Category Archives: Grand Army of the Republic

Long-Lived Cass County Civil War Veterans

SiHagertyBy 1934, there were only four Civil War veterans living in Beardstown. On September 1st of that year, the number fell to three with the death of Silas Haggerty.

Corporal Haggerty served in Company H, 137th Illinois Infantry.

Mr. Haggerty was born in Cooperstown, IL in 1845. After the war, he moved to Beardstown and was employed by the C. B. & Q. railroad.

He was survived by one daughter, a nephew, several grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Services for Corp. Haggerty were held at Beardstown’s Oak Grove Cemetery on Monday, September 3, 1934.


jcw John Weber was born in Germany in the year 1843, coming to the United States when he was 17 years of age. The brave and adventurous young man joined the 46th Regiment of the New York Infantry shortly thereafter. (The veteran’s obituary stated that he was in the cavalry, but his military headstone indicates that he was an infantryman.)

He served in many major engagements and suffered a saber wound at the battle of Petersburg. Mr. Weber recovered and returned to duty under General Grant.

Shortly after the war, he settled in Beardstown and went to work for the C. B. & Q. Railroad. Weber retired from the railroad after a forty-one year career.

JCWeber_thumb.jpgHe married his wife, Kathryn, in the year 1875. She preceded him in death in September, 1935, and he lost a son just one month later. Mr. Weber was survived by two other sons, three daughters, and many grandchildren and great grandchildren.

At the time of his death, February 26, 1936, he was very much looking forward to his ninety-third birthday, which was less than a week away.

Mr. Weber was a charter member and an officer of the local G. A. R. post until the death of most of the members caused the group to be dissolved.

Services for John Weber were held at the Methodist Church. Military burial rites, including a rifle salute, were performed by the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars at the Beardstown City Cemetery.



As mentioned before, by 1934 there were only four Civil War veterans residing in Beardstown. The deaths of Silas Haggerty and John Weber left two names remaining on that list.

The third soldier, William Peacock, must have moved to Rushville, in Schuyler County, before his death, in 1939, at the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home, at Quincy, Illinois. He was interred in the Rushville City Cemetery.

The last Civil War veteran residing in Beardstown was James Lowder.


CKikendallThe November 19, 1937 issue of the Jacksonville Daily Journal brought news of the death of Charles Kikendall, Virginia, Illinois’ last surviving veteran of the War Between the States.

Mr. Kikendall came from Kentucky to the town of Virginia with his family as a young man. When he was 15, Charles ran away to enlist in the Union Army but his father followed and brought him home. At the age of 16, he left home again and served in the 114th Regiment throughout the war. His brother, John, also belonged to the 114th and suffered the misfortune of being captured and spending time in the infamous Andersonville Prison.

CKpostKikendall’s wife, Amanda, preceded him in death in 1933. The 90 year-old veteran was survived by four daughters and three sisters.

“Charley” was well known on the town square in Virginia and was renowned for his skills as a fisherman.

He died in Mississippi, where he had been living with one of his daughters, and his remains were returned to Virginia for burial.

Mr. Kikendall was a former commander of Downing Post No. 321 of the Grand Army of the Republic and the last member to pass away. He was laid to rest on March 21, I937, not far from the G. A. R. plot at Walnut Ridge Cemetery in Virginia. Military rites were accorded by members of the American Legion.


Stories about a couple of Ashland, Illinois Civil War veterans appeared in the Illinoian-Star newspaper during January, 1934. Those men were Hiram Baxter and Daniel Jones.


Hiram B. Baxter was born in Indiana in September, 1840. He was one of seven brothers who fought for the Union, all of whom survived the conflict.

Jacksonville Daily Journal

Baxter re-enlisted after recovering from a wound suffered at the battle of Perryville, KY. He was wounded again at Rome, GA and was honorably discharged. After convalescing from his second injury, he again returned to the service of his country.

