Barber County, Kansas.  

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The Gyp Hill Premiere, June 2, 2008.

Civil War Veterans in Barber County, Kansas

Meandering by Bev McCollom

May 30th is Memorial Day, no matter what the government calls the "Memorial Day Weekend," which changes every year. We lived for several years in Sharpsburg, Maryland, which on September 17, 1862, was the site of the Battle of Antietam, named after the creek that runs through the battlefield. It is called the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South, as they named their battles after the nearest town. It was the bloodiest one-day battle during the Civil War with 23,000 casualties, 25% of the Unions troops, 31% of Confederate troops.

The big stone house, where we lived in the early 1970's, was in 1862 the home of the only physician in Sharpsburg, Dr. Biggs. He turned his home into a hospital, where he treated many of the wounded. Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, was also at Antietam to take care of the wounded. On September 18th President Lincoln came to Sharpsburg to talk with General McClellan. He expressed his disappointment in McClellan because neither side had a decisive victory. Lincoln also visited the wounded.

As a result of the Battle of Antietam, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.

There were many Civil War veterans in Medicine Lodge ' from both sides ' and they got together on Memorial Day. My great grandfather, David Painter, was one of them; he had signed with the 15th Indiana Volunteers, Light Artillery. I learned that he did not make it to Antietam because he had been captured at Harper's Ferry ' 11 miles south of Sharpsburg ' on September 15th, two days before the battle. He was released two months later and went on to fight at Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, and the siege of Atlanta.

W. E. Williams, father of Walter Williams, was also taken prisoner during the war. He was not as fortunate as Dave Painter, however, because he was sent to the horrific Andersonville Prison in Georgia. Mr. Williams was serving in Co. K, 7th Indiana Regiment when he was captured in 1864 and remained a prisoner until the the fighting was over. He had graphic stories to tell about the 33,000 men who were at Andersonville, where many died of malnutrition, exposure, and disease. He was one of the lucky ones who came out skinny and weak, but he recovered and lived a good life.

David Nation served with Co. B, 69th Regiment, Indiana Volunteers. He made it through the war safely, and eventually came to Medicine Lodge as the minister at the First Christian Church. I have an idea that his years spent with his second wife, Carrie A., were rougher than anything he endured in the Civil War! Orange Scott Cummins, The Pilgrim Bard, who was my grandfather's good friend, served in the 3rd Iowa Cavalry.

"Sockless" Jerry Simpson, who later represented us as a Populist member of the U.S. House of Representatives, served with Co. A, 12th Illinois Infantry. Jessie Pelton, father of my Dad's friend, Harvey Pelton, had served in the Union Army. He came to Sharon in 1881. Robert D. Simpson, father of Warren and Clayton Simpson, fought with Co. E, 78th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.

Henry Harrison Hardy, who was a well respected Probate Judge in Medicine Lodge from 1881 to 1890, was with Company H, 47th Illinois Volunteers. And Joseph P. Gibson, father of Mary Luallen, Carrie Patton, Cornelia Johnson, Gladys Gibson, Fern Shell, and Helen Harrison was in the 4th Tennessee Cavalry, which was part of the Union Army.

When I was a little girl, I was always so pleased that I knew a Civil War veteran.

He was William C. Barnard, who lived on a farm east of town (now on Pageant Road).

He had served with Company I, 167th Ohio Volunteers. He and his family came to Medicine Lodge from Oklahoma in 1905. His children were Evaline (Clawson), Alma (Hoagland), Julia (Knowles), Charles, Geneva (Wheat), and Bill. I think of him every time I drive east on 160.

Two other well-known Barber Countians were veterans. They were Milt Clements of Sun City, who came here in 1872 after having served in Co. E, 10th Illinois Cavalry. The other was Reuben Lake, the founder of Lake City in 1872. He had served with the 78th Illinois Infantry.

Barber County had a very prominent Confederate Army veteran. He was John Henry Garten, who was a Private in Co. F. 26th Virginia Battalion, Infantry of the CSA.

John came to Sun City on a buffalo hunt in 1872 and decided to stay. He met Miss Malinda Rogers, who was from West Virginia. They were the first white couple married in Barber County - on December 31, 1873.

John T. Jesse, who came to Medicine Lodge in 1883, had also served in the Confederate Army. He had been born in Kentucky. A friendship with Jerry Simpson brought him here. His daughters were Mamie Toombs, Sara Toombs, Blanche Hartley, and Jane Kimball (Mrs. Wilbur).

The War Of The Rebellion (The Civil War)

Civil War Soldiers in Barber County, Kansas:

Thanks to Kevin Noland, publisher of The Gyp Hill Premiere, Medicine Lodge, Kansas, for permission to republish the above column from his newspaper.