Saturday, June 08, 2013

Civil War's cost commemorated at Clore-Wells

We're talking about a Civil War-related event at the museum this fall --- within the Sesquicentennial observance period that will end during 2015. And that reminded me of a roster of Lucas County's Civil War dead --- more than 100 young men --- that I started two years ago, but didn't finish. The list is complete, on paper, but the entry for each soldier needs to be developed and posted. I only made it through the "Ds" two years ago, but will get back to work now, maybe even finish the roster before September.

So that was why I drove out to Clore-Wells Cemetery, just east of Norwood, yesterday. One young man who died while in service is buried there, two who died elsewhere are commemorated and another, who made it home but died as a relatively young man because of war-related causes, rests beneath the only government-issue grave marker in the little burying ground.

Clore-Wells probably is the oldest graveyard in the immediate Norwood area, located on land deeded to the public for use as a cemetery by John Wells. It came to be known as Clore because it is located almost in the front yard of the Leland Clore farmstead. Most of the burials here occurred before 1900 (the latest marked grave dates from 1939). Only 66 people are commemorated although there most likely are a number of unmarked graves.

Quite recently, the cemetery has undergone a name change. When uniform signage was placed at all of Lucas County's rural cemeteries some years ago, "Clore" was selected for this one. More recently, a distressed Wells descendant came along, asked for a change and offered pay for a new sign --- "Wells." Because the land was given by John Wells, the offer was accepted. However, most probably still know the cemetery as "Clore" and it flies under that name within the popular Find-A-Grave system.

The four Civil War soldiers commemorated or buried here are Abel T. Edwards, Jesse Wells, Jacob Burgett and Silas Wells (Jesse Wells' brother). 

Edwards, Jesse Wells and Burgett were among several young men from the neighborhood who enlisted together during September of 1861 for service in Co. C, 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry. Abel Edwards and Jesse Wells died of wounds sustained at Shiloh, the first great battle of the Civil War that involved large numbers of Iowa troops.

Abel, a son of Abel T. Edwards Sr. and Lucy E. (Bennett) Edwards, was 23 when he was killed. Here's the biographical paragraph composed by a relative, "Kathy S.," for his Find-A-Grave memorial: "Abel enlisted in Co. C, 13th Iowa Infantry, 28 Sept 1861. The company was formed in Lucas Co. Iowa, and included several men from the Norwood area including Elias Mills who later married Abel's sister Elizabeth. They (were) mustered into service 28 Oct 1861 at Keokuk, Iowa. The men spent the winter in camp at Jefferson City, Missouri, where three died of disease. On 6 April 1862, the company experienced it's first and bloodiest battle --- Shiloh, also known as the Battle of Pittsburg Landing (Tennessee) --- under Ulysses S. Grant. Abel was shot in the lungs and removed to the 4th Street Military Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. He survived the wound for two weeks."

Abel died April 20, 1862, in Cincinnati and was buried in a section of that city's Spring Grove Cemetery set aside for military use. When his mother died ten years later at Norwood, a commemorative inscription for Abel was added to her tombstone. Abel's military marker at Spring Grove (left) is taken from his Find-A-Grave memorial. The tombstone he shares with his mother at Clore-Wells is at the top of this post.


Jacob Burgett, born during 1840 in Indiana, was a son of of William and Hannah (Leach) Burgett, Like his young friends from the Norwood area, he enlisted in Co. C, 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, during the fall of 1861. Like them, he fought in the Battle of Shiloh, but survived and continued to serve.

After honorable discharge, he returned with health impaired to Lucas County and married Mary E. Wells (a daughter of John and Ruth Wells and sister to Jesse and Silas) on Oct. 11, 1865. The had eight children, two of whom died young and are buried with Jacob at Clore-Wells. During 1884, when he was 44, Jacob's health failed. Because that failure could be traced to the rigors of war, he was granted a veteran's pension that year, but died on Aug. 12, and was buried near his deceased children. Mary, who married John Rash after Jacob's death, survived until 1933, when she died in Ottumwa. This photo, from Find-A-Grave, was taken by Doris Christensen.


Jesse Wells, son of John and Ruth (Huffman) Wells, was born Jan. 17, 1842, in Ohio, and also enlisted in Co. C, 13th Iowa Volunteer Infantry, on Sept. 28, 1861. He was fatally wounded on the battlefield of Shiloh on April 6, 1862, and buried there. Although his remains would have been disinterred and moved later to what now is the Shiloh National Cemetery, they were unidentifiable so he is buried there among the "unknowns."

During the summer after Jesse was killed, his older half-brother, Silas, born ca. 1838, enlisted on Aug. 9, 1862, as 2nd corporal in Co. K, 34th Volunteer Iowa Infantry, and was promoted to full corporal during October. He became critically ill before his unit was deployed, however, and was sent home to Lucas County to recover, or die. He died on Nov. 4, 1862, and his remains were taken to the Clore-Wells Cemetery for burial. (Silas was a son of John Wells and his first wife, Susannah McBride Wells, who died not long after Silas was born).

Ruth Wells, stepmother of Silas and mother of Jesse, died during 1864, before the war ended, so it probably was John who ordered the joint tombstone, now badly eroded, that commemorates their two sons at Clore-Wells --- Silas, who is buried near it, and Jesse, far away on the battlefield at Pittsburg Landing.

1 comment:

Norm Prince said...

Darn you Frank,
Seems like another similarity or two appears in your blog and thus causes me to consider action myself. I also began listing the Civil War dead in the oldest of Denison's cemetery and then enlarged to the entire county. But like someone else, it has sat in my computer for some time and now I need to restart the process. Sure hope to complete the task before the anniversary is totally over!!