Etc. -- Edwin R. Powell's 1917 obituary
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A lightly edited transcript of an article on pages 1 and 7 of the 
8 Mar 1917 issue of Simcoe Reformer:

A Veteran of the American Civil War

The subject of this sketch, Edwin R. Powell of Simcoe, was born in Windham,, 5 Mar 1838, the son of Isaac B. Powell and Cyrena Boughner, second daughter of the late Martin Boughner, Esq., of Windham.

Among the pioneer families of Norfolk few were more generally or favorably known than the Powells of Windham. Almost a century ago they were quite numerous here, but strange to say Mr. E. R. Powell was probably the last of the name resident in this county.

In the troublous times of 1837, his father joined a troop of cavalry under command of Capt. Wilson, afterwards Judge Wilson of Norfolk, to whose company belonged representatives of many of the best families in Norfolk. While in active service 
Mr. Powell met with an accident which terminated his life a few months later, leaving a widow and 
three small children, Edwin being the youngest.

His childhood, youth and early manhood were spent in or near Simcoe. He seemed to have inherited a taste for military service for when the Fenwick Rifles were organized in 1861, under Captain Tisdale, he joined the company.

On the outbreak of the Civil War in the United States he enlisted in the Seventh Michigan Regiment which became a part of the Army of the Potomac, and took part in the sanguinary battles of Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, Antietam, Gettysburg and Cold Harbor, and escaped without serious injury.

Mr. Powell, and many others, being taken prisoner, were taken to Libby Prison, Richmond, then transferred to the infamous starvation stockade at Andersonville, G., where many thousands of Union soldiers died of hunger and exposure.

He told the writer of wagons coming in every morning for the dead, who were piled up like cordwood and taken to the cemetery nearby. 
This continued for many months.

At length, an exchange of prisoners was made. 
The worst cases were taken first, of whom Mr. Powell was one, being reduced by starvation, exposure and disease caused thereby, until he was helpless. 

He had to be carried to the railway train and from the train to the transport, en route to the Military Hospital at Baltimore, where he was nursed back to comparative activity, but he never fully recovered from the effects of his imprisonment. Upon partial recovery he visited his old home near Simcoe.

He received a land grant of 160 acres in Western Kansas for his war services, upon which he settled in 1871 as a farmer.

He married Miss Ella Garanllo [sic] in 1875, she being a daughter of a Kansas pioneer. Two children were born to them, a son who died in infancy, and a lovely and talented daughter, whose death at the early age of 16 cast a shadow over her father's mind that the lapse of time could not entirely remove.

Failing health caused him to leave the farm and remove to town, where he engaged in journalistic work and insurance. Being well educated and of good natural ability, offers of preferment were not lacking, but the life of a private soldier and private citizen were more congenial to his nature.

In declining years his thoughts reverted to the scenes of early life, and he decided to spend the reminder of his days in Simcoe. He came here in 1908 and purchased a residence on Wilson Ave., near the High School. He often visited the scenes of his old home neighborhood in Windham, and nothing pleased him better than a review of the scenes of his early years.

He struggled bravely against the infirmity of age until a few days ago, when the close was seen to be rapidly approaching, and on Saturday evening, 24 Feb, he quietly crossed the bar, and entered upon the deep sleep that knows no awakening in this world.

Friend after friend departs,
Who hath not lost a friend?
There is no union here of hearts
That has not here an end.

The funeral service on Tuesday was largely attended, Rev. Mr. Farney officiating. Burial took place in Oakwood Cemetery.

To the lonely widow, left without kindred in this country, who came here a few years ago a stranger in a strange land, the heartfelt sympathy of many friends is extended in this bereavement, to whom she has endeared herself by many acts of kindness.

Just outside our prison gate there's a graveyard close at hand
Where lie 10,000 Union men beneath the Georgian sand,
And scores on scores are laid beside as day succeeds the day,
And thus it will ever be till all have passed away
And the last can say when dying, with upturned and glazing eye,
Both Love and Faith were strong in home when they left us here to die.

-- Quoted from lines written by Mr. Powell in Andersonville Prision. 


Image from microfilm

See Mr. Powell's
poetry enlarged

Copyright 2014 John Cardiff