Monday, August 26, 2019

The 59th Ohio Infantry

Isaac Penny - Company H
A few days ago I started a Facebook page on the 59th Ohio Infantry, raised from men (and perhaps two women) from Brown, Clermont, and to a lesser extent, Highland Counties.  Why did I start another Facebook page?  Because the more I learn and study about this regiment, the more I become convinced that a regimental history might be a good book project to tackle.  But, I also know that I am not the best researcher out there - I love learning, but digging in, and having the bulldog determination to see a project like this through is a bit daunting.  And really, where does one start?  How do I know what libraries and repositories might have information on the 59th?  Luckily knowing a few folks on Facebook who are Civil War experts is starting to yield some results, and it might lead to a collaborative effort with a noted author, who has offered to work on this together, if we find there is enough source and primary material to put together a good story on the 59th.  More on this later if it comes to fruition.

Because the men from the 59th were mostly from Brown and Clermont Counties, finding their graves has also become a bit of obsession for me.  I've already adopted the grave, through the Civil War Augusta Adopt-A-Soldier program, of Sergeant Nathaniel Yates, who is actually buried in Payne Cemetery in Augusta.  Yates must have moved to Bracken County after the war, and most likely with his brother, as I have also found the brother's grave in another cemetery outside of Augusta.  There are also another half dozen men from the 59th buried in Bracken County, and this really got the bug going for me.  To that end I have created a virtual cemetery on Find A Grave, and at this time have 132 men of the 59th listed.  I will visit as many of these men as I can, and do a little cleaning of their stone, so that their grave will attract a few visitors as we think about their stories.

UPDATE:  Now 210 men on the Find A Grave virtual cemetery.

Nathaniel Yates' grave in Augusta, Kentucky

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Dodds Cemetery

Every day on my commute to and from work I pass through the crossroads of Dodds.  From the crossroads I can see the Dodds Cemetery.  Last year I decided to stop to see if there were any Civil War veterans buried there, and came across three men who served in Ohio regiments during the war.  While there, I did a bit of stone cleaning on the markers for these three men in an effort to help them stand out in this small cemetery, where dozens of vehicles pass every day.

Over the last few months I could look out my car window and see the white stone of one veteran stand out, and I knew that the clean up I did last year was successful.  His crisp white headstone is definitely something that draws the eye, and I hope that more people stop at Dodds to visit.

Today I stopped at the cemetery on my way home, and was surprised to see that someone had placed grave markers and flags for these three men.  I also saw close up the effects of my cleaning efforts.  I will say the stones are looking much better.


Sunday, July 28, 2019

Where Did They Come From? Name Origin of Augusta Union Dead

Alpheus McKibben - Hillside Cemetery
Unlike most of Kentucky, which was settled from Virginia via the Cumberland Gap, the settlements along the Ohio River were founded by men and women not of Scots-Irish ancestry, but of mostly English.  The Ohio River route was traveled by those coming from the mid-Atlantic colonies and states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and the surnames of those men fighting in the Union home guard for the most part reflected that heritage.

Drake, Augustus C. - The name is either from Anglo-Saxon or Middle English origin and can mean dragon or snake.

Landen, Charles A. - An Old English name, most likely from Landon, meaning long hill.

McKibben, Alpheus - Irish (they are everywhere!).  The Gaelic form is Mac GiobĂșin.  Mc or Mac means "son of."

Story, William B. - Story is an old Norse name, which became ingrained in England as part of the numerous raids by the Norse, and occupation of parts of England.

Taylor, B.W.H. - Taylor stems from French and Latin and used in England as an occupational name. In Latin taliator means "to cut."

The Civil War Augusta group has an Adopt-A-Soldier program in place to mark those fallen Home Guard men.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Greenwood Cemetery Stories

In doing research for the tour I am leading in October at Greenwood Cemetery in Hamilton, I am coming across some rather interesting stories of the Civil War veterans buried there.  I've been focusing mostly on the 35th Ohio and the various colonels, and have found quite a few men who were discharged during the war that came home and passed away while the war was still raging.  I also have come across a story of a veteran who, after the war, was in a small town in the north part of Butler County, missed the train to take him home, decided to walk along the rails to the next town, and was killed on the tracks by the Chicago express.  The accident took place between two towns where a curve in the tracks was located which is why the train did not see the veteran until too late.  Now, I question this a bit.  Having spent my younger years a few miles from this location, there is only one slight bend on the rail line, and the sight lines are rather long.  Now, in the later portion of the 1800s there may have been more trees along the tracks, blocking the view from the engine...plus a train, especially an express train moving at presumably a higher speed, cannot stop on a dime.

The rail line was not likely moved in the intervening years as the valley it runs through is constricted in some areas by a creek.  And of course the area may have been more wooded in the past, but the land there has been farmed for generations so most likely was farmed when the accident occurred.  

I am purposely being vague with details as I will be sharing the full story during the tour.  It is far more interesting than what I have shared thus far.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

More Boys From Butler County

As stated in yesterday's post, there were more men that served as individuals beyond the regiments previously mentioned.  Individual Butler Countians served in the following units:

4th Ohio Cavalry
28th Ohio
74th Ohio
75th Ohio
108th Ohio
127th Ohio (5th USCT)

I would venture to state that there were probably at least 5,000 men from Butler County to serve in the Civil War.  If so, that means nearly 14% of the county citizenry were in one of these units.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Boys From Butler County

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am from Butler County, Ohio, sandwiched between Cincinnati and Dayton.  During the Civil War the population of the county was about 36,000, and the men from the county did more than their share when it came to serving in the war.  Here is a breakdown of units and companies that were raised in Butler County:

1st Ohio Cavalry - one company
3rd Ohio - one company
5th Ohio Cavalry - parts of two companies
9th Ohio - one company 
12th Ohio - two companies
26th Ohio - one company
35th Ohio - five companies
58th Ohio - one company
69th Ohio - five companies
83rd Ohio - one company
93rd Ohio - three companies
167th Ohio - nine companies

Taking the above, if each company is 100 men, then Butler County contributed at least 3,000 men, or 8.33% of the county population, to the war effort.  That 3,000 number would be very much on the low end, as more recruits were added to units as the war progressed.  For example, the 35th Ohio had a total of 1,700 of men that would eventually be on its muster rolls, even though a regiment was supposed to be 1,000 men strong. 

Next post I will mention the other regiments that had Butler County men serving, just not as full companies.

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