Thursday, July 22, 2021

Tracking down John Adam Fight (Veith)

I happened upon John Adam Fight last week while trawling Iowa's pre-1867 newspaper archives in search of Lucas County mentions. We have issues from 1867 and beyond of The Chariton Democrat, launched that year, but nothing earlier of The Patriot, which began publishing 10 years earlier.

This sad account of a young Civil War veteran from rural Newbern who survived three years of combat and disease only to return home once the war was over and then die in an accident two months later was republished from The Patriot in the Burlington Daily Hawk-Eye Gazette of Oct. 14, 1865:

"HORRIBLE ACCIDENT --- We learn from the Chariton Patriot that on Saturday evening last John Fight, while on his way from Newbern to his home, two miles northeast from that place, was thrown from his wagon while endeavoring to stop his mules from running away, and terribly mangled, and died in a few minutes. His father was badly injured at the same time. John was a good soldier, had served three years in the 40th regiment Iowa infantry, and was liked by all of his comrades. He leaves a father, mother, brother and sisters to mourn his loss."

I checked John's service records and discovered that he had enlisted in Company G, 40th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, at age 19 on Aug. 16, 1862; was mustered on Sept. 20, 1862, at Davenport; and served honorably until Aug. 2, 1865, when the 40th was discharged at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation (Oklahoma). Unit members then were transported to Davenport where the unit was disbanded on Aug. 16.

Locating John's burial place turned out to be more of a challenge, but that was only because he is buried under his birth name, Veith, rather than the Anglicized version he had used, Fight, or the other common variant, Feight --- the latter both familiar surnames in Lucas, Marion and Warren counties.

The grave is located in Tickel Cemetery, shown on the map below, located between Bauer and Melcher-Dallas (the Melcher half of Melcher-Dallas hadn't developed when this 1901 map was created), northeast of Newbern and only a few miles north of the Lucas-Marion county line.

The tombstone photos here are from Find a Grave --- one of its current shattered state, the other taken when it was intact.

John's parents, Frederick George and Mary Catherine (Rinehart), also are buried here, although only Frederick, who survived his son by four years and died in 1869, has a stone. He, too, is buried as "Veith," the version of the surname these emigrants from Germany brought with them.

No comments: