I havent forgotten you. Havent been writing anyone very much lately. Work has been real heavy the past month. 14 to 16 hours a day. Altho there hasnt been much flying.
It is cool here now. Frost in the evenings. Clear blue skies. The days are warm. Typical October weather at home I guess.
I quit work today (Sunday) at 1200 noon. A party of us went hunting pheasants. I shot one. Only had one shot. We saw a lot of them, but they would get up just out of gunshot. They are ringnecks like the ones at home. The Koreans dont hunt, so there are lots of them here. A lot of ducks and geese too.
If I stay here this fall I will probably get to do a lot of hunting. I heard from Ruth yesterday, and she says that everything is going O.K. Havent heard from you folks lately, but I imagine everything is alright too.
Lois writes every few days that one of the kids is spending a night with you. I know that they enjoy it. And Im happy that I brought the family back to Westerville while I am overseas.
According to the calenday, it is 128 days to go. That is, if I stay in Korea. If I should move elsewhere it would be about 180 days. In any event Ill be home before school is out.
Take good card of yourselves & write when you have the time.
I thought this Veteran’s Day that I would talk about an uncle of mine who was a soldier for the Union Army during the Civil War and died in 1862 at the age of 22, having had no chance to leave much of a legacy.
Clayton Webb Shaw’s short life consisted of: being born, which happened on the 8th of May, 1840 in Clermont County, Ohio, (he was the oldest son of John Shaw and Idea Webb); growing up; volunteering in 1861 in the 5th Ohio Cavalry O.V.C., Company M (as a musician); dying.
Reports of his death are a bit confusing.
The regiment that he joined was organized at Camp Dick Corwin, at the end of 1861, and the men who signed up were in for a three-year stint. The regiment was composed mostly of men from Hamilton and Clermont counties in Ohio.
On February 26, 1862, the 5th received orders to report to Brig.-Gen. W. T. Sherman in Paducah, Kentucky. So off they went.
On the night of March 15 the regiment dropped down to Pittsburg landing and the next evening an expedition, consisting of six squadrons of the regiment, was ordered in the direction of Corinth and when 5 miles from the landing, in front of Shiloh chapel, was suddenly fired upon by a considerable body of the enemy. A charge was immediately made, in which several prisoners were taken.
On April 4 the second battalion of the regiment had a sharp skirmish with Confederate cavalry, infantry and artillery at Crump’s landing, in which the battalion had 2 wounded, but brought in 14 prisoners.
At the battle of Shiloh the regiment was constantly under fire. Gen. Grant giving direct orders to it and assigning it various difficult and dangerous duties and positions in the field. The behavior of officers and men throughout their virgin battle was highly commended by both Gens. Grant and Sherman. The regiment advanced with the army in the slow “siege” of Corinth, and had its share of picket duty and other exposure.1
Here is a list of their battles, skirmishes, etc.: March from Danville to Savannah, Tennessee, March 10-11, 1862. Expedition to Mobile & Ohio Railroad to destroy bridges March 14-15. Beach Creek Bridge, Tennessee, March 13. Near Eastport, Mississippi, March 14. Burnsville March 14-15. Reach Pittsburg Landing March 15. Skirmish Pittsburg Landing March 16. Reconnoissance toward Corinth March 16. Black Jack Forest March 16 (Detachment). Near Shiloh Church March 24 (1st and 2nd Battalions). Expedition to Chickasaw, Alabama, and Eastport, Mississippi, April 1. Near Monterey, Tennessee, April 3. Crump’s Landing April 4 (Detachment). Battle of Shiloh April 6-7. Corinth Road April 8. Beech Creek Bridge April 13 (3rd Battalion). Affair with Cavalry April 14. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Mississippi, April 29-May 30.
So right away Clayton’s company was pretty much thrown into the blender. Okay, so far we can see Clayton’s company’s activities up to and beyond Shiloh. And then Clayton dies. This is where things get a bit confusing. According to the ‘Graves Registration Card’ found at ancestry.com, Clayton died at Shiloh, Tennessee, KIA on May 22, 1862.
But…the Battle of Shiloh occurred April 6-7. The Union Army was advancing to, and sieging at Corinth, Mississippi from April 29-May 30. So how did he die at Shiloh? Maybe he was in a picket type situation, or they were reconnoitering in the area and there was a skirmish he died in.
Here is the story as told by his brother James:
James F. Shaw ….son of John and Ida (Webb) Shaw…Five children were born to this union:…Clayton, enlisted at the beginning of the Civil war in the Fifth Ohio Cavalry and died at Pittsburg Landing soon after the battle…2
So according to his brother, Clayton died at Pittsburg Landing, which is also what the Battle of Shiloh is called, shortly after the battle. (You can see the landing on the map above.)
But then we get to his headstone, the one that was applied for that honors his service:
He volunteered in Co. M 5th O.V.C. October 3, 1861 Was in the battle at Shiloh Fields. Sent home sick, arrived May 9, died on 22, 1862 Aged 22 years 19 days3
His headstone states that he died at home due to illness. However, it doesn’t specifically state what kind of illness. Was he recovering from wounds received in battle? Did he catch one of the prevalent diseases that killed many his fellow soldiers? Regardless of what illness killed him, it looks like he was not actually killed in action, but died at home surrounded by his family–I guess if you have to go, it’s not as bad as dying in a muddy, bloody field of battle.
In the end, despite the confusion on the details of his final days, Private Clayton Webb Shaw died in service to his country. So I thank him, and am only sorry that he is one of many young men whose life was cut so brutally short by war.
Here is a slide show of three of the only decent images I could find online regarding Shiloh, or the 5th Ohio, (the company is unknown in that image though). Found these at the National Archives.
From—5th Ohio Cavalry Soldier Roster – Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Volume 11, by Ohio Roster Commission (Joseph B. Foraker, Governor, James S. Robinson, Sec’y of State and H. A. Axline, Adjutant-General), 1886.
August C. Johns*, FW John’s younger brother, moved to Iowa about 1884 from Dodge County, Wisconsin. Once there, August and his wife Mary bought themselves the Milwaukee Depot Hotel in Algona, Kossuth County.
The John families had a history of owning boarding houses and small hotels, but I do not know if that was the reason for this move. Mary and August were definitely very invested in their business, because over time they: shored up the building’s foundation, added on — to make more room, and made major improvements in the interior, as can be read in the following newspaper article transcriptions…
—A.C. Johns, proprietor of the eating house at the Milwaukee depot, finding his present building too small to accommodate his trade, has an addition well under way which, when completed, will be 22×32 feet on the ground, and the front half of it 16 feet high.1
Mr. Johns is putting his Milwaukee eating house on a new stone foundation and fitting it up for the winter.2
The Johns hotel at the Milwaukee depot has undergone a general overhauling this spring. The finishing touches were put on by Painter Orr last Friday. The inside and outside are painted throughout, new paper, and other changes have added to the beauty and convenience and our popular Milwaukee landlord has one of the finest eating houses along the line.3
They ran this hotel for 15 years eventually trading it for farm land nearby. No doubt because they were getting on in years, and found the business of hoteliers to be too difficult. Also, all their children, (who happened to be daughters), were married and had moved away from home, so were no longer around to help out.
In their 15 years of running the hotel there were no doubt many an interesting tale they could tell. One of those interesting tales I mentioned in a post a while ago: regarding a counterfeiter in town. Here is another I found that was told in two different local newspapers:
Below is a transcription, if you find the articles too difficult to read.
TOOK MIKE FOR A TARGET Midnight Marauders Shoot at Hubbard, but Without Producing Serious Results… Mike Hubbard experienced an unpleasant sensation yesterday morning about 2 o’clock. He had been cleaning some vaults and had just got home with his team. As he had finished un-harnessing and was turning towards the house he saw two men in the alley running from Mr. Johns’ hotel. The men did not see him till quite close, and then he called out to them. Both turned off to the north and one of them whipped out a revolver and fired at Mike, coming uncomfortably close to him. They then ran away and were lost sight of.
It turned out in the morning that they had tried to break in at Mr. Johns’ and had just been scared away. They opened the cellar door first and took out some fruit, etc., and ate it. Then they began to remove a pane of glass with a big chisel. Mr. Johns heard the noise and thought at first it was mice, which the girls had been complaining of for some days. But after a while he made up his mind that it could not be, and got up. When the burglar saw him he dropped his chisel and ran, it was thus that they came on Mike and scared him out of a good night’s sleep.4
TRAMPS AT WORK. The N.W. Depot and John’s Place Both Entered. Last Monday night tramps or sneak thieves entered the ticket office at the Northwestern depot, drilled two big holes in the safe, but did not succeed in getting the door open and if they had would not have got anything for their work as there is not money left there. Nothing else was molested and the thieves were undoubtedly frightened away before the job was completed.
The same evening A. C. Johns at the Milwaukee depot drove two sneak thieves out of his cellar. They were loading up in great shape when Mr. Johns happened to hear a racket in the cellar and proceeded to investigate matters, armed with an ugly-looking gun. He would have peppered their skins for them had they not escaped just as they did. Mike Hubbard attempted to run the fellows down with a pichfork as a weapon but one of the two would-be-thieves fired a couple shots at Mike and he let up on the chase pretty quick. He was pretty badly scared and told Mr. Johns that he had been shot at but didn’t know just where he had been hit. After examining himself he found that a bullet had plowed a furrow through his coat-tail. It was a close call for Mike.5
Very exciting stuff. August and Mary moved to Minneapolis in 1899. Their age and ill health made it more convenient for them to be closer to family. When they died though, they were both buried in Algona.6, 7 It must have been their home of the heart.
