Thursday, October 10, 2019

"The Lucky Thirteen"

The list of names entitled "The Lucky Thirteen" was written
in the front of book found among Henry Melick's possessions
On August 1, 1861, thirteen young men between the ages of 17 and 23, twelve of whom were from Roseville, Ohio and surrounding areas in Muskingum and Perry Counties, enlisted at Zanesville for three years military service. They were mustered into the 32nd Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry at Camp Bartley in Mansfield, Ohio, and assigned to Co. G. Eleven of them were mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky on July 20, 1865. All had re-enlisted when their first term of service expired. Twelve of them saw action in two of the most significant Union campaigns of the Civil War--the siege and battles at Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Sherman's March to the Sea which included the siege and battles in and around Atlanta, Georgia. All except one, returned home in decent health; all except one returned with all limbs in tact, although one suffered from foot injuries that would plague him the rest of his life.

The men styled themselves "The Lucky Thirteen", reflecting their awareness of how very unlikely it was that thirteen young men from in and around the same small village, who enlisted in the same military company, and who endured the same hardships and dangers of war would all return home safely. The men and their families probably saw this as nothing short of miraculous, and proof that the number thirteen might not deserve its bad reputation. 

"The Lucky Thirteen" were:
  • Francis Marion (Frank) Rider, born October 6, 1840 in Clay Township, Muskingum County. He was the second of seven children born to Richard and Elizabeth (Wonn) Rider. Frank was mustered out of service as a commissary sergeant. He returned to his parents' home, and in 1870 married Permelia Maddox. Like his father, Frank was a prosperous farmer. He eventually entered local politics and served as a Muskingum County commissioner from 1889-1895. His active involvement with Axline Post No. 290 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) probably helped his political career; he was a much respected local citizen and leader. He died at his home in Roseville on February 14, 1907, and is buried with his wife and parents in Roseville Cemetery. He and Permelia had no children.
  • Richard F. (Dick) Sowers was born on October 3, 1843 in Clay Township. He was the second youngest of twelve children born to George and Catharine (Wonn) Sowers. Richard's father was a farmer. His mother was related to Francis Rider's mother, and in the 1850 U.S. census of Clay Township, the Sowers family is enumerated between the Rider family and the Wonn family. Richard was captured on July 17, 1864 during the Atlanta campaign, and was imprisoned in the notorious Andersonville Prison for two months, when he became part of a prisoner exchange. He was mustered out on July 25, 1865 with Co. D 2nd Veteran Reserve Corps (V.R.C.). The V.R.C. was originally known as the Invalid Corps, and was composed of soldiers too infirm to return to their units, but who could perform light duties such as hospital orderlies.  Dick Sowers had either suffered a serious wound or had developed a debilitating disease, and his condition probably accounted for his premature death. He lived just two and half years after his discharge, dying January 4, 1868, the only one of the thirteen who didn't live to see a new century. Richard is buried with his parents in Ebenezer Cemetery in Roseville.
    Henry H. Melick
  • Henry Harrison Melick was born August 8, 1840 in Roseville. His parents were William and Ann (Rhodes) Melick. Henry was the middle child of five. Like Sowers, Henry (who in later years sometimes went by "David") was captured during the Atlanta campaign and spent two months in Andersonville Prison. When he returned to Roseville, he married Susan Lenhart with whom he had five children. Henry had been a potter as a younger man, and after the war became a stoneware salesman, but he and his family also farmed. Henry spent nearly 50 years pursuing pension increases from the Pension Bureau for his military service. (See Henry H. Melick: The Pensioner's Tale for a summary of Henry's 3 lb. pension file.) Henry died at his home in Roseville on March 24, 1928. He and Susan are buried in Roseville Cemetery.

Soldiers and Sailors Home
  • Edward Milton Coe was the only "Lucky Thirteen" member not born in Ohio. He was born in western Virginia in July 1838 to William and Mary Jane (Reed/Read) Coe, the oldest of their six children. By the time Edward was 12 years old, the family settled in Newton Township, Muskingum County. Edward (known as "Dink") followed in his father's footsteps and became a teacher, which probably explains why he was enlisted as a corporal. His pension record shows that during the Vicksburg Campaign, Edward committed some infraction which got his rank reduced to private. When his mother died in 1905, her son "Col. E. M. Coe" was listed as one of her surviving children. (This, of course, was a real case of fake news.) Edward died at the Soldiers and Sailors' Home in Sandusky, Ohio on April 20, 1910, although he had lived in Fultonham with his sister until the previous month. Letters between his sister and the Pension Bureau suggest that Edward's body was returned to Fultonham for burial, but there is no cemetery record. Edward never married.
  • William Henry Wilson was born on June 14, 1842 in Harrison Township, Perry County. He was the eldest of William D. and Rebecca (Brumage) Wilson's four children. After he was mustered out of service, William returned to Perry County where he married Olivia C. Crooks in 1873. The couple had six children, and lived for a time in Zanesville where William owned and operated an ice cream parlor. William and Olivia were living in Roseville at the time of his death on July 26, 1907. William, his wife and his parents are buried in Roseville Cemetery.
Walter Lowry
  • Walter Lowry was born in Roseville on October 15, 1841, the sixth of the eleven children of Jeremiah and Susannah (Richardson) Lowry. Walter was mustered out of service as a sergeant,and returned to Roseville where he worked as a potter. He married Aurilla Weaver in 1868; the couple had eleven children. Shortly after Walter's and Aurilla's marriage, the couple moved to Keyser, Mineral County, West Virginia where they owned and operated a successful grocery and market garden. Walter died in Keyser on April 29, 1921. He and his wife are buried in Queen's Meadow Point Cemetery in Keyser.
    David French
  • David G. French was born may 21, 1844 in Harrison Township, Perry County. His parents were James French and Elizabeth McCoubrey, an Irish immigrant. Davis was the second youngest of their six children. After being mustered out of service, David returned to Harrison Township where he married Rebecca E. Wilson in 1866. The couple had two children. David was a potter, and eventually established his own business, the D. G. French Pottery. Rebecca died in 1917, and David never recovered from the loss; two and half years later, on January 30, 1920, he committed suicide. He and Rebecca are buried in Roseville Cemetery.
  • William Tell Dollison, M.D. was born in Harrison Township, Perry County on September 11,
    William T. Dollison
    1840,the eldest of John Moore and Jane (Wylie) Dollison's six children. William was appointed 1st sergeant of Co. G on his enlistment, and then made a 2nd lieutenant. When he re-enlisted, he joined Co. K of the 32nd Regiment, and was mustered out as a 1st lieutenant. Following his war service, William went to Columbus, Ohio to attend the Starling Medical College. After earning a medical degree, he moved to Indiana where he met and married Jennie Elizabeth Smith. The couple had four children. Eventually, the family moved to Maryland so that William  could work in the medical office of Veterans' Affairs. William married Lydia A. Siegfried after Jennie's death, and lived in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where he died on May 16, 1915. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery with both of his wives.
  • Robert Aulder G. Larzelere was born October 17, 1840 in Harrison Township, Perry County. He was the eldest of the seven children of Benjamin Larzelere and Mary Damon, an English immigrant. Within six weeks of Robert's enlistment, he was taken prisoner at the Battle of Cheat Mountain (September 12-15, 1861) in western Virginia. However, he was paroled shortly afterward and returned to his unit. After his mustering out, about 1868, Robert married Jennie ____. The couple had one child (who would become the Rev. Aulder Larzelere), and lived in Zanesville where Robert plied his trade as a carpenter. He married Mary E. Cowan after Jennie's death. Robert died in Zanesville on January 8, 1920, and is buried in Roseville Cemetery along with his first wife and only child.
Alonzo L. Vickers
  • Alonzo Lorenzo Vickers was born in Washington, Fayette County, Ohio on October 26, 1837. His father was Lorenzo Dow Vickers, a physician, and Harriet (Moon) Vickers, who died when Alonzo was just six weeks old. He was brought up by his paternal grandmother who lived in Roseville. Alonzo's pension file shows he suffered a considerable number of illnesses and injuries during his service, most notably a serious foot injury that led to permanent deformity and limited mobility. Alonzo was mustered out as a corporal of Co. G. Returning to Roseville after the war, Alonzo married Sarah M. Llewellyn in 1867. The couple had ten children. The family moved to Dickenson County, Kansas around 1877. After Sarah's death, Alonzo married Annie E. Smart and had two more children. He died in Abilene, Kansas on November 9, 1917 and is buried with Sarah in Prairedale Cemetery near Talmadge, Kansas.
  • Reuben Henry Morgan was born June 25, 1844 in Zanesville. He was the seventh of Peter P. and Rebecca (Flowers) Morgan’s ten children. Reuben returned to his parents’ home after the war and studied law. He married Phoebe Angeline Harris in Holmes County, Ohio in 1871, and the couple moved to Martinsburg, Knox County, Ohio where Reuben established a law practice. Angela and Reuben had five children. In Knox County, Reuben became involved in politics, serving as a justice of the peace, a township clerk, and mayor of Martinsburg. Reuben moved his family to Washington, D.C., where he worked as an attorney in the Family Pensions Office of Veterans AffairsHe died in Washington, D.C. on November 1, 1903, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
  • George W. Kildow was born in Newton Township, Muskingum County on May 19, 1840, the eldest child of Daniel and Mary (Frisbey) Kildow’s seven children. George was discharged from the military about 6 months before Co. G was mustered out, went immediately to Wisconsin and married Mary A. DeWitt. The couple had two children before they divorced in 1871. George moved to Iowa and married Anna D. Jennings in 1872.  The couple had four children. Between 1884-1890, George moved his family to Brush Creek Township, Muskingum County where George was enumerated in the 1890 special census. The family remained in Muskingum County for at least another ten years, before moving to Chicago, and then, in 1912, moving to the state of Washington. He died at the Veterans’ Home in Retsil, Kitsap County, Washington, on February 20 1930, and is buried in the Veterans’ Home Cemetery along with Anna.
Monument to Union soldiers in the Roseville Cemetery

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