After the war, Capt. Baxter moved to Illinois and lived in Jacksonville and Literberry, before settling on a farm a few miles from Ashland. He married Lydia Ellen Crum in 1876, and she preceded him in death in the year 1907. They were the parents of two sons.

Hiram Baxter passed away at the age of 98 on November 16, 1938 at the home of his son, William, in Ashland. He was interred at Arcadia Cemetery in Morgan County.

He was the first commander of the John L. Douglas G. A. R. post in Ashland, and was its last surviving member. After the Douglas Post disbanded, Baxter joined the Stephenson Post, of Springfield. His death left six members of that organization.



Daniel A. Jones was born in Golconda, IL on February 27, 1845. He enlisted in Vienna, IL in August, 1862 and spent the winter training at Camp Butler, near Springfield.

Jacksonville Daily Journal

Mr. Jones spent some time at the infamous Andersonville Prison after being captured following the battle of Guntown (Mississippi). He and several other men escaped while being moved from one prison camp to another. He kept a notebook of his war experiences.

Mr. Jones’ wife, Fannie, died in 1918. In 1934, he was said to enjoy tending his garden and was still able to read without the aid of glasses.

When he died at his Ashland home on June 1, 1940, at the age of 95, perhaps he was the county’s last surviving Civil War veteran?

B. F. Stephenson

BFSThe list of people who had a role in the famous Almanac Trial, which took place in Beardstown during May of 1858, includes the name of Dr. Benjamin Franklin Stephenson. 

Stephenson was a witness in the trial, during which attorney Abraham Lincoln successfully defended William “Duff” Armstrong, who was charged with murder.

Three years later, Dr. Stephenson was serving his country and commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, in the Union Army. Following the Civil War, he founded the patriotic and politically powerful Grand Army of the Republic.

Stephenson passed away in 1871 and was buried at Rock Creek Cemetery in Menard County. In August of 1882, the Estill Post of the G. A. R. reinterred his remains at an impressive site (pictured below) in Rose Hill Cemetery, near Petersburg.




Commander Jones

Jones_GARA former national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans of the Civil War,  is interred in the Beardstown City Cemetery.

Charles E. Jones was born in New York state and enlisted in the army there. After the Civil War, he moved west, marrying Almira Stedman at Hull, Illinois. Some time later the couple moved to Beardstown. Mr. Jones took a position with the C. B. & Q. Railroad and worked his way up from section hand to roadmaster. Mrs. Jones passed away in 1911. After a 30-year career with the railroad, Jones moved to the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area, where he lived with his daughter’s family and established a refrigeration business.

Mr. Jones was serving as national vice-commander of the Grand Army, when, upon the death of the commander, he assumed that post in 1932. He wore his G. A. R. paraphernalia proudly and was said to be quite an impressive figure.

Virgil Reither, Beardstown newspaper man, was in attendance when the old soldier made an appearance at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. He reported that Jones alone looked strong and able among the feeble and stooped Civil War veterans, even at age 87.

Following his trip to the fair, Jones stopped in Beardstown to chat with his old friend, Chief of Police George W. Farrar, with whom he worked during his railroad days. He told of attending Civil War commemorations in the south while in uniform, which clearly set him apart from 61-65Confederate veterans, and stated there was no feeling of charity among the southern people toward Yankees.

Later that year, while traveling to a Grand Army meeting, Mr. Jones fell from a railroad platform and suffered a broken hip. He passed away from complications two weeks later in a Tuscaloosa hospital, on December 26, 1933. Funeral services were held on December 28th at the Congregational Church in Beardstown, with E. E. Angier, Frank Bollman, L. Kendall, A. J. Knight, R. B. Glenn and F. J. Kuhl serving as pall bearers. Charles Jones was buried next to his wife.

A 1933 photograph of Commander Jones marching in a parade with Illinois Governor, Henry Horner, and Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, Henry T. Rainey, may be seen here. Scroll down to the seventh picture. There are many interesting and historic Springfield, Illinois images on the page, which might take a few moments to load.