Hiram Bennett Baxter
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 337-340, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Hiram Bennett Baxter, an intelligent and progressive farmer and stock-raiser of township 17-9, near Ashland, Illinois, was born and reared in Jefferson county, Indiana.
  His parents were William and Jane (Kerr) Baxter, both natives of Ohio, his father having been born in Dayton. His father's father was a native of Ireland, who came to America and settled in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he married a German lady, named Rebecca Riddle. Mr. Baxter's maternal grandfather was Josiah Kerr, a native of Scotland. Thus he is of Irish, German and Scotch ancestry, three of the most intelligent and progressive nationalities on the face of the earth, and he would be a sad renegade were he not likewise constituted. His parents had ten sons and two daughters, of whom the subject of this sketch was the sixth in order of birth. James Riddle, the eldest brother, is an attorney of Bloomfield, Greene county, Indiana; Josiah Kerr is a retired physician of Sharpsville, Indiana; Daniel Thomas, a mechanic, died in early manhood, leaving a wife and two children, all now deceased; Oliver H. P. was one of the first white settlers in Pueblo, Colorado, where he engaged in mining and speculating in cattle, in which occupations he has been very successful, having accumulated a fortune of great wealth. He is now retired from active business, and spends most of his time in traveling, has been twice to Europe, and last summer was in Alaska. William Alexander died in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1877; the next in order is the subject of this sketch; George W. is a resident of Indianapolis, Indiana; Hayden Hayes is in the cattle business, near Pueblo, Colorado; Edward Arthur is in the livery and undertaking business in Sangamon county, Illinois; Leonidas Napoleon is farming the old Indiana homestead; Havanna Siloam married Robert Williams, a merchant of Madison, Indiana; Irena Hazeltine died in early childhood. In 1854 the family were called upon to mourn the loss of the devoted wife and mother, whose life had been one of self-abnegation and subservience to her family's welfare. The father afterward married her sister, and to this union one son, Virgil, was born, who died in 1861. The father died in August, 1861, and was interred by the side of his first wife, near the old home in Indiana. He was a prominent man in his community and was very popular among his associates, always heading every movement for the moral and material improvement of his locality. The second wife lives on the old homestead. She is a lady of much culture and refinement, and is universally beloved.
  The subject of this sketch was educated in Indiana, and was reared to farm life, and in the peaceful pursuits of rural and home life spent his earlier days. This happy routine was interrupted by civil discord, which rent the country, and on July 14, 1861, he enlisted at Madison, Indiana, in Company K, Twenty-second Indiana Infantry. He participated in the Missouri campaign, the first encounter taking place at Glasgow, that State, where Major Tanner was killed; and also took part in the fight at Blackwater, where the Union forces took 1,300 of the enemy prisoners. Thence he accompanied his regiment under the supervision of General Fremont, to Springfield, Missouri. General Hunter superseding General Fremont, they were returned to their old quarters, under the immediate command of General Curtis, with whom they marched to Springfield and thence to the battle at Pea Ridge, where the right flank suffered severely. Thence they went to Corinth, Mississippi, where they participated in the siege of Corinth, after which they returned to Iuka, that State, going from there to Florence, Alabama, and back again to Louisville, marching 400 miles in August and September, 1862. After this they went to Perryville, Kentucky, where there was an engagement, in which Mr. Baxter was shot through the left knee, lying on the battlefield all night after being wounded. There were thirty-five men in his company on going into battle, and on emerging there were but eight unharmed, ten having been killed, thirteen wounded and four taken prisoners. Mr. Baxter was sent to the hospital at Louisville where he remained from October 8, 1862, to February of the following year. He rejoined his regiment at, Tennessee, and there received his commission as First Lieutenant, being promoted from Duty Sergeant to that rank. In the absence of the captain, who had been wounded, Mr. Baxter at once assumed command of the company. His regiment remained in Murfreesboro until June, and then went on the Tullahoma campaign, following the enemy as far as Chattanooga, and participated in the historic battle of Chickamauga. It then fell back to Chattanooga, and engaged for a time in building fortifications. It next took part in the sanguinary battle of Missionary Ridge, at which it was in Sheridan'' division, and fought in the center. The following morning it started on a forced march for Knoxville, to relieve Burnside, who was surrounded by Longstreet. During this rapid march, the regiment was short of rations and had no tents. It was encamped on Strawberry Plains for six weeks, while the ground, the greater part of the time, was covered with snow. At this place the regiment re-enlisted for three years, and then returned to Chattanooga, after which the men were given a veteran furlough. At the expiration of their leave of absence, they rejoined their command at Chattanooga, whence they started with General Sherman on his memorable march to the sea. The Twenty-second Indiana being in the advance brigade. The enemy were met in force at Tunnel Hill and Rocky Face Ridge, and next at Resaca, Georgia, whence the Union forces proceeded to Snake Creek Gap, where Mr. Baxter's division was separated from the main army, and sent, under General Jefferson C. Davis, via Rome, Georgia. Here an engagement was fought, at which Mr. Baxter was again wounded in the left leg, the same as before. He remained about a month in Rome, when he secured a leave of absence for forty days, finally reporting to the officer's hospital, in Cincinnati, where the board of examiners ordered his discharge, General Slemmer being the chief of the board. On being discharge, August 29, 1864, he was granted $8.50 a month, that being half of a first lieutenant's pension.
