A Veteran of the American
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
-- Quoted from lines written
by Mr. Powell in Andersonville Prision.