IAGenWeb Project - Clayton co.
updated 02/16/2020

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 W - Z

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.


Warn, Edward F.
Younger than his brother William, Edward F. Warn was born on July 27, 1837, in Franklin County, New York. The sons of Orlin Warn and his first wife, they moved to Clayton County, Iowa, in 1852 with their father and his second wife (Eusebia) who had a son, Charles Wilson, from her first marriage.

Over the next several years, as abolitionist sentiments increased, most in the North were convinced the South’s threats of secession were nothing more than political rhetoric while those in the South were sure the North would never go to war and South Carolina Senator James Hammond bragged, "without firing a gun, without drawing a sword, should the North make war on us, we could bring the whole world to our feet. What would happen if no cotton were furnished for three years? Cotton,” he said, “is King!" Following Abraham Lincoln’s election as President, General Beauregard’s Confederate cannon fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, and a war that no one expected quickly escalated.

In 1862 President Lincoln called for 300,000 volunteers to augment those already in the field. Iowa’s quota was five regiments and Governor Kirkwood assured the President that, despite the imminent fall harvest, Iowa would answer the call. Willard Benton, the McGregor postmaster, was an active recruiter in Clayton County and, on August 15th at Council Hill, he enrolled twenty-seven-year-old William as 8th Corporal and twenty-five-year-old Edward as a Private and, at McGregor, he enrolled their twenty-seven-year-old stepbrother Charles, all in Company G of the state’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry.

On the 22nd, the company was mustered into service at Camp Franklin in Dubuque and on September 9th ten companies with a total of 985 men (officers and enlisted) were mustered in as a regiment. On the 16th, they marched through town and, from the levee at the foot of Jones Street, boarded the Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and started down the Mississippi. They spent their first night on Rock Island, resumed their trip the next day, debarked at Montrose due to low water, traveled by train to Keokuk, boarded the Hawkeye State and reached St. Louis about 10:00 a.m. on the 20th. After debarking at the levee, they stood for an hour heavily laden with knapsacks, clothes, blankets, arms and personal accouterments, much unnecessary and later discarded. For men who had received minimal drill at Camp Franklin, the four mile march to Benton Barracks in intensely hot weather was hard to endure. “A good many of our company gave out,” said Maple Moody. Among them was Edward Warn who said he suffered from sunstroke that, for the rest of his life, affected his lungs.

On the 21st they left by rail and on the 22nd they arrived in Rolla where William was treated for measles. The brothers continued with their regiment during its early service in Missouri but, on January 24, 1863, suffering from chronic diarrhea and pleurisy, William was one of nine men discharged from the military. Another was discharged on the 24th and four more on the 25th. Edward also was sick and was treated in the post hospital when the regiment left for West Plains but by April 10th he had caught up and was with his comrades at Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large army to capture Vicksburg. They crossed the river from Disharoon’s Plantation to the Bruinsburg landing in Mississippi on the 30th and Edward participated in the next day’s Battle of Port Gibson, was present on May 16th when they were held in reserve during the Battle of Champion Hill, and participated in assaults on May 17th at the Big Black River and May 22nd at Vicksburg. So far, since crossing the river the regiment had lost thirty killed in action, another thirty-three who succumbed to wounds and 102 who had sustained less serious wounds. Another two would die from gunshot wounds before the city surrendered on July 4th.

On August 17th they were stationed at Carrollton, Louisiana, when Edward was granted a 30-day furlough. When he didn’t return a month later, he was noted as a “deserter.” Due to the distances involved, transportation problems and illness at home, late returns were not uncommon and, on October 8th at Dubuque, Provost Marshal Shubael Williams signed a request that Edward (“furlough expired, returning to his Regt.”) be given transportation on the steamer James Means. On November 10th, at Berwick, Louisiana, Edward was returned to duty without loss of pay or allowances. For the rest of his term, Edward was marked “present” when bimonthly muster rolls were taken in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee and, in the spring of 1865, he participated in the successful campaign to occupy the city of Mobile in Alabama. On July 15, 1865, he was one of 464 original members of the regiment mustered out at Baton Rouge. Edward purchased his musket and accouterments for $6.00 and, on the morning of the 16th, started north on board the Lady Gay. On July 24th they were discharged from the military at Clinton.

Edward was listed as “unmarried” on an 1863 draft registration list (while he was with his regiment in Mississippi), but on September 23, 1857, he had married Mary Hamilton and they already had two children, Orlin and Mary. They were divorced in Elkader on January 24, 1868 and, on October 5th of that year, Edward married twenty-eight-year-old Ellen Warner. Edward and Ellen had three children, Bert E. in 1869, Harley G. in 1871 and Ethel Irene in 1880 and they made their home in Luana.

Edward’s brother, William (after a divorce from his first wife) had married Ellen’s sister, Caroline, in 1864. He never recovered from his wartime illness and died on February 20, 1883, at forty-three years of age from bronchitis and pleurisy. He was buried in Vail Cemetery in Crawford County.

In 1890 Edward applied for an invalid pension but, rather than retaining someone locally, he retained the well-known George M. Van Leuven, Jr., who was sixty-five miles away in Lime Springs. With testimonials from Congressman Thomas Updegraff, U.S. Senator William Allison and many others, Van Leuven was “credited with being the most successful pension agent in the state.” The application was supported by affidavits from former comrades Sam Withrow (also a client of Van Leuven), Francis Henderson (whose brother had been killed in the war), Willard Benton (who had enrolled Edward twenty-five years earlier) and Maple Moody (who had served in Company G). Dubuque’s Dr. Charles H. Hamilton had treated Edward for lung disease for many years and said he was “in bed for weeks at a time” and could get around only “by exercising great care as to exposure or any over exertion.” Edward’s application was approved for sunstroke suffered in St. Louis and resulting vertigo and lung disease at $8.00 per month and a certificate was mailed on February 18, 1891. Three months later George Van Leuven was arrested. Charged with pension fraud, bribing doctors and falsifying affidavits, he was ultimately convicted. Pension examiners reviewed records of his clients and conducted numerous special examinations but there’s no indication that any questions were raised regarding the validity of Edward’s application or the accuracy of the supporting affidavits.

Although in failing health, fifty-seven-year-old Edward died unexpectedly on August 21, 1894, and two days later a funeral was held at his home. Recognized as a well-known stockbuyer, he had been a member of the Hervey Dix Post of the GAR and was buried with military honors in Luana Cemetery. Ellen was fifty-four years old when she applied for a widow’s pension two months after her husband’s death with the assistance of Elkader attorney T. M. Davidson. At one time, she had owned several lots in Luana but in 1896 she sold them for $1,200, paid bills and hoped to use the balance to buy another house. Ellen’s application was approved at $8.00 monthly retroactive to from February 23, 1895, when the application had been received by the Bureau of Pensions in Washington. The amount was slowly increased and she was receiving $30.00 monthly when she died on September 20, 1921, after “a stroke of apoplexy” the previous week. She, like Edward, is buried in Luana Cemetery.


Warn, William H.
Brothers Edward and William Warn were born in New York to Orlin Warn and his first wife. They moved to Clayton County, Iowa, in 1852 with their father and his second wife (Eusebia) who had a son, Charles Wilson, from her first marriage.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President and states in the South fulfilled their pre-election threat to withdraw from the union. Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter in the harbor at Charleston, South Carolina, on April 12, 1861, and war followed. In 1862, with casualties mounting, President Lincoln call for another 300,000 volunteers with Iowa to furnish five regiments in addition to those already in the field. Despite the pending fall harvest, Governor Kirkwood assured the President that Iowa would meet its quota. “Our harvest is just upon us, and we have now scarcely men enough to save our crops,” he said, “but if need be our women can help.”

In northeastern Iowa, McGregor postmaster Willard Benton was an active recruiter and, on August 15, 1862, at Council Hill, he enrolled twenty-seven-year-old William and twenty-five-year-old Edward and, at McGregor, enrolled their twenty-year-old stepbrother, Charles, all in what would be Company G of Iowa’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry. William was described as a 5' 7¾” farmer with blue eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion.

Their company was ordered into quarters at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin and mustered into service on August 22nd with Willard Benton as Captain. On September 9th, when all ten companies were of sufficient strength, they were mustered in as a regiment with each volunteer receiving one month’s pay, a $25.00 deposit on the $100.00 federal bounty and a $2.00 premium.

Training was brief and relatively ineffective and on a rainy September 16th on board the 184' four-year-old sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, they started down the Mississippi. They spent their first night on Rock Island and the next morning learned that one of their comrades, Thompson Spottswood, who was left behind under the care of his uncle, had died from measles. With 100 men in each building at Camp Franklin others had also been infected but their symptoms were not yet visible. They continued south on the 17th, debarked at Montrose due to low water, traveled by train to Keokuk, boarded the Hawkeye State and reached St. Louis on the 20th. After one night at Benton Barracks, they were inspected on the 21st and that night left by train for Rolla.

There, on September 24th, William was diagnosed with measles. Four days later the regiment moved to a better location, about five miles southwest of town where they had access to good spring water and named their new location Camp Dunlap after the regiment’s popular lieutenant colonel. They were still there on October 7th when Henry Lewis, also of Company G, died of measles and was buried one quarter mile north of their camp. On the 17th, William was admitted to the regimental hospital but he was with the regiment when they started for Salem on the 18th. Left behind was John Rankhart, Company F, who died from measles on November 4th, the same day his comrades reached Houston.

On arrival, William was again hospitalized. The weather was cold. He was weak from measles and was suffering from pleurisy and chronic diarrhea and had pains in his lungs and bowels. Still in the hospital on January 24, 1863, he was discharged from the military.

On August 12th, William was back in Council Hill where he applied for an invalid pension with Isaac Hitt of Chicago as his attorney. Dr. Blanchard, an examining surgeon in Elkader, felt William was totally disabled from earning his subsistence by manual labor. Breathing was difficult he said, “in consequence of pleuritic adhesions when slight exertion made. There is much irritability of the bronchial mucus membrane.”

William had married before the war and he and his wife, Sally N. (Scott) Warn, had one child. On January 22, 1864, with his pension application still pending, a decree of divorce was granted by the District Court in Elkader.

In February of that year a certificate was mailed entitling William to an $8.00 monthly pension, payable quarterly and retroactive to the date of his discharge. Despite being approved, William soon stopped drawing the pension and on July 24th married twenty-eight-year-old Caroline “Carrie” Warner in Grand Meadow Township. They moved to the town of Vail in Crawford County and on June 24, 1865, a son, Charles F. Warn was born. He was followed by Clarence M. who was born on August 23, 1867 (according to the surgeon who was present at the birth), Ina M. on May 22, 1869, and Mattie M. on July 16, 1876. Both girls died young - Ina on November 22, 1876 at seven years of age and Mattie on July 18, 1878 at two years of age.

