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mystic Chords of Memory

Inspired by Remembrance Day, we introduce these REAL soldiers that fought in the Civil War.  We will be adding a new soldier’s information on a regular basis, so be sure to check back.  We hope that you will be able to put a face on and remember them as people who lived.  They had families, friends, hobbies, experiences and personalities.  If you have information about a real soldier of the Civil War, perhaps a family member (pictures can be included) and want to share them, please send us an email so that we can share their history with the world.  It is one way for us to remember these brave soldiers. 


We present these soldiers:

Calvin J. Smith was a native of Michigan, at the age of 18 Smith enlisted in the 3rd Independent Battery of the Iowa Light Artillery.  Two months later he was wounded at the Battle of Pea Ridge in Arkansas.  He was discharged for disability a little over a year later.

     I can’t say just how disabled he was, because a year and a half after that he was accepted for service in Company F of the 34th Iowa Infantry, just in time for the Red River Campaign.  Note that both Smith and Scruton served in Iowa regiments in the Red River Campaign.  Both ended up living in Oregon City, and both were members of the same GAR post.  Towards the end of the war, various units were consolidated, so for a time Smith saw service in the 38th Iowa Infantry.

      Smith moved to Oregon City in 1913 and died ten years later at the age of 79 after a weeklong illness.  His funeral service was conducted by Meade Post #2 of the GAR. 

James Shelly was born on May 22, 1843 in Fairfield, Iowa. In 1848, at the age of five, James Shelley crossed the plains with his family via the Oregon Trail.  During the Civil War Shelley volunteered for service in the 1st Oregon Volunteer Infantry serving as 1st Sergeant of Company A. 

After the war Shelley was the owner of Eugene Mill and Elevator Company and became one of the most prominent men in the Eugene area.  He married Lydia Baxter in November 1874.  He was elected as sheriff of Lane County and served in the Oregon legislature.  He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and served as Commander of Gen. J.W. Geary Post 7 of Eugene.

  James Monroe Shelley died on April 25, 1925 at the age of 81. He is buried beneath a military headstone at Eugene Pioneer Cemetery

Sidney Richardson holds a special interest.  He is said to be the first white child to be born in the Oregon Territory.  Born here in Oregon City in 1844, his mother was pregnant during the long journey out west, during which time her husband (and Richardson’s father) died.  Within the year she remarried, and the child was raised by his step-father.

    Richardson lived here in Oregon City all his life, interrupted only by his military service.  When the First Oregon Infantry was mustered in November of 1864, Sidney Richardson was among their number.  Rising to the rank of corporal in Company E, he was stationed at Fort Colville in Washington Territory, located in the northeast corner of what is now Washington State.

     Described as a “quiet and reserved” man, Richardson returned to Oregon City after his military service.  He died here at the age of 67 in 1911.  His obituary in the Oregon City Enterprise newspaper says that he was “well known by the pioneers of this city.”

      He had 1 sibling, Alonzo Lynn Richardson, and 4 half siblings. According to his obituary, he died at his half-sister’s (Mrs. Theodore Clark) home.  He had suffered from dropsy for approximately 6 months.   

Private Edwin Scruton was born in New Hampshire, January 1844, he immigrated out west to Iowa, where he enlisted in Company B of the 35th Iowa Infantry in February of 1864.  He was 20 years old at the time.  He then participated in the Red River campaign and the Battles of Franklin and Nashville.  When the 35th Iowa was mustered out in August of 1865, Scruton transferred to Company K, 12th Iowa Infantry.  After six months of post-war service in Alabama, this regiment was also mustered out, ending Scruton’s military career.

      A carpenter by trade, Scruton married twice.  For a time, he lived in Bloomington, Wisconsin; Palouse, Washington, and Centerville, Washington, before moving to Oregon City in 1920.  He held membership in Meade Post #2 of the GAR in Oregon City for a time.  However, he eventually moved to the Lents neighborhood in Southeast Portland.  When Scruton died on April 5, 1923, Reuben Wilson Post #38 of the GAR in Lents conducted the funeral service.  Scruton was 79. 

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