-four years old, Abram moved to Illinois and then to Iowa where he lived near Strawberry Point. Initially, he worked as a farmer, working one year on the farm of Franklin Buckley (one of the “honored pioneers” of the county) before opening the town’s first harness business.

On August 12, 1862, he was enrolled in the military as a private by fellow Canadian Charles Heath, a Strawberry Point dentist. At Dubuque, on August 18, 1862, they and other enlistees were mustered in as Company B and, on September 9th, ten companies were mustered as the 21st regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry. Abram was present when they left for war on September 16th and during their service in Missouri at Rolla, Salem, Houston and Hartville.

On January 31, 1863, he was detached for temporary service with the Chief Quartermaster’s Department. The regiment was camped at Iron Mountain when Abe was relieved from the Quartermaster’s Department and rejoined the regiment on March 4th. That same day, Myron Knight, a comrade and near neighbor at home, wrote that he and Abram went to nearby Middle Brook “on business” and, on March 8th, that they “went down to the Knob” (Pilot Knob).

From Iron Mountain the regiment went to Ste. Genevieve where Abram was promoted to 5th Corporal and then to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large army for the purpose of capturing the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. As the army moved slowly south across and around bayous and swamps on the west side of the Mississippi, many became ill and were left behind as the rest of the army moved on. Among the sick left at Judge Perkin’s Somerset plantation were Abram Treadwell, Jim Bethard, John Crop and other convalescents from the 21st Iowa and other Union regiments together with about 350 men of Colonel Owen’s 60th Indiana.

On May 30, 1863, after learning that a large Confederate force under John Walker was moving in their direction, Colonel Owen moved his regiment and the lightly armed convalescents closer to a levee and kept an anxious watch. On the morning of the 31st, shots were exchanged. About 8:00 a.m., under cover of artillery, they destroyed supplies, rushed on board the Forest Queen, and made their escape. On June 2d, they reached their regiment on the siege line at the rear of Vicksburg and Myron Knight noted that: "Abe Treadwell returned to the Regt. was left at Perkins Plantation sick - with the tents and the rest of the clothing left behind."

Abram was promoted to Sergeant and participated in the balance of the siege of Vicksburg and a subsequent expedition to and siege of Jackson. Back in Vicksburg on August 13th, he loaned $8.00 to Myron who was heading home on a furlough.

Starting with the death of the regiment’s Lieutenant Colonel, Cornelius Dunlap, on May 22, 1863, a series of events (involving several members of the regiment, personal issues, and the number of men on the regiment’s muster rolls) resulted in a delay in the commissioning and mustering-in of Salue Van Anda to take Dunlap’s place, and William Crooke to take Van Anda’s place as Major, and William Lyons to take Crooke’s place as Captain, and Abe Treadwell to take Crooke’s place as 1st Lieutenant.

Abe was commissioned as 1st Lieutenant by Governor Kirkwood on November 12, 1863, but it would be more than eight months before he was mustered into the position and signed the oath of office. Despite the lengthy delay, he performed the duties of 1st Lieutenant and was recognized by others in the company as being their 1st Lieutenant. On January 17, 1864, they were in Texas when Jim Bethard wrote to his wife, Caroline: "We also have a new 1st lieutenant his name is Abram Treadwell he was a private in the start and has gone up by degrees to 1st lieutenant he puts on a considerable of style but I think he will make a verry good Lieut he is verry particular to have every thing done up according to the army regulations"

In February, Abe was ordered to Davenport to assist the recruiting service and, on February 24th, Myron Knight wrote: "Abram Treadwell with several others left for Iowa after other recruits - let him have my overcoat to wear home."

When Abram returned in late April, Myron noted that, “Abe Treadwell arrived from home - also two new recruits for our Co.” The recruits were William Carpenter and Andrew Hughes, two eighteen-year-olds from Winneshiek County. Andrew had less than five months to live. From Texas the regiment returned to Louisiana and, on June 28, 1864, was stationed near the Terrebonne rail station when, with warm summer weather approaching, Myron wrote on June 28, 1864, that “Abe Treadwell and I sent a box of clothing to New Orleans to be expressed home.”