The following year, William reapplied for a pension. He said he was partially disabled for reasons stated in his first application and received supportive affidavits from Dr. Washburn who said he had treated William in Clayton County in 1863 and 1864 for pleuritic adhesions and bronchial problems, from Dr. Hicks who had treated William in Monona in 1868 or 1869 for a bad cough and in 1874 for severe pain and pleurisy, from Dr. Green who treated him from 1866 to 1869 and said “I recolect telling soldier that it would always trouble him more or less,” and from Dr. Sansom who also had treated William for chronic bronchitis and pleuritic adhesions. William explained that he had stopped drawing his earlier pension because he “supposed a soldier should be totally disabled to be entitled to draw pay.”

On March 17, 1880, his application was approved at a rate of $8.00 monthly from March 4, 1864 but decreasing to $4.00 effective April 17, 1879. On April 14, 1880, a son, Arthur M. Warn, was born.

On February 10, 1883, at forty-three years of age, William died after suffering from war-related bronchitis and pleurisy for twenty years. He was buried in Vail Cemetery.

On May 23, 1885, Caroline applied for a widow’s pension under an Act of July 14, 1862. To prove her claim she would have to prove William had been divorced from his first wife, that he had then married Caroline, that they had lived as husband and wife and that she had not remarried after his death. She also requested a pension for children under sixteen years of age when William died and mentioned Arthur but neglected to mention Clarence. Her application was supported by affidavits from Chester and Mary Warner who said they were present when William and Caroline were married, from Orlin and Eusebia Warn who said they were present when William married Sally and knew they had divorced and from Dr. J. S. Green who said he had officiated when Clarence was born and by a certified copy of the record of the divorce of William and Sally.

Pensions were calculated on a monthly basis but were payable quarterly. On June 26, 1886, a certificate was issued providing for $12.00 monthly as a widow’s pension and $2.00 for Arthur both effective May 29, 1885. More than two years later, $2.00 was approved for Clarence retroactive to February 11, 1883. Caroline was also approved for William’s accrued pension that was unpaid at the time of his death. The boys’ pensions would end with their sixteenth birthdays but Caroline’s pension continued and she was receiving $40.00 monthly when she died at Clarence’s home on December 9, 1928. She was buried in Ida Grove Cemetery.


Watkins, David L.
David Watkins was born in Warren County, Pennsylvania, on July 24, 1823. On May 7, 1846, twenty-two-year-old David married Julia A. Carpenter. Julia died in Epworth, Iowa, on September 15, 1857. Her grave has not been located and it’s unknown if they had any children.

David had been living in Strawberry Point for three years when, still a widower, he was enrolled on July 25, 1865, by local dentist, Charles Heath, as a Private in Company B of the 21st Iowa Infantry. He was described as being 5' 9½” tall with blue eyes, a dark complexion and brown hair. They were ordered into quarters at Camp Franklin in Dubuque on August 16th and mustered in as a company on August 18th. On September 9, 1862, with a total of 985 members, officers and enlisted, ten companies were mustered in as the 21st Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry.

They left for war on September 16, 1862, and spent the next six and one-half months in Missouri with David working much of the time as a company cook. After a month in Rolla, they started for Salem on October 18th and arrived on the 19th. On the muster roll dated at Salem on October 31st, David was present but “sick in quarters.” Rolls were taken every two months and David was still “present” on December 31st at Houston and February 28th at Iron Mountain. On March 11, 1863, they walked into the Mississippi River town of Ste. Genevieve and camped on a ridge to the north. Starting on the 1st of April, they were transported down-river to Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana, where General Grant was organizing a large army to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg.

On April 12th, in a corps led by General John McClernand, they started walking south along the west side of the Mississippi. On the 14th they camped along Roundaway Bayou near Richmond and, on the 15th, several furloughs were granted. David Drummond and John Carpenter left for McGregor while David Watkins left for Strawberry Point on a thirty-day furlough pursuant to a Surgeon’s Certificate. With him, David carried a letter that Myron Knight was sending home to his family. David, returning with letters and newspapers, rejoined the regiment at the rear of Vicksburg on June 7th and, on June 30th, was marked “present” but “sick.” During his absence the regiment had participated in the May 1st Battle of Port Gibson, May 17th assault at the Big Black River, May 22nd assault at Vicksburg and the first part of the siege.

Vicksburg surrendered on July 4th. The next day, the able-bodied members of the regiment joined General Sherman in a pursuit of Confederate General Joe Johnston. David, however, was still sick and remained in Vicksburg to recuperate. He was able to regain his health and was present on bimonthly muster rolls at Carrollton, Louisiana, on August 31st, and Vermillion Bayou, Louisiana, on October 31st. In late November they left New Orleans, were transported westward across the Gulf of Mexico, and went ashore on St. Joseph’s Island, Texas. For more than six months they performed service along the Gulf Coast at Matagorda Island and Indianola before returning to Louisiana.

David was still present but, in August, was treated for rheumatic pains and chronic diarrhoea. On September 10, 1864, at the mouth of the White River, he was granted a forty-day furlough to go north on a Surgeon’s Certificate. On September 16th he was in Dubuque when he secured a requisition to go from Dubuque to Earlville on the Dubuque & Sioux City Railroad. He was late returning to the regiment but, on December 1st, reported voluntarily to the Provost Marshal at Camp McClellan in Dubuque and was placed under arrest as a “straggler.” On the 12th he started south and on the 16th he reached the regiment then at Memphis. By order of Brigadier General “Big Mike” Lawler, David was restored to duty without loss of pay or allowances.

David then participated with his regiment in the Mobile Campaign in the spring of 1865. From New Orleans, they were transported to Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay, crossed the entrance to Mobile Point on March17th, and then walked north along the east side of the bay. When the Confederates abandoned the city, the regiment camped at Spring Hill west of town before returning to Louisiana, performing garrison duty and accepting surrenders along the Red River, and being mustered out on July 15, 1865, at Baton Rouge. On the 24th, they were discharged from the military at Clinton, Iowa, and free to return to their homes.

David said he stayed in Strawberry Point for about two weeks, but then followed other family members to western Iowa and lived briefly in Sioux City before moving in January 1866 to Onawa where he went into the “brick business.” He was still living there on September 4, 1867, when he married Sarah Cole forty-five miles away in Denison. David and Sarah lived in Onawa until February, 1871, when they moved to Kansas and settled in Mound City in Linn County. A son, Myron Watkins, was born on July 13, 1871, and another, Frank Watkins, was born on May 2, 1873. On March 17, 1875, they were living in Marion County when George Washington Watkins was born. The family of five then moved to Republic County in November 1875 and to Rooks County in March 1878. That’s where their final child, John A. Watkins, was born on May 17, 1881, the same year the county courthouse was erected in nearby Stockton.

On August 16, 1887, sixty-five-year-old David gave his residence as the town of Motor when he applied for an invalid pension and indicated he was “taken sick with jaundice followed by rheumatism” contracted twenty-five years earlier when the regiment was in Salem. William Bromley, a doctor in Motor, signed an affidavit saying he had treated David for rheumatism in 1878. David, he said, “seemed to be in pain all the time and was not able to doe but little work.” Other witnesses submitted similar affidavits and a board of pension surgeons found his “shoulder and knee joints on both sides extremely tender.” There was “stiffness and limitation of motion of knee joints.” They suggested an 8/18 rating.

William Warner, James Hicks and Charlie Robbins had served with David in Company B and agreed that David had a difficult time that first winter. William recalled that David “was off duty for considerable time” and James said David had been disabled “by contracting rheumatism caused by exposure.” Charlie’s testimony was similar. “We had been doing some hard campaigning,” he said, and David was “subjected to extremely severe and constant exposure mud rain snow sleet and fording streams of water.” Since they had done very little up to that time, Charlie may have been referring to their more difficult service in November when a wagon train was attacked at Beaver Creek and men in Hartville raced to the scene of the attack and to January when many participated in a battle at Hartville and a difficult return, often wading across icy streams, to their base then in Houston. David’s claim was approved and, on June 21, 1889, a certificate was issued entitling him to $8.00 monthly, payable quarterly through the pension agency in Topeka.

As was normal with most pensioners once a pension was granted, David applied for increases. More affidavits were submitted and David, living in Cordell, was again examined by pension surgeons, this time in Stockton. An increase was approved and a new certificate was mailed on November 19, 1890, with a monthly rate of $16.00.

A month earlier David had moved to Beaty, Arkansas, and on December 4th he applied for another increase. On July 15, 1891, he said he was a resident of Southwest City, Missouri, where he was examined by another board of surgeons. His application was still pending when he submitted another one. Now seventy years old, he said his health was deteriorating. Dr. Baker of Maysville, Arkansas, said David was suffering from partial blindness and deafness.

On October 16, 1892, he moved back to Codell and the following year was examined by surgeons in Stockton. For the next several years there were more examinations, more applications and more supportive affidavits until, on June 21, 1897, a certificate was issued raising David’s pension to $24.00 monthly.

On May 13, 1899, Sarah died. David was eighty-six years old when he died on March 15, 1907. They’re buried in Conger Cemetery, Plainville, Kansas. Of their four boys, Myron died in 1939, Frank in 1951 and George in 1954. Myron and George are in Plainville Cemetery, while Frank is buried in Fern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen, Washington.


Weeks, Bradford T. 'Brad'
Massachusetts residents Samuel and Ruhamah “Ruamy” (Hall) Weeks had at least three children: Eliza in 1836, Ralph in 1841 and Brad who was born in Norwich on June 5, 1845. From there they moved to Iowa where, in 1860, Eliza married Rodney Tirrill. They made their home in Delaware County where Rodney practiced law in Manchester.

Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina on April 12, 1861, but it was nothing to worry about said the Clayton County Journal, “there are men enough in Pennsylvania alone to subdue South Carolina without the aid of Iowa volunteers.” The Journal was wrong and the ensuing war escalated quickly. In 1862, President Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers with Iowa to raise five regiments in addition to those already in the field. It was in response to this call that the 21st regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry was organized. Mustered into service on September 9, 1862, with a total of 985 men, officers and enlisted, they saw early service in Missouri, sustained heavy losses during the Vicksburg Campaign, participated in an expedition to Jackson and were then transported farther south to Carollton, a suburb of New Orleans. From there they left on September 4, 1863, served in southwestern Louisiana (Berwick, Vermilion Bayou, Brashear City) before returning and camping in Algiers on November 22nd and being immediately ordered to the gulf coast of Texas.

By then, despite new recruits, the ranks had thinned considerably. There were only 642 on the muster rolls and many were sick, detached or otherwise not fit for duty. More men were needed and recruiting efforts in Iowa intensified. Fifteen enlisted in December, eleven in January and fifty-one in February. Among them were Brad Weeks who enlisted from Clayton County on February 13th and his brother Ralph who enlisted on the 29th.

