20 September 2015

Death of Edward W. Hall (1839-1863)

The old adage is that "the winner gets to write the history."  But there are winners on a multitude of levels, winners of arguments, winners of skirmishes, winners of battles, and winners of wars.  The Union Army won the war, but they lost a lot of battles.  One of those catastrophic, unnecessary battles claimed the life of my 2xg-granduncle Edward W. Hall, 1st Lieutenant Co. B, 3rd Iowa Infantry.

General Grant was involved in a chess match in Mississippi in the summer on 1863, trying to take Vicksburg.  To draw Confederate defenses away from Vicksburg he attacked the state capital of Jackson.  After defeating Vicksburg he had to turn around reclaim Jackson.  On the 13th of July, Brigadier General Jacob Laumann ordered Col. Isaac Pugh to line up and march his brigade of of over three thousand soldiers, passed an abatis of downed trees, through a cornfield and up a hill directly into an enemy firing artillery the entire time. The lined up Union soldiers were mowed down by rebel artillery.  Whole slashes of men were wiped away with each cannon ball or cannister of grape shot.

I now pass it over to Lt. S.D. Thompson and his self-published book from 1864, Recollections with the Third Iowa regiment -- 

Click to enlarge.
Each regiment was literally torn in pieces. In proportion
to their numbers the 53d Illinois suffered most, to say
nothing of losing their gallant Colonel Earle, who was
struck by a volley of canister while riding in advance
of his men. Our own regiment lost one hundred and
thirteen, sixteen being killed, fifty-seven wounded, and
forty missing and taken prisoners. A number of the
wounds were mortal. Among those who lost their lives
were some of our best names. The Ruckman brothers,
the one Captain, the other 2d Lieutenant of Company B;
1st Lieutenant Hall, of the same company; and 1st
Lieutenant McMurtrie of Company D; 1st Sergeants
Woodruff of Company B, and McClure of Company I;
Sergeants Gilmore and Dent of Company E, Follett of
Company F, and many other gallant names were among
the sacrifices of this needless blunder.

-- The soldiers knew this was a bad idea.  The field officers knew this was a bad idea, everyone all the way up to and including Col. Pugh knew this was a bad idea. But General Laumann was to be trusted and obeyed.  Laumann was recalled to HQ in Vicksburg and never allowed to command again.

Such was the death of my 2xg-granduncle Lt. Edward W. Hall, July 13th, 1863.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

19 September 2015

SUVCW Grave Marker Dedication

Today my son Ralph and I attended a grave marker dedication at the Oak Hill and Oak Crest Memorial Cemeteries in Downer's Grove, Illinois.  The event was sponsored by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Oak Hill/Oak Crest Cemeteries Foundation.  Wonderful turnout!  Well over a hundred people.  There were several dignitaries -- township trustees, a mayor, local state congresswoman, and a representative from the Governor's office.

The new grave markers were for Pvt. Jacob T. Escher (Co. E, 8th Ill Cavalry), Pvt. Judson Farrar (Co. E, 8th Ill Cavalry), Pvt. Herman Pilz (Co. I, 52nd Ohio Infantry) and Pvt. Martin E. Stanger (Co. A, 82nd Ill Infantry).  I keep calling them grave markers, but in fact they are headstones paid for with your tax dollars and provided through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  Our country has, rightfully, decided this is one of the least things we can do to show our appreciation for their service.

There were remarks from two representatives of the S.U.V.C.W., the politicians spoke, also a local Eagle Scout who was instrumental in the project. Everyone kept it to just two minutes until the head speaker who was the local historian and cemetery curator who gave us the detailed biographies of these four soldiers.  The S.U.V.C.W. also provided a presentation of colors, professional singer (for the National Anthem and "Battle Hymn of the Republic"), and an artillery salute with a period canon, salute with period rifles, and a professional bugler ("Amazing Grace" and "Taps").  And of course the S.U.V.C.W. provided a chaplain for the Invocation and the Benediction.

At last count I have six direct ancestors who served in the Civil War --

Pvt. Charles H. Chesley -- Co. K, 8th Illinois Cavalry
Pvt. Alfred Gibson -- Co. D, 33rd Kentucky Infantry
Pvt. George Hall -- Co. K, 26th Illinois Infantry
Corp. Arthur H. Needham -- Hosp. Steward, 2nd Iowa Cavalry
Pvt. Samuel R. Porter -- Co I, 17th Illinois Infantry (transfer from 8th Ill)
Pvt. Henry Martin Walker -- Co. A, 33rd Illinois Infantry

-- and several more indirect relatives.  I have been completely engrossed in Civil War studies for the last several months.  Reading, researching, listening to podcasts, and watching lectures on YouTube.com. It would be impossible for me to recount all I have learned.  So two months ago my son Ralph and I decided to join the S.U.V.C.W. Needing to show our ancestral connection, we chose to use my 2xg-grandfather Henry Martin Walker, Sr. as our ticket in.  After all, we share his surname and his y-chromosome.  Today's dedication was our first event as members of the S.U.V.C.W.

Following the Civil War many, many of the Union Veterans formed the Grand Army of the Republic as a fraternal organization supporting the soldiers.  According to Wikipedia --
Linking men through their experience of the war, the G.A.R. became among the first organized advocacy groups in American politics, supporting voting rights for black veterans, promoting patriotic education, help to make Memorial Day a national holiday, lobbying the United States Congress to establish regular veterans' pensions, and supporting Republican political candidates. Its peak membership, at more than 490,000 was in 1890.
-- As the Civil War veterans began passing away, the job of looking after our soldiers and their memory was passed down to their sons, and then their sons' sons, and so on.  That is where Ralph and I are currently, descended not just from Civil War veterans but G.A.R. members too.  Doing good work.  Doing the right thing.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

27 August 2015

Wounding of Lt. Harvey Dutton (1836-1928) at Battle of Vicksburg

From -- Marshall, A. O., & Schultz, R. G. (2009). Army life: From a soldier's journal : incidents, sketches and record of a Union soldier's army life, in camp and field, 1861-64. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.
As night began to approach orders were passed along our lines for our troops to withdraw. As it grew dark we did so. Those in the most advanced and exposed conditions coming first. Sadly we wended our way back to the lines we had held before making our charge upon the rebel works of Vicksburg.   
One of our most disgusted men was Lieutenant Dutton. He had been struck upon the leg by a small, nearly spent ball. The ball was not going with force enough to break the skin, but as it happened to strike upon a tender cord the injured part commenced to swell, and by the time we withdrew he could hardly use his foot, and was obliged to hobble along as best he could. To be so lame without any wound to show for it he thought disgusting.
Harvey Dutton was my 2xg-uncle on my father's paternal side.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

26 July 2015

Abstract of Death Record of Emma (Gibson) Calkins Waggoner Boll, 1898-1975

This abstract was contracted from a professional researcher by a Calkin's cousin --

Death Record 
Source: L.A. County D/R  D1975 0021735
Decedent: Emma Boll
Personal: Female, Cauc, Widowed, 76
Address: 110-D W Maple, Glendale, CA
DOB: 9-3-1898                   POB: KS
Occupation: Companion, 20 yrs
Industry: Mary Gower, Companion
Father: C.L. Gibson, b. KY
Mother: Ella Gurwell, b. KS
In County: 32 yrs
In California: 43 yrs
Citizenship: USA
DOD: 5-7-1975, 8:55pm
POD: Glendale Convalescent Hosp; Glendale, CA (409 W Glenoaks Blvd)
SSN: 565-09-9843
Spouse: -----
Informant: Walter D. Calkins, 110-D W Maple; Glendale, CA
Disposition: Cremation, Westwood Memorial Park
Funeral Director: Westwood Village Mortuary
Cause of Death: Metastatic Carcinoma of breast, 18 mos
Contributing Cause: Left Carcinoma of breast, 2 yrs
Other: -----
Autopsy: No
Emma Gibson Boll was my great-aunt on my mother's paternal side.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