*NOTE: August/us spelled his John surname with an ‘s’. Our family spelled it without. German records show the name as Jahn — no one in the family spelled it that way once they arrived in America.
Here are more newspaper articles regarding the hotel and the Johns: 1895-10-23, Wednesday Page 8, col. 3, of Algona Upper Des Moines, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]: Walter Stebbins has leased the Johns hotel at the Milwaukee depot and has taken possession. Mr. and Mrs. Johns, we understand, will visit in Minneapolis and take a well earned vacation. Walter will make a number one landlord and keep up the excellent reputation the hotel has enjoyed.
1896-1-31, Friday Page 5, col. 2, of Algona Courier, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]: Mr. and Mrs. Jas. Ryan will take hold and run the Johns’ hotel, at the Milwaukee depot. Mrs. Stebbins who has been running it for some time has taken his old position in the Wilson Mill.
1896-5-8, Friday Page 5, col. 5, of Algona Courier, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]: Mr. A. C. Johns has traded his hotel property for a farm near Hartley. The new owner will take possession of the hotel soon. For some time past it was quite successfully run by Mrs. James Ryan.
1896–5-13, Wednesday Page 4, col. 5, of Algona Upper Des Moines, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]: J. L. McNamee of Hartley has bought the Johns hotel at the Milwaukee depot and is now in charge. He traded a farm near Hartley for the property. Mrs. Ryan and son, who have been running the hotel, have rejoined Mr. Ryan. Mr. Johns will not leave Algona.
1917-4-19, Thursday page 7, col. 2 of Algona Courier, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]: Mr. E. J. Murtagh went to Minneapolis last Friday to see his old friends, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Johns, the former being very enfeebled with age, he being now 88 years old. Mr. and Mrs. Johns lived in this town for many years, and Mr. Johns served on the council as a member for the Third Ward for several terms…
1923-6-7, Thursday, Page 1, col. 2 of Kossuth County Advance, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]: PIONEER ALGONA LANDLADY VISITS OLD FRIENDS HERE Mrs. Mary A. Johns, of Minneapolis, has been a guest at the E. J. Murtagh home for some days. Forty years ago Mr. and Mrs. Johns conducted the “Johns Hotel” at the Milwaukee depot. The house did a big business for passenger trains then stopped here for meals, and all the railroad men were patrons of the house.
The hotel, which stood on the north side of the track, was burned down some years after Mr. and Mrs. Johns left Algona…[they left in 1900]
Those were the boom days at the Milwaukee depot….The Dehnert hotel, now north of the courthouse, at that early day was also serving the public, but stood just south of the Milwaukee depot. It was moved to its present location 35 years ago…
1925-2-19, Thursday, Page 1, col. 6, of Kossuth County Advance, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-resercationcom]: MRS. MARY A. JOHNS DIES; TO BE BURIED HERE TOMORROW… She and her husband the late A. C. Johns, ran the Milwaukee hotel here in 1884, when it was thought that the main part of the city would be located near the Milwaukee depot…
Thanks to organizations that are digitizing local newspapers, and making them available to search on-line we now have a wonderful timeline and history of Mary and August’s time in Algona.
1885-5-13 Wednesday Page 4, col. 3, of Algona Upper Des Moines, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]
1889-10-16, Wednesday Page 4, col. 1, of Algona Upper Des Moines, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]
1890-5-21, Wednesday Page 4, col. 3, of Algona Upper Des Moines, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]
1894-6-20, Wednesday Page 4, col. 6 of Algona Upper Des Moines, Algona, Iowa — [algona.advantage-preservation.com]
Its a good thing that you dont hold your breath until I write! But I do try to get in a few. By the time I write Lois & the kids I’m usually written out.
I have been flying a lot during the last few weeks. Nearly all in jets. Dont fly the C-47 much anymore.
It has been unbearably hot since the 1st of August. I cooled off a little yesterday, but it is back at it again today. We had a hurricane called “Grace” that tore up southern Japan several days ago. It just barely reached here with light winds, so may be it will change the weather.
Lois wrote that she and the kids had a fine time in Canada and a good trip home. I want to thank you again for giving them a vacation.
When do you plan to come back to Westerville? You may have told me, but I forget. Really, I guess the best time of the year is in the fall. I would enjoy it the most. Hunting
and fishing would certainly be better then.
Is everything going all right? I wonder if it is. I mean if you & Dad are both OK?
I dont have any real news, but I wanted to write a line. Havent had a letter from you for a while, but guess I owe you one.