As a new recruit, Brad went first to Dubuque where he signed a Volunteer Enlistment before Shubael P. Adams who was a recruiting officer, Captain and Provost Marshall for the 3rd Congressional District. At eighteen years of age, Brad was old enough to volunteer with a parent’s consent and his father signed the enlistment saying, “I freely give my Consent to his volunteering.” Brad was described as being 5' 3½” tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. From Dubuque he was sent to the depot at Camp McClellan in Davenport where he joined other recruits (Abel Allen, Joseph Allen, Ira Blanchard, and Osbra Patterson) as they started south to join their regiment. It was a long trip down the Mississippi and across the Gulf of Mexico to Matagorda Island, Texas, where they arrived on March 28, 1864.

Only four days later Brad was hard at work with other soldiers building and reinforcing forts. “These works were built of sand and were only kept in place by being sodded after they were built, as the sand was very fine and drifted like snow.” The next morning, said Brad, “I had considerable blood pass me attended with a good deal of pain.” Ralph arrived on April 11th and they remained on the island until mid-June when the regiment was finally able to leave the “sacred drifting sands of Texas” (as Colonel Sam Merrill called them) and was transported to Algiers, Louisiana. Arriving on July 8th, they left for Morganza Bend on the 26th, but Ralph was ill and left behind. On August 10th he died. Ralph is buried in Chalmette National Cemetery.

At Morganza Bend, Brad also was not well and was treated for diarrhea. A common ailment that led to the death of at least sixty-three of his comrades, the illness (also referred to by soldiers as the bloody flux, the screamers, the Virginia quickstep, the Tennessee trots and other colorful names) often became chronic and led to malnutrition, anemia and increased susceptibility to other diseases resulting in extreme dehydration, as much as fifty percent weight loss and an estimated 50,000 deaths in the Union army. Brad stayed with the regiment at Morganza Bend and traveled with it to the mouth of the White River and up the river to St. Charles where they arrived on September 11, 1864. Although receiving constant treatment, his condition did not improve. On October 21st he was detached and on the 23rd was admitted to the Washington U. S. Army Hospital in Memphis where he could receive better care than in regimental facilities. He was granted a furlough from the hospital a month later and returned to Iowa where he received more treatment. His furlough expired but, on January 6, 1865, a Deputy Provost Marshal sent a notice to Provost Marshal Adams indicating that Brad “wishes me to report to you for him that he is unable to return without endangering his health. He is now confined to his room & probably will not be able to return for a long time yet.” Far away in the South, the regiment’s records indicated he was still being treated in Memphis, but Brad apparently never returned to Memphis or rejoined his regiment. Instead, he continued to receive treatment for chronic diarrhea during May and June and, on June 27, 1865, at a general hospital in Davenport he was discharged from the military.

Thirty-five days later, giving his address as York in Delaware County, he applied for an invalid pension with Rodney Tirrill, his brother-in-law, as his attorney. Brad had suffered from diarrhea for almost a full year and a surgeon in Independence felt he was three-fourths incapacitated from earning a living by manual labor but, surprisingly, also thought the disability was “probably temporary” and the application stalled.

In 1870 the Adjutant General’s Office noted that Brad had been discharged due to “chronic diarrhoea of long duration incurred since his enlistment.” Affidavits by 2nd Lieutenant Gilbert Cooley (who said Brad “could not do the slightest duty without great irritation of the bowels and in fact was confined to his cot or bed for a considerable time”), Dr. H. C. Chase (who confirmed that a temperate Brad had diarrhea during the war and had not recovered) and Brad (confirming he had no other military service) were filed. Manchester’s Dr. J. M. Lanning, who examined Brad in 1871, 1873, 1874 and twice in 1875, said exercise brought on a return of the diarrhea.

While his health problems continued, Brad married Anna C. Ludy in Putnam Township, Delaware co. IA on June 8, 1876. His father died on August 22, 1880, and was buried in Manchester’s Oakland Cemetery. On November 1, 1883, Anna gave birth to their only known child, Lewis Wilbur Weeks. On February 20, 1890, Brad’s eighty-two-year-old mother died. She, like her husband, was buried in Oakland Cemetery.

Meanwhile, Brad’s efforts to obtain a pension had finally been rewarded when he was granted $4.00 monthly retroactive to the day after his discharge. On July 15, 1885, with a post office address of Strawberry Point, he requested an increase that was denied so, on May 20, 1889, again from Strawberry Point, he reapplied. This time he was re-rated to $12.00 monthly. The next time he applied he was ordered to appear before a board of surgeons in Dubuque. At the suggestion of another brother-in-law, Charles Albright who worked for Lime Springs’ pension attorney George Van Leuven, Brad asked if, instead of Dubuque, he could be examined by a board in Decorah. Van Leuven was “credited with being the most successful pension agent in the state as testimonials which he has received, from the best of authority, would go to prove. References, Hons. Wm. B. Allison, U. S. Senator; Thos. Updegraff, N. C. Deering, C. C. Carpenter, members of congress; John McHugh, S. S. Lambert, and Kimball & Farnsworth.”

The request was granted and on January 5, 1892, Brad took a morning train from Strawberry Point and reached Decorah in the afternoon so he would be there in time for the examination scheduled for the next morning. He wandered around, talked to a few other veterans and learned they could be examined that night. After supper, he went to the doctors’ office where “about 27 or 30 soldiers” were waiting to be examined by the surgeons each of whom would be paid $2.00 by the government for every soldier examined. When called, he went into the examining room where there were two other soldiers, three surgeons and, seated at a table, George Van Leuven who “said something like this. Comrades I want you to contribute as much as you can for these doctors because they get small pay and it will be a benefit to your claim. . . I understood him to say that the doctors were friends to the soldiers and that they were going to give them all they deserved and that the soldiers should be as liberal as they could.” None of the money was for himself, Van Leuven said; it was all for the doctors. Brad and other soldiers “went up and laid our money on the table.” Brad paid $20 and thought $200 or $300 was paid that night. While the doctors said nothing, they could easily see who was putting money on the table.

On May 22, 1893, Van Leuven was arrested for pension fraud. Allegations included falsifying affidavits for soldiers and their comrades to sign, bribing pension surgeons to submit favorable reports, and having soldiers pay pension surgeons as Brad had done. While Brad didn’t feel he had done anything wrong, the government examiner called it bribery, was convinced that Brad had learned “of the liberality of the Decorah Board and wanted to get before them,” and noted that “as a result of the examination” Brad’s pension had been increased from $12 to $17. Brad later was one of many who presented testimony to a grand jury and, on December 15, 1894, after a trial widely reported by the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Call and other newspapers, Van Leuven was convicted on thirty-seven counts and sentenced to the prison in Anamosa.

Brad’s next application for an increase of his invalid pension was denied. He was already receiving more than a 1907 age-based act would have allowed, but increases were granted under subsequent acts. By 1923 Brad said he was confined to his bed part of the time and got around only with the aid of crutches. Pension surgeons said “he is kept under surveillance in order to aid him if he falls or faints” and while not requiring constant attention “does require regular care and attendance.” Brad was receiving $72 monthly when he died at home on April 9, 1924, at seventy-eight years of age. He is buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery.

On April 15th, Anna applied for a widow’s pension. Two months later she was awarded Brad’s accrued but unpaid pension and her own $30 widow’s pension. Anna died on July 25, 1929, and their son, Lewis, on May 22, 1947. Like Brad, they’re buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery.


Welch, William
Co. G, aged 24, born in England, residence Millville, Clayton County

08/15/62 enlisted
08/22/62 muster in CompanyG
09/09/62 muster in Regiment
08/01/64 promoted to 5th Corporal
02/01/65 promoted to 4th Corporal
07/15/65 muster out Baton Rouge

The above is from the R&R. I have not verified the information.


Whipple, Darwin
Darwin Whipple was born on December 20, 1824, in Croydon, New Hampshire. About fifty miles to the north, Eliza H. Sargent was born on June 26, 1826, in Corinth, Vermont. On March 6, 1845, twenty-year-old Darwin and eighteen-year-old Eliza were married in Newport, New Hampshire. Their first three children were born in Croydon: Joseph Nettleton Whipple on June 26, 1847, Cordelia K. Whipple on October 26, 1848, and James Danforth Whipple on October 28, 1850.

In 1854 or 1855 (records differ), the family of five moved to Clayton County where Darwin worked as a farmer and two more children were born. Olive Electra Whipple was born on January 30, 1858, and on June 3, 1861, Edgar J. Whipple was born into a troubled country. Only fifty days earlier, Confederate cannon had fired on Fort Sumter “and with a voice that shook the land, the guns of Sumter spoke.”

As the war progressed through a second year, President Lincoln called for more volunteers and, despite an imminent fall harvest, the volunteers came. Charles Heath, a Strawberry Point dentist, was an active recruiter in the county and, on August 11, 1862, he enrolled at least fifteen men including thirty-seven-year-old Darwin Whipple who enlisted at Cox Creek. Darwin was described as being 5' 10¼” tall with grey eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion. He and Eliza were possibly unaware that Eliza was pregnant with their sixth child.

At Dubuque’s Camp Franklin on August 18, 1862, they were mustered in as Company B and, on September 9th, ten companies were mustered in as the 21st Regiment of Iowa’s Volunteer Infantry. On September 16th, they left for war. Crowded on board the sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed alongside, they started down the Mississippi, changed to the Hawkeye State after encountering low water at Montrose, and arrived in St. Louis on the 20th. The next night, about midnight, they boarded cars of the Southwest Branch of the Pacific Railroad and on the 22nd reached the railhead at Rolla.

Darwin was present during their month in Rolla and was again marked “present” on the October 31st Company Muster Roll dated at Salem. Two months later, still in Missouri, he was with the regiment in Houston but detailed as a “pioneer,” a laborious duty often involving construction of roads, bridges, levees and other structures, work many thought was unworthy of soldiers. He continued with the regiment as they walked south to West Plains and, from there, northeast to Thomasville, Ironton, Iron Mountain and, on March 11, 1863, into the old French town of Ste. Genevieve. On April 1, 1863, Darwin was promoted from Private to 8th Corporal as the regiment boarded the Ocean Wave and went downstream. They debarked at Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large army with the intent of capturing the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg.

On April 9th, Eliza gave birth to their sixth child, a boy named Darwin Whipple in honor of his absent father. On the 10th, at Milliken’s Bend, a special muster was taken and Darwin was present. He was “sick in quarters” but, on the 12th, was well enough to continue with the regiment as it started a march south along roads, over bayous and through swamps of northwestern Louisiana.

On April 30th, they crossed to the Bruinsburg landing on the east bank and, on May 1, 1863, engaged in the Battle of Port Gibson. On May 16th they were present but held out of action at the Battle of Champion’s Hill and on the 17th they and the 23rd Iowa led a successful assault on Confederates entrenched along the Big Black River. Several days later, they joined other regiments encircling the rear of Vicksburg and, on May 22d, participated in an all-out, but unsuccessful, assault on the enemy lines. A soldier’s Descriptive Book usually, but not always, indicates actions in which the soldier participated, but Darwin’s book mentions no such actions.