25 July 2015

Dutton Letters, part 6: The Death of Harvey Dutton

This is a letter from Harvey James Dutton's daughter Norma (Dutton) Mack to her cousin Effie Mae (Ricketts) Kern -- 
Springfield, Mo.
Jan 27, 1928 
Dear Cousin Effie,
     I received your letter and what a comfort it is to know wherever Papa went he was loved and respected by all.  I have had such nice letters from his friends in Zephyrhills.
     It was a shock to us when we got the telegram of his death as Gertrude had a letter that was written on Saturday and he was just fine and having such a good time for the weather had been good all fall.  On Sat. he ate something that did not agree with him but on Mon. he wrote to Rowena and said that he felt a little sick on Sat. but was all right on Monday.  When he wrote Tuesday afternoon he (papa) walked 5 blocks and played dominoes all afternoon went back to the hotel ate a hearty supper and went calling in the evening.  That night took a couple of pills went to bed but had to get up before day to go to toilet--but was the first one of the boarders out to breakfast--he said he did not want anything to eat--but wanted his cup of hot water (which he always had) said he had a pain in his left side.  Mrs. Hart (the Hotel Lady) said she would get the hot water bottle.  Papa got up form the table started for the reception hall went about three steps and fell dead.   They picked him up but he was gone.
     Write again and I will answer.
And so the great man dies.  He body was returned to Springfield, Missouri, and Hazelwood cemetery next to his wife and sister.  Click here to see his FindaGrave Memorial.  His newspaper death announcement and obituary are here.  There are many, many other posts on this blog about the great man.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

24 July 2015

Dutton Letters, Part 5: Uncle Harvey Dutton Writes Nephew Lyford Kern the Catholic

I love this letter.  Out of all the Dutton letters that Linda has shared with us so far, this is the one I enjoyed the most.  In my introduction to the Dutton letters, I wrote that perhaps the most rewarding experience for a family historian is to learn the presumptions he made about his ancestors based on his research were found in fact true.  This letter was that confirmation for me.  Remember you can click on the pics to enlarge them.

This is Harvey J. Dutton, age 88, writing to his grand-nephew Lyford Kern, age 21, son of Harvey's niece Effie (Ricketts) Kern.  Lyford converted to Catholicism and became an ordained priest.
Zephyrhills, Fla.                                                    Nov. 13, 1924
Dear nephew,
     Dilatory as usual in answering letters.  Perhaps if I had a typewriter the novelty of using one, or rather learning to use one might make letter writing less of a task.  Was very much interested in what you said in letters of Sept. 8 about your visit home, high water from some same.  Snapping sweet corn, helping neighbors threshing, etc. but while you gave yield per acre you omitted to give numbers of acres or price per ton, which would have given me some idea of the profits of  "specialty farming."
     You see, I am very much interested in how your folks are prospering on their new farm. Your mother wrote me that they hoped to make arrangements to meet the unpaid balance (what it was I never knew) without giving a mortgage.  Hope they succeeded for a mortgage is anything but a cheerful companion.  As I have said before, I do not care to discuss Roman Catholicism.  But do not for a moment think that I consider your claims for said church borne out by the facts as recorded in the history of the early churches.   However, the efforts of any organization to correct former bad practices is to be commended.  Referring to your last letters I will say that had I answered before election I might have expressed some anxiety as to the result.  Not that I had any fears that Davis or LaFollette would be elected, but that they might carry enough states to throw the election into congress which I looked upon as almost a calamity, foreseeing the result.  But the people have spoken & in no uncertain terms.
     So you were for Davis.  Isn't that another departure from your early training?  Seems to me all the Kerns were Republicans or Prohibitionists.  I believe George Ricketts was a Democrat.  Well!  Clarence wrote me that he should support the renegade Republican, LaFollette.  Another source of regret to me.  Another case of influence of environment.  Labor unionism.  Well!  He may be proud to be numbered with the tail-enders.  And you, I suppose, are elated with the idea of being counted with the solid south.  Shame on you, George and Clarence too.  But I have one consolation.  The rest of my children are living up to their early training & they are voters too.  Three of them helped to carry Missouri for Coolidge.  I lost my chance to vote by coming away before the election & depending on a friend to send an absentee ballot which he failed to do.  Just received a letter from Bertha, who writes "I suppose the result of the election suited you.  It does us."  Was shocked that Clarence is a Socialist.  She writes further that LaF. "cooked" himself with his course during the war. Clarence writes that he admired LaF's course in congress during the war.  Which of the two, Clarence or Berta, is the better American?
     Must either wind up as put off further writing till another day.  Speaking of your chum Tom Dillon and Roberta, you say you guess you can trust him with her.  Is Roberta really so dangerous?  Liable to lead him astray, corrupt his morals, is she?  From my acquaintance with her I had formed a different opinion.  As I owe her a letter, shall have to warn her.
     Left Sprg. Nov. 15th Arrived here 18th.  Nicely located.  Brought a comrade with me, so I have a roommate.  His first trip south.  Health is good.  Eats fair.
     Should be glad to hear from you whenever convenient.
     H.J. Dutton
Clarence (Dutton) was Harvey's son.  Bertha (Dutton) was Harvey's daughter.  George Ricketts was Harvey's brother in law, married to Harvey's sister Laura, and Lyford's grandfather.  Roberta (Kern) was Lyford's sister.