The following month, order was restored to the company hierarchy when Captain Lyons returned after four months with a pioneer corps and, on July 6, 1864, Abe signed the oath, agreeing:

I will faithfully discharge the duties of First Lieutenant of Company B of the 21st Regiment Volunteer Infantry of the State of Iowa, during my term of office, according to the best of my skill and ability. So help me God.

Muster rolls noted that Abram was entitled to “increased pay” for the services he had performed as 1st Lieutenant before signing the oath and, on November 6, 1864, Jim Bethard wrote from their camp near Arkansas’ White River: "Our 1st Lieutenant is a man of good sound sense and sober and steady habits he never drinks to excess is allways the same, is well liked by all and makes a good officer; he came out as a private."

On February 27, 1865, Captain Lyons was detached to again take command of a pioneer corps, this time during the spring’s Mobile Campaign. On the 28th, Abe Treadwell was ordered to take command of the company during Lyons’ absence. In June, they were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Lyons returned and Abe Treadwell was relieved of temporary command of the company as they prepared to be mustered out of service. The June 30th muster roll noted that Abe was entitled to increased pay for commanding the company during Lyons’ absence.

Abe was mustered out with the regiment on July 15, 1865, and was discharged from the military at Clinton on July 24th. On September 24, 1865, he married Emily Agnes Gager. Emily’s parents, James P. and Jane Gager, had moved to Lodomillo Township in 1852 and bought a farm from Frank Ruff. They sold part of it, but built their home at the Grange Hall corner.

Abram and Emily had four children: Mark Gager Treadwell (on June 29, 1866), Ray D. Treadwell (on February 14, 1871), Lynn Curtis Treadwell (on July 27, 1875) and Charles Clark Treadwell (on May 18, 1881). By 1880, they had a 120 acre “thoroughly stocked” farm with 80 acres under cultivation. In 1883, Abe joined the Henry Howard Post, Post 259, of the G.A.R. in Strawberry Point.

Despite having served many months as a 1st Lieutenant while not holding that rank, despite the earlier commission from the Governor, and despite muster rolls saying he was entitled to increased pay, that pay had never been received. Abe hired attorney Thomas Updegraff who had a private bill for Abram’s relief introduced in the 54th Congress and again in the 55th Congress, but there it languished. Eventually, on May 14, 1902, the Committee on War Claims of the House of Representatives sent the matter to the federal Court of Claims for a review of the facts.

An 1863 Enrollment Act (aka Civil War Military Draft Act) had addressed the number of officers regiments were to have depending on the number of men on the rolls. Pursuant to that act, a General Order said that, if a regiment were “reduced below the minimum number allowed by law,” but was above half the minimum, it was to be deprived of a Colonel and an Assistant Surgeon. When Abram performed service as 1st Lieutenant prior to signing the oath, the regiment had been below the minimum number “and for this reason, and no other, he was refused muster and recognition in the grade of first lieutenant during said period” and was paid merely the amount allowed to sergeants. By the time of the court’s findings, Abram was almost seventy years old and the pay was more than thirty-five years delinquent. In Abram Treadwell v. The United States, Congressional No. 10811, the court found that, “if the said Abram Treadwell should be deemed first lieutenant,” he was entitled to $450.40 (the difference between his sergeant’s pay and a 1st lieutenant’s pay) less $8.62 income taxes. Abram’s military and pension records don’t indicate if the pay was actually received.

Meanwhile, in 1892, Abe applied for, but was denied, an invalid pension. In 1904, he reapplied under the general law of June 27, 1890, and a pension was granted. He was receiving $30.00 monthly, payable quarterly, when he died on January 19, 1915. Emily died on June 6, 1924. They are buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery as are two of their children (Mark and Ray), Emily’s parents, and her brother (Edgar).


Valiquet, John B.
John Valiquet was born near Montreal in what was then known as Canada East. He ran away from home when he was a boy and made his way to Syracuse, New York, where he spent the next three or four years. He then returned to Montreal and learned the stone cutting business, a business he pursued in both Montreal and Syracuse for another twelve or fourteen years. In Belleview, Canada, he met Ira and Mary Sargent and their daughter Samantha who was married to Ashley Ely. John stayed with them for about two years “cutting timber and attending to the horses and doing the chores about the house.” About 1859, they all moved to Iowa and settled near Enfield and then Strawberry Point where they made their home.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President on November 6, 1860. Secession of several states seemed imminent, but the Clayton County Journal was unconvinced. "We do not believe that the people of South Carolina desire a dissolution of the Union simply because a Northern man was elected President. There are only a few hot-heads in our opinion who make all this disturbance and they cannot effect anything.” The Journal was wrong. South Carolina seceded on December 20th, other states followed and the Journal took the threat more seriously. “If war they want, war they shall have. We hope however our readers will not become too excited over this, because it is not worth while. There are men enough in Pennsylvania alone to subdue South Carolina.”

On April 12, 1861, Confederate 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 to augment those already in the field. It was in response to this that the state’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry was raised, primarily in the northeastern counties. Mustered into federal service on September 9, 1862, it left Dubuque on board the Henry Clay on the 16th and started south. Walter McNally said that after a night on Rock Island they “moved down to Montrose a Towne at the head of the lower rappid we heare had to go a shore againe at about none on the 19th heare we went abord the cares and went by raleroad to Kearkuk and went a board the steamer Hawkeye State.”

The regiment’s early service was in Missouri and, on March 11, 1863, they marched into the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River. From there they were transported downstream to Milliken’s Bend where they became part of a large army under the command of General Grant. They crossed the river to Bruinsburg, Mississippi, on April 30th, participated in the successful Vicksburg campaign, saw service in southwestern Louisiana and, on November 23rd, left New Orleans for the coast of Texas. By then, due primarily to deaths and discharges as a result of disease and wounds, only 643 of the original 985 men were still on the muster rolls. More enlistments were needed and recruiting efforts intensified.

John was illiterate and didn’t know when he was born but, on February 29, 1864, with his name spelled as “John Valiquet” and his age listed as forty-four, John signed, by mark, a Volunteer Enlistment. Whether the spelling and age were correct is not known. He was described as being 5' 4" tall with hazel eyes and grey hair; occupation farmer. Assigned to Company D, he was mustered in at Dubuque on March 16th, transported downstream to New Orleans and then, with other recruits, transported across the Gulf to Texas. He reached the regiment on Matagorda Island on April 11th and 2nd Lieutenant Gilbert Cooley noted, “Ralph A Weeks, Nehamiah Aldrich, John Valiquest and Wm A Hamer arrived from Davenport Ia. Recruits.”

In a postwar deposition, Justin Thurber, testified that, “pretty soon after he arrived at Matagorda Island and before regiment left there, that in conversation John B. Valiquet stated that while on the boat coming to Matagorda Island, he woke up one night to find a woman laying alongside of him, he believes he had a good thing and topped her off several times, but in the morning he found she was a black woman and soon after he found that he was pretty badly burned, at the time he Valiquet was complaining of his privates and walked rather funny.” John had contracted syphilis. He continued serving with the regiment and was present when they left Texas in June, 1864, and during five weeks when they were stationed at Morganza where John and many other members of the company complained of “sore eyes.” In early September they camped near the mouth of the White River for several days before proceeding up the river for service. On November 25th, their service in Arkansas ended, they boarded the City of Memphis and three days later they debarked and made camp near Memphis’ Elmwood Cemetery while John Valiquet, Charles Kimber, Eric Paulson and several others were sent to a general hospital. In April, 1865, John was transferred to the Grant general hospital on Willetts Point in New York. There, on May 26, 1865, he was mustered out pursuant to a telegraphic order from the War Department.

John resumed his life in Clayton County until moving to Jewell, Kansas, in 1871. While there, he homesteaded and worked as a farmer but in the fall of 1876 “on account of his eyes being so bad he sold the claim for what he could get and returned to Strawberry Point.” The following January he retained local attorney B. P. Rawson and filed an application for an invalid pension. Since claims at that time had to be based on a disability incurred in the military, John referenced his “sore eyes which have become chronic.” A year later, with the claim still pending, he joined Gilbert Cooley, Burt Snedigar, John Lowe and several others at a Company D reunion in Volga City.