During the ensuing siege of Vicksburg, 4th Corporal William Perkins died of disease on June 14th, 5th Corporal Abe Treadwell was promoted to take his place, 6th Corporal John Farrand was promoted to take Treadwell’s place, 7th Corporal James Adams was promoted to take Farrand’s place, and 8th Corporal Darwin Whipple was promoted to take Adams’ place - but Darwin was not well.

On the June 30th Company Muster Roll, Darwin was marked “Absent sick in Hospital.” On August 3, 1863, he was a patient in St. Louis’ small pox hospital when he died. Due to the infectious nature of the disease, all of his personal effects were burned and he was likely buried in the cemetery on “Quarantine Island,” also known as Arsenal Island. In April, 1876, the island was flooded, wooden markers were destroyed, and the remains of those who could be located were reburied in the national cemetery at Jefferson Barracks. His name appears with that of his wife on a monument in Elkader Cemetery but, for Darwin, it’s likely a cenotaph erected when Eliza died.

Eliza was thirty-seven years old and the mother of six children, aged sixteen to four months, when Darwin died. To secure a badly needed pension, Eliza had to prove she had married Darwin and that they were still married when he died. The town of Croydon found no record of the marriage but, on September 4, 1863, the clerk of Sullivan County issued a certificate confirming the marriage. A month later, still living in Clayton County, Eliza signed an application for a widow’s pension. Witnesses signed affidavits and the claim was submitted. With the pension office inundated by applications, it was the following March before the government verified Darwin’s service and not until July 17, 1865, almost two years after Darwin’s death, that Eliza was finally admitted to the pension rolls at a rate of $8.00 per month retroactive to the date of his death.

Pensions were also paid for a soldier’s children until their 16th birthdays. On September 5, 1866, with the county’s well known attorney, Realto Price, as her representative, Eliza applied on behalf of her four youngest children. Supporting her application were Mary Sargent who had assisted with the births of James and Olive and Relief Robbins who had assisted with the births of Olive, Edgar and Darwin and both of whom had helped Eliza “when she was confined.” The pensions were approved at $2.00 per month for each of the four children, but Eliza’s pension was terminated when she married a widower, Lester Wallace, on May 21, 1868, in Boardman Township.

On July 1, 1866, Cordelia married William Scovel. On March 31, 1872, James married Sada Smith. On February 23, 1873, Joseph married Alice Smith. On April 13, 1875, Olive married John M. Carpenter. On February 22, 1888, Darwin Whipple married Jennie McKinnis. By then, only twenty-six-year-old Edgar was unmarried.

Eliza died on October 28, 1888. The Elkader Weekly Register reported that she had been “keeping house for her son, Ed Whipple, at his Cox Creek creamery near Osborne.” “Edward [sic] was assisting J. M. Carpenter [his brother-in-law] during the day, and on going home about seven o’clock” found his mother, dead from heart disease. She was buried in Elkader Cemetery with a monument erroneously indicating she died in November.

Cordelia died on January 15, 1918, and is buried in Dell Rapids Cemetery, South Dakota. James died on March 16, 1919, and is buried in Edgewood Cemetery. Joseph died on December 11, 1927, and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Chicago. Olive died on August 24, 1929, and is buried in Strawberry Point Cemetery. Edgar died on June 21, 1943, and is buried in Chester Hill Cemetery.

Only the locations of the graves of Darwin Whipple, both father and son, are unknown although Darwin (“Sr.”) may be among those buried in the National Cemetery at Jefferson Barracks. Darwin (“Jr.”) and his family were living in Lincoln Township, Linn County, Kansas, as late as 1930. His two sons, Garland “Garl” Whipple and Reade Darwin Whipple, are buried in the county’s Oaklawn Cemetery in La Cygne, but neither Darwin nor his wife was found.


White, John M.
Co. D, age 18, residence Volga City, Clayton County

08/14/62 enlisted
08/22/62 muster in Company D
09/09/62 muster in Regiment
05/10/65 muster out Prairie du Chien, WI

The above is from the R&R. I have not verified the information.


Wick, Andrew
Wicks, Andrew

Andrew Wick was born in Heppenheim, Germany, on January 26, 1830; Nancy Ann Brandenberg in Indiana on May 8, 1840. On November 13, 1858, they were married in Patch Grove, Wisconsin, and on August 2, 1861, four months after Confederate guns fired on Fort Sumter, Jacob “Jake” Wick, the first of their seven children, was born.

By the fall of 1862, with casualties having mounted and armies, both North and South, in need of reinforcements, President Lincoln called for another 300,000 volunteers. Iowa was asked to supply five regiments in addition to those already in the field. Governor Kirkwood assured the president “the State of Iowa in the future as in the past, will be prompt and ready to do her duty to the country in the time of sore trial. Our harvest is just upon us, and we have now scarcely men enough to save our crops, but if need be our women can help." All eligible men aged 18 to 45 were listed for a possible draft.

One of the 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 Alamakee counties.” Soldiers' Aid Societies were formed, fund-raising fairs were held and residents donated money and furniture, lightning rods, real property, equipment, silver and other items for sale. Iowa paid no state bounties, but cities and counties levied taxes to raise funds for volunteers and their families.

On August 12, 1862, Andrew Wick was enrolled by McGregor postmaster Willard Benton at North Buena Vista and ten days later he was one of 87 men mustered in as Company G of the 21st Iowa Infantry. With his age erroneously listed as twenty-two on the Company Muster-in Roll (an error corrected in his Descriptive Book), 5' 7" Andrew was described as having gray eyes, brown hair and a dark complexion; occupation farmer. The regiment was mustered into service at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin on September 9th and, after brief and largely ineffective training, left for war. On a rainy September 16th, crowded on board the four-year-old sidewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges lashed alongside, they started down the Mississippi. After one night at Rock Island (where they learned that one of their comrades, left behind due to measles contracted during training, had become the first to die), they continued south, debarked at Montrose due to low water, traveled by rail to Keokuk, boarded the Hawkeye State and continued to St. Louis where they arrived on September 20th and, in suffocating heat, walked to Benton Barracks. On the 21st, following an afternoon inspection, they walked to the rail depot and, about midnight, boarded rail cars usually used for freight and livestock and left for Rolla.

The first seven months of their service were spent in Missouri and Andrew was marked “present” on bi-monthly company muster rolls at Salem on October 31st, Houston on December 31st and Iron Mountain on February 28th. On March 11th, after a sixteen mile walk, they arrived in the old French town of St. Genevieve about 3:00 p.m. and made camp on a ridge north of town. They were then transported to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a three-corps army with Generals McPherson, McClernand and Sherman as corps leaders. On a rainy April 12th, 1863, while serving under General McClernand, the regiment started a slow movement south along dirt roads, over abandoned plantations and through swamps west of the river.

On April 29th, with several others from the regiment, Andrew was “left sick at Ashwood Landing” on Hurricane Bend (also known as Davis Bend) while others moved on. On the 30th, the army began crossing from Disharoon’s Plantation to the Bruinsburg landing in Mississippi. The first regiment to cross was assigned to high ground above the landing so they could give a warning if the enemy appeared. The second regiment, the 21st Iowa, was ordered to proceed inland as the army’s point regiment and to keep going until they met the enemy. About midnight near the Abram Shaifer house they were fired on by Confederate pickets but, after a brief exchange of gunfire, both sides rested on their arms. The next day, May 1st, they participated in the Battle of Port Gibson. William Comstock was seriously wounded and died on the 2nd. Charles Roehl sustained a leg wound. The leg was amputated but on the 18th he died. John Van Kuran was wounded in his right arm and the arm was amputated, but on June 18th he too would die. Another fourteen had less serious wounds

The regiment continued inland and, on May 15th, Andrew and several others who had been left behind caught up and rejoined their comrades. On May 16th the regiment was held in reserve and did not participate in the Battle of Champion Hill, but they were then rotated to the front of the army and on the 17th, with the 23d Iowa, led an assault on Confederates entrenched along the east side of the Big Black River. This time regimental casualties were heavy - 7 killed in action, 18 fatally wounded and at least 38 with less severe wounds. Among the wounded were the regiment’s colonel, Sam Merrill, who led his regiment until being seriously wounded early in the assault and Andrew Wick. While charging across an open field, Andrew was shot in his left thigh, a through-and-through wound that caused significant damage as it splintered his femur. After initial treatment in the field, he was sent to the army’s general hospital at Benton Barracks. He was still there in August when, pursuant to a General Order of the War Department, Andrew and two of his comrades were among many transferred to the Invalid Corps (renamed Veterans Reserve Corps the following year) for duties consistent with their health. Andrew was discharged from the military at Burnside Barracks, Indianapolis, on July 5, 1865.

On February 19, 1866, giving his residence as North Buena Vista, Iowa, he applied for an invalid pension saying his wound caused lameness that hindered his ability to earn a living by manual labor. Ten months later it was approved at $2.67 monthly, payable quarterly.

Andrew and Nancy had six more children after the war; children he said were Sarah Adeline born in 1866, Rosanna in 1868, George Andrew in 1870 (erroneously given as 1890), Jonathan in 1872, James Calvin in 1874 and Joseph Allen in 1881 (although birth dates on their gravestones sometimes differ from dates given by their father).

Having once received a pension, Andrew applied for periodic increases. Supported by affidavits from doctors, friends and former comrades, he said some of the splinters had worked their way out of his leg but his disability was getting steadily worse as the leg atrophied. Initial applications were from his home in North Buena Vista, but in 1877 he was living in Memphis, Scotland County, Missouri, where a local doctor said the leg was in a “semi paralytic condition” and two inches less in circumference than his healthy leg. Andrew’s pension was gradually increased - to $8, $14 and the $18 he was receiving when he returned to North Buena Vista and almost 161 acres he owned on a timbered bluff overlooking the Mississippi. A board of pension surgeons in McGregor said his injury was equivalent to the total loss of a hand or foot and “he used a heavy cane in walking and apparently walks with some difficulty.”

On October 12, 1900, seventy-year-old Andrew and his forty-year-old son Jake went fishing on the Mississippi River. As they were hauling in their heavy nets, the boat swamped and capsized. Jake made it to shore but Andrew, with an atrophied and paralytic left leg, was unable to swim and drowned.

The following month, with T. J. Paisley as her attorney, sixty-year-old Nancy applied for a widow’s pension. Her sole assets, she said, were personal property valued at no more than $25 and a one-third dower interest in what was now 105 acres with only 30 under cultivation. Supportive affidavits were submitted by Jake who had been with his father, E. P. Sawyer who witnessed the drowning while standing on the bank, Jonathan and Clarissa Foster who testified to Nancy’s marriage to Andrew, and the County Auditor who testified to the size of the farm. Nancy’s application was still pending on June 5, 1901, when the Elkader Argus reported that “the body of Andrew Wick, the old soldier who was drowned near Buena Vista Oct. 12th, was discovered Friday. Though eight months had passed the remains though badly decomposed were still recognizable.” The Guttenberg Press said the body had been found by Andrew’s son-in-law who, while rowing on the river, “noticed the body of a man in the bushes.” Andrew was buried in North Buena Vista Cemetery where his stone erroneously says he died on October 13th.