Eighty-eight years old, and a mind as sharp as a whip.  God I love this man --
  • Fondly remembering midwest farming, he opens on Lyford not giving him the requisite information to understand everything about how his family is doing on the new farm.  Mean-spirited?  No.  Just an old senior saying "Don't hold back on account of my age, don't discount my mind, son."  Since the next paragraph is about his parents might needing to take out a mortgage, it might also be true he was wanting to know if he needed to help his niece financially.
  • His remarks about the Catholic church also seemed to be pointed and sarcastic, but inoffensive. He holds back any overt counter-fire, choosing the subliminal so as to stay true to his own beliefs but not to hurt.
  • As repeated over and over, the Duttons are devout Christians (primarily in the Methodist tradition), including strong advocates of the abolition of slavery and the prohibition of liquor, and thus they were conservative Republicans.  This is what Harvey keeps harking back to with comments such as the young generations "early training."
  • When Lyford says he supported the Democrat Davis in the '24 presidential election, there is backstory.  The Democratic south was still in part beholden to the KuKluxKlan, and the first party nominee was Alfred Smith, the Governor of New York.  But to the south he was a "Northerner" and he was, gasp, CATHOLIC!  So the Democratic south rejected him in favor of Ambassador John Davis from West Virginia to be the Democratic nominee.  So Harvey is taking the screws to his Catholic nephew "elated to be counted with the solid south."  Hehe.
  • But the Republicans too had internal struggles, the progressive brand of Republicans in the tradition of Theodore Roosevelt, enticed Sen.Robert LaFollette of Wisconsin to make a third party run.  This is what worried Harvey, that the Republicans would split their vote and make way for the segregationist Democrat which is what happened in 1912 when a third party run by Teddy Roosevelt opened the door for Democrat Woodrow Wilson.
  • Harvey's son Clarence, a tradesman cabinet-maker, was pro-union so supported the progressive LaFollette.  Clarence would say to his father that his "early training" was still true to moral issues, leaving Harvey the only opening of calling Clarence a "socialist."
  • Harvey refers to Bertha versus Clarence based on their opinion of La Follette's antiwar stance during World War I (and desire to pay Germany reparations after).  Clearly liberal.  Harvey a conservative, and veteran and hero of the Civil War, clearly sides with Bertha. 
  • We continue to see Harvey's wit in the closing paragraph where he deliberately twists his grand-nephew's words about his sister Roberta dating a friend, and threatens to tell Roberta what Lyford didn't say. 
Eighty-eight years old.  Standing up for himself intellectually.  Proud, confident, but inoffensive. Witty.  Tongue in cheek.  Great, great letter.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

23 July 2015

Dutton Letters, Part 4: Uncle Harvey Checks In

Springfield, Mo                      Feb. 8, 1923
Mrs. Effie Kern
Eureka, Ill.
Dear Niece -- Yes, I find it much easier to put off writing than to get right down to business.  Then I have been somewhat Handicapped with a sore eye for a couple weeks but eyes are alright again.
Glad to get your letter also one from Roberta a few days later indicating that her sprained fingers did not prove serious.  Hurrah for Scoville.  Hope his success will prove an incentive to renewed effort.  We have had a remarkable winter so far.  Not a bit of snow until Sunday morning Feb 5 and then just a little flurry but the temperature dropped to 5 above Monday night. 3 or 4 inches of snow fell but it is almost gone now.  Today is bright sunshine.  Temp now 11 a.m. 42 in the shade north side of house.
Folks all well as usual.  I am gaining very slowly.  Manage to get around the house without cane or crutch but cannot go up or down steps without help of cane or crutches.  I take a little outdoor exercise every a.m. and p.m. & am truly thankful that the weather has been such that I could do so.  Have just come in from a trip around the block.
I think I shall have to ask you to excuse a short letter this time as I wish to write to Roberta while the "spell" is on.  Hope you will write again soon.  Can you give me Madge's address?
Sincerely yours
H.J. Dutton 