  In February, 1865, Mr. Baxter assisted in raising a company for the One Hundred and Forty-eight Indiana Regiment, of which company he became First Lieutenant and afterward Captain. This regiment was sent to Columbia, Tennessee, where it did patrol duty until September 6, 1865, when it was mustered out of service.
  Mr. Baxter then returned to his home in Indiana, and was subsequently employed for a time in the railroad business in Indianapolis. December 15, 1866, he reached Jacksonville, Illinois, near which place he taught school two years; later, he taught school for another two years at Literberry, same State. He was afterward engaged in selling goods in the latter place, where he acted at various times as railroad agent, Postmaster and Justice of the Peace, his residence there extending over a period of nine years.
  In 1876 he was married, and included the Centennial Exposition in his wedding tour, visiting in old Virginia and spending a week in Washington city. Miss Lydia Ellen Crum was the lady of his choice, a daughter of Abram A. and Sarah (Buchanan) Crum, old and highly respected residents of the vicinity of Literberry, Illinois, where they still reside. Mr. and Mrs. Baxter have two sons, --Albert, born October 9, 1880, and William Abram, born September 18, 1887.
  In 1881, Mr. Baxter sold out his mercantile interests in Literberry and removed to his present farm, five miles west of Ashland, where his father-in-law had given him $20,000 worth of land. He owns a farm of 760 acres on the garden spot of Illinois, and, as for that matter, of the world, inasmuch as there is no more fertile country on the globe than that included in the Prairie State. This season (1892) he has 260 acres of corn, 180 of wheat, and eight of oats, the balance being meadow and pasture land. He has here a substantial farm residence, neatly and comfortably arranged; large barns for his grain and stock; and many other valuable improvements.
  Mr. Baxter is a stanch Republican and takes an active interest in political matters. He has been a candidate for various offices, but his party being in the minority he was never elected, yet succeeded in helping to hold the party organization together.
  He belongs to the G. A. R. and was the first commander of John L. Douglas Post, No. 591, at Ashland, having served two terms in that capacity.
  Seven of Mr. Baxter's brothers were in the army, no two of whom were in the same regiment, and all returned home, and still survive. Dr. Josiah was a Surgeon in the army; and Hayden was taken prisoner, stripped of his clothing and other valuables, paroled and turned loose, walking all the way home from Arkansas Post. Of this family there were one Surgeon, two Captains, one Lieutenant, and three privates in the service. The subject of this sketch received three commissions, two as First Lieutenant, and one as Captain, all from the hands of the famous war Governor Oliver P. Morton. Mr. Baxter received two wounds at the hands of the rebels, which compelled him to spend some eight months in the hospital. During the total period of three years and eight months he served two years in command of his company; and, while he was one of the youngest soldiers in it, he thinks he did his part.
  Had this family lived in Napoleon's time, they would have been greatly honored, inasmuch as he valued families only in proportion to the number of sons contributed to the insatiable monster of war. It is the disadvantage of republican forms of government, that they bestow no special privileges for services rendered by their inhabitants other than the universal gratitude of millions living and unborn, which is supplemented, in the breasts of those champions of liberty in the late war, by a deep sense of duty done, which soothes the wounded spirit and begets a peace which passeth understanding.



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