Nancy’s pension request was granted and she was receiving quarterly payments of $60 when, at seventy-six years of age, she died in Guttenberg on Thursday, April 26, 1917, at the home of her daughter, Rosanna (Wick) Erie, with whom she had been living. Nancy’s body “was taken to North Buena Vista for burial on Saturday morning, where funeral services were conducted by Rev. Baldwin, of Colesburg, on Saturday afternoon. Interment was in the cemetery in North Buena Vista.”


Wilson, Charles W.
Charles Wilson was born in Massachusetts. His father, Jubel M. Wilson, died when Charles was four years old and, on November 27, 1847, his mother, Eusebia (nee Puffer) Wilson, married Orlin Warn. In 1862 they were living in Giard with a post office address in Council Hill. On August 15th of that year, Charles was enrolled as a private by McGregor postmaster Willard Benton for three years or the end of the war. Charles was described as having blue eyes, brown hair and a light complexion and being 5 feet 7½ inches tall.

On August 22, 1862, he was mustered into Benton's Company G of the 21st Regiment of Iowa Volunteer Infantry, a regiment being organized in the state's northeastern counties, its 3rd Congressional District. On September 9, 1862, with ten companies of sufficient strength, they were mustered in as a regiment with a total complement, officers and enlisted, of 985 men, 87 of whom were in Company G.

Earlier in the war, the law provided for a $100.00 federal bounty to be paid when soldiers completed their enlistments, but, with enlistments lagging, Congress agreed, at Secretary of State Seward's request, that $25.00 could be paid in advance, the balance on discharge. A $2.00 premium would be paid to anyone who secured a recruit or to the recruit himself if he appeared in person. When mustered in, Privates were paid the $25.00, the $2.00 premium and a $13.00 advance on their monthly pay, most of which they left with their dependents.

Like Charles, most of the enlisted men in Iowa regiments were farmers with no prior military experience. Minimal training was received at Camp Franklin (previously known as Camp Union) located "on a sandy plateau on the bank of the Mississippi" just south of Eagle Point on the north side of Dubuque. Its buildings, one per company, were each twenty by sixty feet and "arranged to accommodate one hundred men each." The camp, including the drill and parade grounds, was enclosed by a line or path where a sentry walked his beat day and night, allowing no one to pass either in or out without permission. That said, one author said the camp “was so near the men’s homes, that their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, wives, sweethearts, and friends, were too often present to allow either drill or discipline to any great extent.”

September 16th was rainy and miserable as the regiment left camp and marched through town, while families, friends and local residents watched. Women sent cakes and cheese and others tossed apples. From the levee at the foot of Jones Street most of the men boarded a densely crowded steamer, the Henry Clay, and two open barges lashed alongside and left for war.

Bimonthly company muster rolls indicated the presence or absence of the soldier as of the last day of the period and Charles was marked ''present" through the end of the year as they performed early service in Missouri with Charles spending part of the time as a cook. On February 8, 1863, they were in West Plains when they started a march to the northeast, walking much of the time in rain and snow. By the end of the month many were suffering from colds, pneumonia, chronic diarrhoea and other ailments.

On February 27, 1863, they were in Iron Mountain when Charles wrote to his parents, enclosed $10.00, and said, "i have a very bad cold." His throat was hoarse, but he bought a bottle of Dr. Wistar's Balsam of Wild Cherry and thought he would soon be well. "[I]t snowed like fury," he said, "& we had to scrape the snow away make our bed right in the mud." They were still in Iron Mountain on March 8th when he wrote again. "I sit down here in my lonely tent to write a few lines to you to let you know how I am well I am not very well I have a Very bad cold but still i guess I shall be better in a few days." He closed;

"From Charley to All that take pains to enquire after him

Three days later they reached the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River where they waited for further orders. Charles' company and two others left on board the Ocean Wave on April 1st. After traveling about twenty miles downstream, they tied up for the night. On the 2nd, they left at daybreak, reached Cairo about 2:00pm, and stopped for two or three hours. While there, Charles was admitted to Cairo's general hospital.

His health did not improve and, on April 10, 1863, the hospital Chaplain wrote to Eusebia to let her know that Charles was "sinking." That same night, about midnight, Charles died. The next day the Chaplain wrote again and let Eusebia know that her only child had died, "as far as I can judge in peace with God through Jesus Christ, so he expressed himself to me so you will not mourn as one without hope. I conducted his funeral service to day." Charles' Final Statement, his Descriptive Book and other military records confirmed that his death was caused by "typhoid pneumonia." He is buried in the Mound City National Cemetery, Mound City, Illinois, where a military stone reads:

C. W. Wilson

Life was difficult for Eusebia and Orlin. Orlin’s health was bad and, in a labor intensive economy, he had been unable to do more than one-third or one-half of the work of an able-bodied man for many years. Some said Orlin could now do no work. He hired others to assist him but, after paying them, sometimes had only $100 a year for other expenses. Eusebia found work outside their home, but was able to generate only minimal additional income. In September 1865 her brother, Thomas, visited from Massachusetts, moved in with them, and helped as much as possible but, in April 1867, he returned home while Eusebia and Orlin moved to Monona.

With Orlin's health not improving, Eusebia applied for a pension in 1881. To prove her entitlement as a dependent mother, she secured affidavits from friends, her husband and her brother. Several attested to her credibility. She was, said one, a "credible and highly worthy person of good morals and entitled to credit for integrity under all circumstances." Doctors attested to Orlin's poor health and his inability to provide sufficient income for him and his wife. Men who had worked with Orlin said he was unable to do a full day's work and was often bedridden for several days at a time.

Eusebia's original application was deemed abandoned by the Pension Office after she or her attorney apparently failed to submit necessary documentation. She applied again in 1883, hired attorney George Lemon to assist her, and submitted eighteen supportive affidavits. Lemon, a Civil War veteran from New York, was well known and possibly the most effective and reputable of the pension attorneys based in Washington, D.C. This time Eusebia’s application was granted and on January 27, 1886, a certificate was mailed entitling her to $8.00 per month retroactive to January 17, 1883 when the second application was filed. Orlin died in 1887 and was buried in Monona Cemetery. Eusebia's pension was paid to July 4, 1891 and, on June 30, 1893 she was dropped from the pension rolls.


Wiltse, George Washington
Co. D, 21st Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry

Born 02/17/1845 Clayton County, Iowa
Enlisted 08/15/1862 Elkader, Iowa
Mustered Out 07/15/1864 Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Died 07/15/1930 Montezuma, Iowa

The son of Leonard and Jane (Smith) Wiltse, George Washington Wiltse, was born in Clayton County on February 17, 1845. During the Civil War, infantry regiments were to consist of approximately 1,000 men, each taking an oath of loyalty to the United States. No man under the rank of commissioned officer was to be younger than eighteen nor older than forty-five although age requirements were not always honored and some men stretched to permit (or prevent) their enlistment. Later in the war, requirements were often eased with minors openly accepted on the signature of a parent who would "freely give my consent to his volunteering as a soldier.”

When George enlisted at Elkader on August 15, 1862 he was only seventeen, but he may have made a “patriotic fib” since his age was listed as eighteen on his Company Muster-in-Roll, in his Descriptive Book, in the Adjutant General’s Report (1863), and in the state’s Roster and Record of Iowa Soldiers (1910). When the company was mustered in a week later at Dubuque, he was described as being 5' 7¾” tall with blue eyes, dark hair, and a dark complexion.

He was ill and treated in the post hospital at Milliken’s Bend, Louisiana in April 1863 and in the division hospital in June of the 1863, but the hospitalizations were short, he maintained his health better than most, and he was present and able for duty during most of his service.

On May 22, 1863, General Grant ordered an assault on Confederate lines at Vicksburg. During the assault, the regiment had twenty-three killed in action, another twelve mortally wounded, and forty-eight non-fatally wounded. George was among the wounded but, fortunately, it was relative minor. After Vicksburg capitulated on July 4, 1863, George was marked “present” on all bi-monthly muster rolls for the balance of his service. During that time he saw service in Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Alabama. The regiment was mustered out of service on July 15, 1865 at Baton Rouge, and, like many others, George elected to pay the government $6.00 so he could retain his musket and accouterments.

Leaving about 7:00am on the 16th, they started up-river past memories of three years of combat, scenes of battle and graves of friends. They reached Cairo, Illinois, about 8:00 a.m. on July 20th debarked and "went to the soldiers rest where a dinner was waiting.” They left Cairo by rail that same afternoon and reached Clinton about midnight the next day. On the 24th they were discharged and George, still only twenty years old, returned to his home in Clayton County where he continued his prewar work as a farmer.

Five years later, in July 1870, he married Emily J. Twombly. They reportedly had five children, D. O. Wiltse who died at four years of age, Frank, Lottie born in 1873, Maude, and William who was born on July 20, 1880. In 1877 the family moved to Montezuma and, in 1883 George began working in the dray and coal business.

Emily died on May 5, 1885 and was buried in Montezuma’s Masonic IOOF (International Order of Odd Fellows) Cemetery. On May 12, 1889, George married Matilda F. “Tillie” Myers. To them a daughter, Lois Eva Wiltse, was born on November 22, 1893. Well-respected, George was appointed as Montezuma’s Postmaster in 1903, a position he held for many years.

On July 15, 1930 - sixty-five years to the day from when he was mustered out at Baton Rouge - eighty-five year old George Wiltse died in Montezuma. He was buried in the town’s Masonic IOOF Cemetery. His wife died in 1943 and was buried with him.


Withrow, James Paul
James Paul Withrow, son of Daniel C. and Sarah DeVore Withrow, was born on December 10, 1839, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The family moved to McGregor in about 1842 and settled on the “Gass farm” in Mendon Township. A year later, they moved to a new home in Section 7. The 1860 census for Mendon Township listed Daniel C. (a 52-year old farmer) and Sarah (age 45) Withrow. They reportedly had nine children, but only five were listed in the census. Not listed were Isabella (born March 27, 1832), William S. (born June 22, 1834) and possibly living in Ohio at the time of the census, and Fannie J. (born in 1837). The five who were listed were James Paul (born December 11, 1839), Samuel (born April 18, 1842), John McCoy (born in 1847) and Hellen V. aka Ellen (born in 1850), all in Pennsylvania, and Daniel M. (born in Iowa in 1852). The identity of the ninth child has not been determined.

During the Civil War, William served with the 1st Ohio Infantry while James and Samuel enlisted together on August 14, 1862, in an infantry company being raised in Iowa’s northeastern counties. Twenty-two-year old James was enrolled as a 4th Corporal by McGregor postmaster Willard Benton. On August 22nd, in Dubuque, they were mustered into service as Company G with a total of eighty-six men, including company officers. When ten companies were of sufficient strength, they were mustered in as the 21st Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Like other volunteers, James was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 bounty (the balance being due on completion of his service) and a $2.00 premium. In lieu of the latter day “dog tags,” Civil War soldiers had a written “Descriptive List.” James was described as being a 5' 8¾” farmer with brown eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion.