Harvey James Dutton (1836-1928) was 87 when this letter was written,  Sounds to me like the elderly gentleman had decided to sit down and catch up on his letter-writing.  Effie (Ricketts) Kern was Harvey's niece by way of his sister Laura Ella (Dutton) Ricketts.  Roberta (Kern) age 17 and Scoville (Kern) age 15 were Effie's daughter and son.  We have determined "Madge" is Margaret Owen, Effie's cousin, and Harvey's niece by way of his late sister Julia Owen.

Tomorrow we continue with the chronicles of the Dutton Letters with an absolutely great letter where Harvey gives us a peek into his head writing about religion and politics to his Catholic nephew.  Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

22 July 2015

Death of Julia (Dutton) Owen, cont'd. (Dutton Letters, part 3)

This is a transcription of a letter from Harvey James Dutton to his niece Effie (Ricketts) Kern, daughter of Harvey's sister Laura Ella (Dutton) Ricketts, on the occasion of the death of Harvey's sister, and Effie's aunt, Julia (Dutton) Owen.

We read yesterday that Julia's daughter Mabel considered bringing her body back to Metamora, IL to be buried in the Norman Dutton family plot, but the plot is full.  So the decision was made to bury her in Harvey's family plot in Springfield, MO, where the remains of Harvey's wife Victoria already lays.

We also read that Harvey was taking the death of his sister hard.
Springfield, Mo  Nov. 11th. 1920 
My dear niece and family,
You have doubtless been informed of the sudden death of sister Julia.  No doubt you were greatly shocked by that news.  It was indeed a shock to us for while we knew she was very sick, were led to believe there was no special danger.  Julia seemed to be enjoying her visit so much.  Had visited with Elva several days and a week ago yesterday I went with her over to Gertrude's.  She intending to stay a few days.  That evening about 6 o'clock Gertrude telephoned Norma that Julia was awful sick and wanted her to come over.  We went right over.  Took Elva with us.  Called a Dr. an osteopath, and that suited Julia although she objected to calling any Dr.  Said she was sure she would be all right by morning.  Thursday morning she seemed quite a little better. (I should have added it was a case of indigestion)  As Gertrude's baby was quite unwell, Julia was brought back here to Norma's, and while all pain was relieved, her breathing became labored and pulse irregular Sunday.  While she seemed no worse as she did not improve as we thought she should, called another Dr., an Allopath.  He said the cause of her shortness of breath was the condition of her heart.  Later on he said it was asthma.  I cannot give all the particulars.  Monday about 10 a.m. Rowan wired Mabel and Madge that their mother was very sick.  She died 1:30 p.m. Monday.  Ed and Mabel arrived Tuesday 7:00 a.m. Funeral Wednesday 10 a.m. Burial by the side of my wife in Hazelwood Cemetery here.
A great disappointment to me.  Plansa all changed though I think I shall go to Zephyrhills, Fla. May go next week.  Kindest regards to all.  Shall be glad to hear from you.
H.J. Dutton
Elva (Dutton) Mack, Nora (Dutton) Mack, Gertrude (Dutton) Cover are all daughters of Harvey Dutton.  I finally figured out who "Madge" was, Margaret Owen, sister to Mabel Owen, both daughters to Julia.  Rowan Mack was Nora's husband.

Here is a pic of the Dutton family plot.  Lousy picture, only showing three of the eight graves and the memorial, but it is the best one I have.  That middle grave belongs to Julia's husband James Owen. Remember you can click on pics to enlarge.

Here is a pic of the marker for Harvey Dutton and his wife --

And next to him the marker of his sister Julia --

Tomorrow we will continue with part four of our chronicles of the Dutton letters.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker