||Oxford Soldiers Return from Civil War,
Become Leaders in OJ Community
|Janet A. Brandt transcribed this article from The Midland Times, January 27, 2012, Page 7.||The Civil War or War Between the States began on April 12, 1861 and ended a few days short of four years later, on April 9, 1865. There were between 600,000 and 700,000 casualties, with about half of this number dying of disease. If wounded soldiers are counted, the number of casualties was over one million, thirty thousand.
Young men who served in the Union Army came home to their families. They became leadership in Oxford Township and Oxford Mills and in Oxford Junction when it became a town in 1871.
Their lives are recalled and relived through obituaries published in the Oxford Mirror.
J. F. Zeller was born in Bavaria, but served his adopted country in the war of 1861–1865. He was a member of the company of which Mr. L. D. Carlton of Oxford Mills was Captain. "He served the forces with lots of honor," according to his obituary of August 24, 1899. He lost three children in 1888, "the year that the plague Diphtheria, took so many of the children".
The obituary of Samuel Cooper, who died March 18, 1900 states that he "passed through many privations and hardships in defense of the Union and doubtless shortened his days on earth by exposures incident to army life". The "Old Soldier" was given a fitting tribute of respect by many of his old comrades in arms, as well as a delegation of members of Wyoming Post of the G. A. R.
At the age of 18, E. L. Munsell, who died in 1902, enlisted in Co. G. 1st Regiment, U. S. Sharpshooters from Wisconsin. The Regiment was assigned to special services to guard the outposts and picket lines at many of the worse engagements; including Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Fredericksburg. His obituary stated, "After taking an active part in a number of severe engagements, in all of which he bore himself with commendable courage and bravery, such as any soldier might well be proud of, he was honorably discharged at the end of his enlistment at Washington, D. C." He and his family moved to Oxford Mills in 1880. He was employed by the C. M. & St. P. Railroad.
The headline of the May 10, 1921 obituary of John Stout reads, "Final 'Taps' For Civil War Veteran". It continues, "He was a soldier of the Civil War, until disabled and in his many years of services was a loyal veteran". In 1886 he located to Oxford Junction, where he became foreman in the railroad car shops. He served as mayor and filled other offices in the city. The Wapsie Post of the American Legion had charge of the funeral services, "performing the last sad rites for the comrade of long ago". Four old comrades from Wyoming attended the service.
Erwin Seeley "Beloved Citizen" passed away in December of 1921. He enlisted in 1863 and served for seven years, "going through the hardships, to which soldiers in those days were accustomed." he earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant and "was a man beloved by all, who served, under him". He came to Oxford Junction in 1881 and was employed by the C. M. & St. Paul Railway as line repairman.
"Services Held For Last Civil War Vet Here". The first paragraph of his obituary reads, "Harrison Smith, 93 years of age, the last of the Civil War veterans of Oxford Township, was mustered out of this life by the Angel of Death, Saturday, September 29, 1934". He was nineteen years old when he enlisted in the Union Army and saw service with the 14th Iowa Infantry Regiment. This Regiment was organized at Davenport and mustered in for three years of Federal service on November 6, 1861. The Commander was Colonel William T. Shaw. The members of the Regiment saw action at Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh, Battle of Corinth and Battle of Pleasant Hill. Smith's honorable discharge was issued at Sioux City in 1866. He returned to Oxford Mills where he began farming. His casket was carried by members of Wapsie Post, American Legion, who also gave the military salute by the firing squad.
Obituaries are not available for other veterans buried at Mayflower Cemetery, including John Bennett, who died in 1877, John Beranek, 1890; Edwin Carlton; Jas Boller; Vincel Willimack, 1897 and Carlos Prosser, 1906.
It is known that Nettie Bennett, wife of John Bennett, was a member of the National Women's Relief Corps to the Grand Army of the Republic, a patriotic organization, whose express purpose was to perpetrate the memory of the G.A.R. It was organized on July 25 and 26, 1888 in Denver, Colorado.
An item in a May, 1930 issue asked for readers to help complete a list of Civil War veterans for the G.A.R. Post of Wyoming. Again, readers are asked to contribute to the Civil War veteran information. If your ancestor has not been included in the articles about veterans living in Oxford Township, Oxford Mills or later in Oxford Junction that appeared in the July 29, 2011 and January 6, 2012 and this issue of the Midland Times, please contact Marlene Flory at 563-488-3342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appreciation is expressed to Rita Balichek for providing copies of obituaries that gave information on the veterans and to Harold Rehmke for suggesting the research on local veterans who fought in the Civil War.
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