To The
Carroll County Military


The 11 Merchant Brothers
Sons of Eliza (Merchant) Upright
Contributed by Karen Fyock

The Sons of a Noble Woman
Gives Her Eleven Sons to the Union Army


In the last week of the third session of the forty-sixth congress, a bill was passed to pay to Mts. Eliza Upright of Rockford, Iowa, a pension at the rate per month now allowed to parents for the loss of children upon whom such parents were dependent. The proposition for pension is based upon grounds different from any which have even been brought before congress. Mrs. Upright, now seventy-four years of age, has never appeared at the pension office in the character of an applicant, and in the language of the report of the house committee, "the action in bringing her before congress seems to have been prompted by a desire to do her honor, as well as to testify in a substantial manner the appreciation of the government." The facts that Mrs. Upright, formerly Mrs. Merchant of Manchester, Illinois, sent ten sons to the volunteer army during the war for the Union, and one son to the regular army after the close of the war. One of the ten sons serving in the Union army died in service, one was killed in action, one was killed by an accidental discharge of a cannon, two were promoted from privates to commissioned officers and these with five others were honorably discharged at the close of the war. This is an extraordinary record and the more notable because neither the mother nor hr sons sought either notoriety or recognition from the government. The case was first brought to the notice of congress in February, 1879, by the following letter from the Honorable George McCrary, then secretary of war: War Department, Washington, Feb. 11, 1879

To Hon. N. C. Deering, House of Rept.

SIR: - I have considered the petition of Mrs. Eliza Upright of Buttler county, Iowa, praying for the discharge from military service of her son, Norman M. Merchant, Battery B, 4th Artillery, which petition was presented by you and is concurred in by numerous citizens. The discharge of this soldier is asked by the petitioner, who says that she is seventy-four years old, on the ground that she had ten sons in the Union army during the rebellion and the one above named, her eleventh and youngest son, has served for over five years in the regular army. She furnishes the names of her sons and a statement of the organizations in which they served:

1. Enoch Merchant was a corporal in Company F, 156th Ill. Volunteers, and honorably discharged September 20, 1865. Died in Sycamore, Illinois, January 19, 1892.

2. Aaron Merchant was a private in Company G, 15th Wis. Volunteers, and was killed at Island No. 10 December 26, 1862, by the accidental discharge of a cannon.

3. George W. Merchant was a private in Company C, 74th Ill. Volunteers, afterwards a lieutenant, and was honorably discharged September 26, 1865. He lives in South Dakota.

4. DeWitt C. Merchant was a private in Company C, 15th Ill. Volunteers, and was killed in action July 22, 1864 at Atlanta.

5. Silas B. Merchant was a private in Company G, 44th Ill. Volunteers, was promoted to first lieutenant and resigned September 25, 1864. He lives in Manchester, Boone county, Illinois.

6. Abel L. Merchant was a private in Company C, 15th Ill. Volunteers, came home on a furlough and died in Winnebago, Illinois.

7. David O. Merchant was a private in Company C, 74th Ill. Volunteers, and honorably discharged June 10, 1865. He lives in LeMars, Iowa.

8. Lewis H. Merchant was a private in Company G, 45th Ill., Volunteers, and was honorably discharged September 26, 1864. He lives in Kansas.

9. Arlo Merchant was a private in Company G, 44th Ill. Volunteers, and was honorably discharged September 25 1865. He lives in Rockford, Iowa.

10. James P. Merchant was a teamster in the employ of the Quartermaster's Department. He lives in Lanark, Illinois.

11. Norman M. Merchant enlisted March 3, 1873, as a private in Company B, United States Cavalry, and was discharged March 11, 1878, by reason of expiration of term of service. He again enlisted May 4, 1878, and was assigned to Battery B, 4th Artillery, and was discharged in accordance with his mother's request.

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