On a rainy September 16th, 1862, after brief, and relatively ineffective, training at Camp Franklin, those able to travel boarded the tightly packed Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside and left for war.

James’ initial service went well and Company Muster Rolls showed he was “present” through June 30, 1863. After one night at Benton Barracks in St. Louis, they saw several months of service in the Ozarks of southern Missouri - Rolla, Salem, Houston, Hartville and back to Houston. The Descriptive List indicates that James was one of the volunteers from Company G who participated in a one-day battle at Hartville on January 11, 1863, when three men were killed in action, another was fatally wounded, and thirteen had non-fatal wounds.

From Houston they went south to West Plains and then walked to the northeast. On February 24, 1863, at Ironton, James was promoted to 1st Corporal. From Ironton they went to Ste. Genevieve and then, by river steamers, to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a massive army intent on capturing the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg.

During the Vicksburg Campaign, James participated in the May 1, 1863, Battle of Port Gibson and was present at the May 16, 1863 Battle of Champion’s Hill when his regiment was held in reserve and forced to wait as men in other regiments died. For this they were highly critical of their Corps’ leader, John McClernand. The next day, James participated in the May 17, 1863, assault at the Big Black River Bridge during which the regiment had seven killed in action, eighteen mortally wounded, and another thirty-eight who were wounded less seriously. After treating their wounded, the regiment moved on to Vicksburg where James was with the regiment as it participated in the May 22, 1863 assault on Confederate lines and had another twenty-three men killed in action, twelve wounded fatally, and forty-eight who had non-fatal wounds.

After the siege of Vicksburg and the subsequent siege of Jackson, Mississippi, James became ill and was transported north on a hospital boat. On August 21, 1863 he was admitted to a general hospital in Keokuk where he was treated for several months before rejoining his regiment at New Orleans on June 18, 1864.

On August 1, 1864, while the regiment was at Morganza Bend, James was promoted to 5th Sergeant. He then continued with the regiment during its activities in Arkansas and Tennessee, but there his career took a turn. From Memphis, the regiment was ordered to try to intercept Confederate General Hood on his southern withdrawal from Nashville. It performed as ordered, but Hood was able to make his escape. While the exhausted northern soldiers were returning to Memphis through water, mud and slush, they camped at White’s Station and there, on December 29, 1864, James Withrow was “reduced to the ranks for using unbecoming language to his commanding officer,” Lieutenant Colonel Salue G. Van Anda.

Subsequently, James participated in actions that led to the occupation of Mobile, Alabama, and in the regiment’s final activities in Louisiana before being mustered out with the rest of the regiment at Baton Rouge on July 15, 1865. Like many others, James purchased his musket and accouterments from the government for $6.00 and then went north by river transport and rail, was discharged at Clinton on July 24th, and returned to the family homestead.

On September 16, 1872, veterans of the regiment convened in Dubuque on the tenth anniversary of the day they had left for war. James Withrow was still living in McGregor and was one of seventy-four men who attended the two-day reunion.

After the death of his father in 1876 and mother in 1890, and their burial in McGregor’s Pleasant Grove Cemetery, James continued to work the family farm before moving to Oronco, Minnesota. While there, on April 19, 1896, at age fifty-six, he married thirty-eight-year-old Ada Schramm in Milwaukee. It was a first marriage for each of them. James and Ada later moved to Pasadena, California. They were living at 61 North Parkwood, Pasadena, when James died on November 16, 1921, at eighty-one years of age. He was buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Altadena, California and, the following April, Ada applied for a widow’s pension.

To obtain a pension, Ada had to convince the federal Pension Office, that she and James had been married, that if previously married they had been divorced from their prior spouses or their spouses had died, that she and James were living as husband and wife at the time of his death, and that she had not remarried. Unlike most veterans, James had never applied for a pension, so the Pension Office had no record of his marriage. Ada secured affidavits from two Pasadena residents who attested to the marriage and said neither James nor Ada had been married previously but, at ages forty-two and fifty-three, the Pension Office said they were too young to know if either James or Ada had been married to other spouses prior to their 1896 marriage. Ada then contacted two McGregor residents, seventy-nine-year-old Eugenia Davies and eighty-year-old Lawrence Jennings, both of whom signed affidavits swearing that neither James nor Ada had been married prior to their marriage to each other. On June 15, 1923, Ada was granted a $30.00 monthly pension, an amount later increased to $40.00. Ada died on August 6, 1937 at age seventy-nine. She was buried next to her husband in Mountain View Cemetery.


Withrow, Samuel T.
Samuel T. Withrow, born April 18, 1842, in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, was the son of Daniel C. and Sarah (Devore) Withrow. The family, including Samuel and his brothers and sisters, moved to Iowa in 1852 and “settled on the Gass farm in Mendon township.” The following year they moved “out on the ridge” to what would be the family’s longtime homestead consisting of 440 acres in Section 7. (see James Withrow bio above for the 1860 census data on this family)

During the Civil War, William served with the 1st Ohio Infantry while James and Samuel enlisted together on August 14, 1862, in an infantry company being raised in Iowa’s northeastern counties. On August 22nd it was mustered into service as Company G with eighty-six men, including McGregor postmaster, Willard Benton, as Captain. Like other volunteers, twenty-year-old Samuel was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 federal enlistment bounty (the balance due on completion of his service) and a $2.00 premium. He was described in the Company Descriptive Book as being a 5'11" farmer with brown eyes, dark hair and a dark complexion.

When all ten companies were organized and of sufficient strength, they were mustered in on September 9, 1862, as the 21st Regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry. On September 16th, they left Dubuque and, on a very hot September 20th, arrived by steamer at St. Louis. There, heavily encumbered by knapsacks, haversacks, clothes, blankets, heavy muskets, canteens and personal accouterments, much unnecessary and later discarded, they stood on the levee for an hour. Then, according to Benton, Lt. Col. Dunlap: “marched the men to Benton Barracks at an unreasonable speed and Samuel T. Withrow & several other men were overheat and gave out. . . . I halted the company contrary to orders & my company got to barracks a good while after the balance of the regiment got there.”

A healthy young man before the march, Sam Withrow was exhausted, but continued on duty and was with the regiment when it moved by rail to Rolla and then marched south He was “present” on the October 31st muster roll at Salem, but was left behind when the regiment moved to Houston. He caught up and was with the regiment during subsequent service in Houston, West Plains and Ironton but, on February 28th, at Iron Mountain, he was “sick in quarters.” He then continued with the regiment when it moved to Ste. Genevieve and then by steamer down the Mississippi where General Grant was organizing a massive army to capture the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg.

The upcoming march south through swamps and bayous west of the Mississippi would be difficult and many would be left behind, sent to hospitals, or granted leave to go north. Samuel was granted a thirty-day furlough on April 12th so he could go home to recuperate. He returned to McGregor, over-stayed his furlough, and consulted a military surgeon in Prairie du Chien. On June 27th, Dr. Darius Mason wrote that, in his opinion, Samuel was “suffering from the effects of recent pneumonia” and it would be at least another thirty days before he would be ready for duty. Samuel was admitted to an army hospital in Davenport where, on August 10, 1863, John Adler, a U. S. Army Surgeon, found “him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of valvular disease of the heart.” The post commandant agreed that Samuel was too incapacitated even for “transfer into the Invalid Corps” and, on August 11, 1863, Samuel was discharged.

His brother, John, died the following year, his sister Fannie died in 1871 and his sister Hellen in 1874. Samuel’s parents also died, his father in 1876 and his mother in 1890. All were buried McGregor’s Pleasant Grove Cemetery.

Meanwhile, on October 16, 1870, twenty-eight-year-old Samuel married twenty-year-old Alpina Kent in West Union. Their children would include Sarah born August 17, 1871, Reuben born October 9, 1881, Fredrick born July 26, 1883, Frances born August 14, 1886, and Nellie born January 9, 1889. By then the family had moved to Dexter, Minnesota. With Ormanzo Allen, an Austin physician as his attorney, Samuel applied for a federal invalid pension on May 6, 1886, claiming that, during the march to Benton Barracks, “he received a sun stroke and also had a bleeding or hemorheage of the lungs and had also a disease of the heart.” On September 29th, in Austin, he was examined by a board of pension surgeons.

He was originally pensioned at $6.00 per month from May 11, 1886 (when his application was filed) for heart disease. The certificate evidencing the pension was, inexplicably, later “reissued” at $10.00 from May 11, 1886. In November 1886, he secured affidavits from Willard Benton and Maple Moody with whom he had served and from seven others who knew him and could testify regarding his health before and after the military. On July 11, 1888, he applied for an increase and named George M. Van Leuven, Jr., of Lime Springs, Iowa, as his new attorney. During the war Van Leuven had served with the 3rd Iowa Infantry and the 52nd U.S. Colored Infantry.

After serving four and one-half years, he returned to Lime Springs, worked as a dry goods clerk and in the pharmaceutical business before concentrating on work as an agent helping veterans secure pensions, something at which he apparently excelled. He had long been recognized for “operating a very successful pension agency.” He was “credited with being the most successful pension agent in the state” with references from a U.S. Senator, members of Congress, attorney Thomas Updegraff of McGregor, and many others. On December 28, 1889, Samuel wrote to the Commissioner and said: “I want Mr. Van Leuven to be my Attorney or the Agent as he has done all my work, procured all the testimony without any postage stamps to assist him and I want him to have the legal fee of $25.00 and I trust that you will recognize him as the Attorney of Record in my claim because the first attorney has done nothing for me, never has furnished me with any blank, nor assisted me in securing a single Affidavit.”

In addition to testimony in the nine affidavits already filed (and apparently “procured” by Van Leuven), another fourteen witnesses, including five veterans of the 21st Infantry, signed affidavits, all on printed forms provided by Van Leuven. Samuel also filed his own affidavit indicating he had been unable to secure evidence from any of the regiment’s commissioned officers or its surgeons as to the “origin” of his disabilities or from doctors who had treated him after his discharge.

In October, 1892, his latest affidavit was received by the pension office. The following March, Grover Cleveland started his second term as President. In April, he appointed William Lochren as Commissioner of Pensions. In May, George Van Leuven was arrested. It was alleged that he had drafted falsified affidavits that witnesses then copied in their own hand-writing, that he bribed surgeons who conducted medical examinations, and that he engaged in other conduct contrary to pension laws. In 1894 he was convicted and sentenced to prison. Meanwhile, the pension office began an investigation of more than 1,000 cases in which Van Leuven had represented the claimants. Samuel Withrow’s claim was among them. Samuel retained Charles Nash of St. Paul, Minnesota, as his new attorney while the Pension Office referred his case for “special examination” with a note that Samuel’s claim had been: “filed by Attorney Van Leuven, and the testimony in support thereof was prepared by him and appears to have been gotten up in accordance with his well known methods.”

Special Examiners in Iowa, Minnesota, Arkansas and Nebraska took depositions, twenty-four in all, some from those who had previously submitted affidavits on Samuel’s behalf and some who had not, and Samuel was required to submit to another medical exam, this one by an entirely new Board of Surgeons in Rochester, Minnesota. Like the doctors before them, they found “disease of heart probably due to rheumatism” and that “the lung trouble complained of no doubt is due to heart disease.” Special Examiner Bates said Samuel was “regarded as a man of good standing” and “appeared honest” when giving his deposition. The legitimacy of his claim was further shown by the letters written by military doctors before he was discharged.

Ultimately, while some of the affidavits seemed questionable, there was no finding of any wrongdoing by Samuel and, in 1899, his pension was increased to $17.00. The following year, during the December two-week term of a District Court in Iowa, a civil judgment was entered against Samuel for $862.22 plus attorney fees of $45.80. A $200.00 judgment was entered against Alpina.

On October 29, 1902, still receiving his $17.00 monthly pension, Samuel died. He was buried in Oronoco Cemetery, Mower County, Minnesota.

Ten days after her husband’s death, Alpina applied for a widow’s pension. Supported by affidavits from friends and relatives who attested to her marriage of thirty-two years and who confirmed that she and Samuel were still married and living together as husband and wife when he died, her application was approved at $12.00 for her and $2.00 for Nellie who was only thirteen when her father died. On September 6, 1913, Alpina sold a quarter-section of land in Mower County for a reported $8,000. Three years later, on September 12, 1916, Alpina died. She was buried next to Samuel in the Oronoco Cemetery.

Sadly, it was another twenty-five years before Nellie, “in going through some old papers,” first learned that her father had served in the Civil War.


Wooldridge, John Archer
John Archer Wooldridge, son of Samuel and Rebecca (Walthol) Wooldridge, was born in Todd County, Kentucky, on August 28, 1830. His mother died in 1837 and was buried a few miles to the south in Clarksville, Tennessee. His father died in 1845 and is buried in Carlinville, Illinois.

By 1856, John was in Iowa working as a farmer and cooper. On July 3rd of that year, he and Mary Ellen Burdine were married by Justice of the Peace D. K. Wooster in Elk Township, Delaware County. After “wild and giddy speculation” from 1856 to 1857, “hard times began to settle down” and by October of 1857, the North Iowa Times was reporting on bank, railroad and individual failures. It was during these “hard times” that John and Mary had their first child, Melissa Jane Wooldridge, who was born on April 27, 1857. Melissa was followed by John Archer Jr. in 1858, and Francis Irvin in 1860.

They lived near Volga City until October, 1859, but then moved to the Edgewood area for a year, then to Elkport for another year and finally back to a farm near Edgewood in November 1861, the same month Mary gave birth to their fourth child, Charles Finley. Confederate guns had fired on Fort Sumter seven months earlier and the war escalated beyond comprehension. In the summer of 1862, President Lincoln called for 300,000 more volunteers with Iowa to furnish five regiments in addition to those already in the field. If its quota wasn’t raised by August 15th a draft was likely.

It was in response to this call that the state’s 21st infantry regiment was raised with most of its members coming from the northeastern counties. It was mustered into service on September 9, 1862, left for war on the 16th and saw many months of service in Missouri before participating in the successful Vicksburg Campaign that ended with the city’s surrender on July 4, 1863. Three months later, Charles died shortly before his second birthday and in November another son, Willis Sheldon, was born.

On February 25, 1864, the regiment was serving along the gulf coast of Texas when John signed a three-year enlistment credited to Lodomillo Township in Clayton County. Twenty-nine-year-old Mary and the four children - Melissa 6, John Jr. 5, Francis 3 and Willis almost 3 months - would cope with John’s absence the best they could. On March 23rd, John, Joseph Houston, Newton Green and other recruits left Davenport on a river transport. At thirty-three years of age, John was a strong, healthy man when he left for war, but not long after passing Cairo he became ill. Newton said John “was exposed all one night to severe storm of rain, being on the upper deck of the boat.” Joseph agreed and said John was left behind in Memphis while the others continued their trip.

On March 26th, only three days after leaving Davenport, John was suffering from double pneumonia when he was admitted to Memphis’ Adams U.S.A. General Hospital. He would remain hospitalized for more than eight months until being released on December 11th so he could join the regiment then camped nearby. He remained on active duty during the next spring’s Mobile Campaign and the two weeks the regiment spent at Camp Salubrity near Natchitoches before going to Baton Rouge. On July 12th, with his three-year commitment not having expired, John and other recruits were transferred to a 34th/38th Iowa consolidated regiment. Others were mustered out at Baton Rouge on July 15th while, with the war at an end, John was mustered out at Houston, Texas, on August 15th and returned to his family near Edgewood.

John and Mary had three more children after the war - Otis Thomas in 1866, Ellen Rebecca in 1868 and Jesse Edward in 1876 - and John resumed work as a cooper and farmer. Like most veterans who had war-related disabilities, John requested an invalid pension. To sustain the claim, he would have to convince the Bureau of Pensions that he had been disabled in the war, had served at least ninety days, had been honorably discharged and was unable, at least partially, to perform manual labor due to the disability. John applied on December 2, 1879, and government records confirmed his illness, hospitalization and honorable discharge. To prove his postwar ability to do manual labor was impaired due to the service-related illness, he secured sworn affidavits from people who knew him before his enlistment, from comrades who were with him in the service, and from neighbors and others aware of his condition.

Sears Richards said John was healthy before enlisting and “worked for my father on the farm a great deal especially through haying and harvest.” Joseph Lacour testified that John was “a strong healthy able-bodied man inured to constant hard manual labor” before enlisting. After the war it was different. William Bacon worked with John “a great number of times Have been on the road teaming to market a distance of 14 miles” and had seen him at least twice a week, often every day. John, he said, “always sustained a good reputation for truth and veracity, was a man of good moral character,” but was no longer “able to perform as much labor as an ordinary able-bodied man.” George Elliot had also worked with John “on the roads teaming” and, due to John’s “Pleuratic adhesion and heart disease,” knew John could not do as much work as healthy men. Another neighbor, William Rosecrans, had also worked with John “on the road teaming” and knew John was not well. Newell Bixby, an Edgewood minister who had preached at the 1863 funeral of one-year-old Charles Wooldridge, said “he worked for me in chopping fire wood” and said one of the now-deceased neighbors had told him that John “was the best man that he ever had work for him,” but that was before the war. After the war, Henry Joys had seen John “at various times in apparent trrible suffering, complaining of distress in breathing. at the same time placing his hand to his side and complain of terrible agony.” Nelson Firman and Abel Allen were also neighbors. Nelson said John “was obliged to labor, having a large family to support” and “being very ambitious he would labor when he appeared unfit.” Abel thought John’s voice had changed since his sickness and “he suffered with pains in his lungs and could not rest at night.” Newton Green, Joseph Houston, Aaron Conner, Sears Richards and Eber Golder had all served with John and also signed affidavits on his behalf. On April 13, 1882, almost two and one-half years after he applied, a certificate was mailed entitling John to $6.00 per month, payable quarterly through the Des Moines pension agency.

Having once secured a pension, veterans usually sought to increase the amounts awarded. John was pensioned for disease of the heart and lungs and nine times, always giving his address as Edgewood or “near” Edgewood, he applied for increases saying, in printed form affidavits, that those conditions had worsened and he thought the rate he was then receiving was “unjustly and unreasonably low and disproportionate to the rate drawn by other pensioners for similar or equivalent disabilities.” Sometimes increases were granted; sometimes they weren’t. By 1898 the amount had increased to $30.00 monthly and, in 1903, still in Edgewood, he applied again although no apparent action was taken.

John and Mary moved to Oelwein in Fayette County and were living there in 1915 when he answered a government questionnaire giving his address as 217 Fifth Avenue East and in 1916 when he applied for an increase under the “general law.” W. E. Robinson, the family’s Olewein doctor, said eighty-five-year-old John had heart problems and dropsy, “has often to sit up in bed to get his breath,” and “requires the regular aid and attendance of another person and will probably until death which may come at any time.”

John Wooldridge died at home in Olewein on October 14, 1917, and was buried in Green Hill Cemetery a few miles north of Edgewood. Mary applied for and received a $25.00 monthly widow’s pension that she received until her death at Melissa’s home on May 24, 1938, at age 102. Her funeral was held at Edgewood’s Methodist Episcopal Church and she was buried next to John in Green Hill Cemetery.


Wood, William O.
The son of William and Nellie Rebecca (Talcott) Wood, William Orval (sometimes shown as Orvil) Wood was born on December 10, 1829 (elsewhere 1830), in Madison Township, Lake County, Ohio. He was about twelve years old when he moved with his parents to Michigan and then, in 1851, to Delaware County, Iowa.

Jane Ann Bay was born in May Township, Lee County, Illinois. Her father, Joseph Bay, had arrived in the area in the 1830s and was credited with being the first settler in the township. Jane said she was born on August 13, 1837. On November 23, 1856, William and Jane were married by Justice of the Peace E. L. Gardner in Strawberry Point. On January 30, 1858, a daughter (Mary “Almedia” Wood) was born in Fayette County and on June 8, 1861, a son (Ervin Bird Wood) was born in Clayton County.

The children were four and one when William enlisted in the Union army on August 11, 1862, at Strawberry Point. He was described as being 5' 7" tall with blue eyes, auburn hair, and a sandy complexion. Enlisting with him was Brad Talcott, a near neighbor who had also been born in Lake County, Ohio. William and Brad would be tent mates during the war.

They were mustered into Company B on August 18th at Dubuque’s Camp Franklin and, on September 9th, ten companies were mustered in as the 21st regiment of Iowa’s volunteer infantry. On board the paddlewheel steamer Henry Clay and two barges tied alongside, the regiment left for war on September 16, 1862. After one night in St. Louis, they traveled by rail to Rolla, Missouri. A month later they walked south to Salem and, from there, moved to Houston and then Hartville.

While stationed at Hartville, they were dependent on supplies brought by wagon trains traveling under guard from the railhead in Rolla, through Salem and Houston, to Hartville. On November 22, Chaplain Sloan wrote to his McGregor Sunday School class that he thought they were “going to Rolla as soon as the train returns” and Colonel Merrill advised Adjutant General Baker that “we move to Houston Mo. Monday” (the 24th). On the 23d, Chaplain Sloan wrote that the wagon train had been gone for a week, but “we expect them certainly tomorrow.”

Despite the expectations of men in the regiment, the wagon train was still fifteen miles from Hartville on the 24th and, that night, the teamsters and guards made camp in Hog Holler along Beaver Creek. About 7:00 p.m. some of the men were cooking, some were resting, some were helping with the horses, others were on picket, and the more fortunate were searching for forage when the camp was attacked. Their attackers, with estimates ranging from 400 to 1,500, were mounted and within forty yards when first noticed as they “came down the road with yells & shrieks firing as they came,” said Henry Dyer, and quickly overwhelmed the Federals. In the 21st Infantry, George Chapman was killed instantly, two more were fatally wounded, at least three suffered less serious wounds, and thirteen were captured. Among the captured was William Wood. The prisoners were stripped of their clothes and, said Gilbert Cooley, forced “to take the oath not to take up arms until regularly exchanged or be shot on the spot. They were drawn up in a line & allowed to take their choice of course they took the oath” and were then paroled.