Numerous affidavits were filed on John’s behalf attesting to his good health before entering the military and his eye problems after being discharged, but the pension office wasn’t convinced his problems were service-related and ordered an investigation. Depositions were taken of eleven people including John, six former comrades, three of the four doctors who had treated John after his discharge, and Samantha Ely who had ordered prescriptions for John and applied lotion to his eyes.

John attributed the problem to blowing sand while they were still in Texas, to blowing dirt while clearing a campground at the mouth of the White River and to poison ivy while serving farther up the river in Arkansas. John White thought he first heard of the syphilis while at Morganza, but said Valiquet had sore eyes when they were back in Texas. John Lowe testified that his first recollection was while the regiment was at Morganza “at which time he learned that Valequet was afflicted with syphilis and was using the company basin to wash his body,” something that was then reported to officers. He also remembered that while on the White River, “Valequet had the syphillis so bad that he could hardly walk” and the condition “created general indignation throughout the company.” Gilbert Cooley said the first he knew of John’s eye problem was when they were at the mouth of the White River and he was never aware of John having any other problems. (Four years later, when supporting Burt Snedigar’s claim of sore eyes, Cooley said “we had a mess pan which we used for a wash pan Valiquette, as was afterwards found out, took this pan into his tent after night and washed his penace in the pan. Mr. Kimbro [Kimber] the Co. cook was the first to wash in the pan and took the sore eyes first and right following that some ten or twelve of the Co. took sore eyes and it is supposed they took them from washing in that pan.”) Charles Kimber said they were at Morganza Bend when another soldier reported to the officers that John Valiquet was “using the Company basin, a kind of mess pan, for washing his privates, the whole company was excited about it when it became generally known but many did not know the consequences” and it was about two weeks later that the eyes of Charles and several others “commenced to be sore.”

Dr. Hunt testified that he treated John at Morganza Bend and his records reflected treatment for catarrh, colds, constipation and poison. There was no mention of syphilis, but the doctor admitted “it was the practice of affiant where a soldier had syphilis or other venereal disease and he was able to be about not to report him as having such disease.” It was, he said, “thought best not to place or record the fact so long as the men tried to cure themselves and were clearly attended to their duty.” It was only when a man entered a general hospital that the doctor “always endorsed the correct disease.”

In his report to the pension office, the examiner pointed out that John had blamed his sore eyes on three different incidents, none related to syphilis. According to the examiner, John was looked upon by some of the “first people of Strawberry Point as a lacivious old sinner he having been known to borrow or beg money to spend it with low characters that a dog would hardly bark at” and members of the company continued to blame John for their sore eyes. A week later, John was examined by Strawberry Point’s Dr. K. F. Purdy who said “both eyes almost devoid of sight - result of inflammation,” but “I can’t find any posetive symptoms of syphilis. Though a suspicious looking cicatrix on prepuce was accounted for by him as resulting from frost bite which I regard as a rather thin story.”

Two men who had known John for more than twenty-two years said they “know him to be a hard working laboring man and considered him of regular good character and think he is and was free from sexual licentiousness.” John’s attorney argued to Thomas Updegraff, a member of Congress, that several who knew John had sworn to his good character and considered him “free from suspicion of licentiousness” and an examining doctor did not think John’s condition was related to “intemperance or other bad habits.” Congressman Updegraff told the Commissioner of Pensions that he knew many of those who supported John’s application and “there are no more truthful reputable men.” Despite that, John’s pension claim was denied and no record has been found of remaining life. Burial records indicate “S. Valiquist,” white, male, laborer, age seventy-five, nationality French, died on January 29, 1883, in the county’s insane asylum and was buried in its cemetery. While the age and spelling imply this is someone other than John, the transcription could be wrong since John didn’t know how to spell his name or when he was born, handwritten records were often hard to decipher, and no other record has been found about anyone named “S. Valiquist.”

[Clayton co. coordinator's note: Research continues in an effort to confirm that John Valiquet is the Civil War soldier buried in the County cemetery ...S. Ferrall, August 2018]


~researched and compiled by Carl Ingwalson for Clayton co. IAGenWeb ęCarl Ingwalson & Clayton co. IAGenWeb.

Carl has offered to do look-ups in his extensive records of the 21st Iowa. His email address is on the Look-up Volunteers page.


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