William remained with the regiment through its remaining service in Missouri - Houston, West Plains, Ironton, Iron Mountain and Ste. Genevieve - and he was with it when they went down the Mississippi to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant organized a large, three-corps, army intent on capturing Vicksburg, a city that President Lincoln said was the “key”to winning the war. During the Vicksburg Campaign, William Wood participated in the May 1, 1863, Battle of Port Gibson, was present when the regiment was held in reserve during the May 16th Battle of Champion’s Hill, participated in the May 17th assault at the Big Black River when their Colonel was severely wounded, participated in a May 22nd assault at Vicksburg when their Lieutenant Colonel was killed, and participated in the ensuing siege. William suffered no injuries during the campaign, but the regiment had 31 men killed in action, 34 with fatal wounds, at least 102 with non-fatal wounds (some serious enough to cause their discharge), and eight men captured.

After an expedition to and siege of Jackson, the regiment spent time in southwestern Louisiana and then moved to the Gulf Coast of Texas for eight months before engaging in light activities in Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee. Its final campaign was in the spring of 1865 when it served under General Canby, was transported to Dauphin Island at the entrance to Mobile Bay, moved up the east coast of the bay with young Arnold Allen as the only fatality, and occupied the city of Mobile.

They were mustered out at Baton Rouge on July 15th, discharged at Clinton on July 24th, and free to return to their homes, wives and, in many instances, children who would not recognize their fathers. William later recalled that, carrying the 1862 Springfield musket he had purchased from the government, he walked down a dirt road and past several young girls who asked, “Are you my daddy?”

By April 1866, William and his family were living in Dow City in Crawford County. That was the same year the main line of the Northwestern Railroad was expanding westward to Denison, Arion and Dow City. They lived initially in the section house where they boarded railroad workers and Jane cooked meals for the workers until the family moved onto a farm.

Four more children were born in Crawford County - Effie Jane Wood (September 27, 1869), Nellie Rebecca Wood (June 7, 1873), Florence Elvira Wood (June 27, 1877) and Anna Pearl Wood (December 11, 1880). Two other children died young.

In 1887, although living in Dow City, William joined the John A. Logan Post, Post 58, of the Grand Army of the Republic in Denison. Two years later, on August 13, 1889, the Bud Smith Post, Post 464, was chartered in Dow City with William as one of its twenty-one charter members.

The following year, at sixty years of age, he applied for an “invalid pension.” Laws in effect at the time required that he convince the government that he was suffering from a war-related wound, injury or illness. William said that he, like many others, had contracted “camp diarrhoea” while in Missouri, that led to other problems, and his vision was deteriorating due to actions in Mississippi and Louisiana. Supportive affidavi ts were signed by three of his former comrades (Christian Maxson, Brad Talcott and William Appleton), by friends who now lived near him, and by his family doctor. Initially, his claim was rejected but, on May 10, 1892, a certificate was issued at $8.00 monthly for disease of the eyes and digestive organs.

William and Jane lived on their farm about five miles south of town for many years but, about 1890, bought a hotel in Dow City and moved into town. They and their daughters ran the hotel until 1895 when the building was destroyed by fire, something that was “a shock to his nerves and general health.” The hotel was next to a newspaper business and some thought a disgruntled employee had set fire to newspapers. William’s insurance carrier denied coverage and William never recovered from the financial loss.

He died on March 24, 1900. Funeral services were held at the Methodist church two days later and William was buried in Dow City Cemetery with the G.A.R. conducting graveside services. Obituaries remembered him as “one of the old settlers” of the township and “an honest, upright old man, of kindly nature.”

The following month, Jane applied for a widow’s pension. To sustain her claim, she had to prove that she and William had married, they were still married and living as husband and wife when he died, and she had not remarried. She secured a certified copy of the record of their marriage and affidavits from friends who were present at the wedding and from others who could attest to their subsequent life as husband and wife. “The only property I own,” she said, “is an undivided interest as the widow of William O. Wood in a store building situated in Dow City.” It was worth about $1,000, but her interest, if the building were sold, would only be one third. “I am allowed the income from the property by the other heirs, my children, on condition that I keep up repairs insurance etc.” She was doing her best but, after paying expenses, had only a $57.45 “balance for my own living and rent.” She was approved for a pension of $8.00 monthly, an amount subsequently increased.

Jane died on March 8, 1926, in Omaha, Nebraska, at age eighty-seven. She was buried with William in Dow City. On obituary said she had first arrived in Dow City “in a covered wagon” and had been a member of the United Brethren Church, the Rebekah Lodge, and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.


Wright, Richard 'Dick'
Richard Wright was born in Malone, New York. A 1900 federal census said he was born in April 1837, but other records said he was born in 1834, 1835, 1836 or 1838. From New York he moved to Wisconsin and, from there, to Clayton County where an extensive system of stage lines had been developed by 1853. With more and more settlements being established, the demand for better mail delivery and more stage lines grew and Richard found ready work as a stagecoach driver.

He was working in that capacity when, on August 11, 1862, he was enrolled at McGregor by William Crooke as a Private for a company the being raised in the state’s northeastern counties. On August 16th they were ordered into quarters at Camp Franklin in Dubuque and, on the 18th were mustered in as Company B.

Infantry regiments had ten companies and, when all were of sufficient strength, they were mustered in as the state’s 21st regiment of volunteer infantry by Captain George S. Pierce, U.S. Mustering Officer. A big man, possibly the tallest in the regiment at 6 '4½", Richard was described as having a dark complexion, blue eyes and black hair. Like others in the regiment, he was paid $25.00 of the $100.00 federal enlistment bounty, plus a $2.00 premium. The balance of the bounty would be paid if honorably discharged.

They left for war on September 16th, spent one night in St. Louis and then traveled by train to the railhead in Rolla. On arrival on September 22nd, in possible recognition of his experience with horses, Richard was assigned to duty as a Company teamster. He continued in that role through the end of the year even though he became ill and, for a while in February, was sick in quarters.

On March 2, 1863, they were in Iron Mountain, Missouri, when Jim Bethard, also a private in Company B, wrote to his wife, Caroline: “Dick Wright's wife has not been with us since we left Dubuque she is living in Wisconsin with some of her friends Dick is still with us as full of the old harry as ever."

From Iron Mountain they walked to the old French town of Ste. Genevieve on the Mississippi River. There, on April 1, 1863, they boarded the Ocean Wave and were transported downstream to Milliken’s Bend where General Grant was organizing a large three-corps army for the purpose of occupying the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg. In a corps led by General John McClernand, the regiment started south, with soldiers frequently having to make their way through bayous and swamps. Along the way, Richard Wright, Jim Bethard and many others became ill and were left behind as their regiment moved on. Richard was left at Joshua James’ Ione plantation, but was later moved to Judge Perkins’ Somerset and, from there, to the U. S. Army General Hospital at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis.

Vicksburg surrendered to federal forces on July 4, 1863, and, in early September, Richard rejoined the regiment while it was stationed along Bayou Boeuf in Louisiana. On the 27th, Jim told Caroline, “Dick Wright is here with us as full of the old Harry as ever.”

For the next year Richard maintained his health and spent ten more months working as a regimental teamster during its service in Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas. He had a bout of dysentery in early December but was still, said Jim, “as full of fun as ever.” Continuing with the regiment, he participated in the Mobile Campaign in the spring of 1865. When the Confederates abandoned Mobile, the regiment moved in and camped nearby at Spring Hill. They returned to Louisiana and were mustered out on July 15, 1865 at Baton Rouge.

After the war, Richard moved to the Dakota Territory where, in 1874, gold was discovered on the Sioux Reservation and this led to a heavy influx of white settlers. Richard was continuing his pre-war work as a stagecoach driver and, for a while, he worked the line between Pierre and Deadwood. The line was supplied by stations at distances from fourteen to sixteen miles apart with no inhabitants along the line and only the drivers, a cook and sometimes one or two others at each station.

This was an interesting and dangerous time in the territory. In 1877 the Sioux relinquished their land starting a great "Dakota Boom" that was followed by an Indian uprising in 1880. Meanwhile, Richard continued to drive a stage until, in late February, 1887, he was caught in a blizzard between the Mitchell and Plum Creek stations. John Heckinger, traveling by foot to Deadwood, was at the Plum Creek station when, he said, “Richard Wright Drove up to the station and was helped off the stage coach Because he was so badly frozen that he could not help him self.” Richard’s feet were frozen, he was crippled for life, and he was forced to give up his work as a stage driver.

On November 2, 1889 North Dakota as the 39th and South Dakota as the 40th were admitted as the country’s newest states.

Richard lost his military discharge papers and was living in Deadwood when he had John Swift write to the Iowa Adjutant General on March 22, 1890, asking for a “certificate of enlistment & c. He enlisted at McGregor’s Landing, Iowa, was discharged at Clinton Iowa.” Nine months later, about 100 miles to the southeast, federal soldiers massacred Indian families at Wounded Knee. An estimated 220 Indians and 31 U.S. Cavalry soldiers died.

On February 6, 1893, on the stationary of “Soldiers’ Home, State of South Dakota, Soldiers’ Home P.O., Fall River County,” the Adjutant wrote to the Iowa Adjutant General, “Will you please send to this Home a Certificate of service for Richard Wright Pri. Co B 21st Ia Inft. He is an applicant for ad. to this Home and without original disch.” For the last four or five years, Richard had been unable to do any manual labor due to the effects of his frozen feet, rheumatism, kidney problems and a "general breaking up of his constitution" and had been cared for by friends and the public.

Richard was admitted to the Soldiers’ Home and applied for a pension. He explained how his feet had been frozen, but it was hard to get affidavits from witnesses since the cooks and drivers along the line often only used nicknames and he had no way to find them. Thomas Bentley, a Deadwood resident, did support the claim and said he had known Richard for eighteen years and knew he was now “unable to do any work.” Also supporting the claim was John Heckinger who had helped Richard get down from the stage many years earlier. John had served in the 68th Indiana during the war and, like Richard, had become a resident of the Soldiers’ Home. Richard, he said, “had no intoxicants when he was frozen it was a Blizard that day, his feet are permantly Cripled and he is suported by So. Dak, a member of the soldiers home.”

In response to a government questionnaire, Richard said he was not married. He had married once, in 1857, but said his wife and only child died in Wisconsin in 1858. (Jim Bethard had referred to Richard’s wife being with them in Dubuque in 1862 and then going to Wisconsin. It’s possible Richard meant to say she died in 1868, rather than 1858).

A pension was granted and Richard was receiving $15.00 per month, payable quarterly, when he died on April 10, 1909. He is buried in the State Veterans Home Cemetery in Hot Springs, SD, as is John Heckinger who died in 1897.


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