Last Cincinnati Civil War Veteran?

I was doing some research on a different project and happened to find this story in the Cincinnati Enquirer of  September 21, 1947.   The Civil War part obviously caught my attention, but the story about his birth and his parents' deaths is also fascinating, though sad.

"Drummer Boy," 96, Dies; Arnold's Death Robs City of Last Civil  War Veteran

Cincinnati was without a former wearer of the Blue or the Gray last night after the death of Franklin Arnold, retired Chillicothe horse trainer who served 26 days as a drummer boy in the Union Army.

Mr. Arnold, who was within a month of being 97 years old, died at General Hospital from the effects of a right hip fracture suffered August 7 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Rhu, 688 S. Crescent Ave, Avondale, with whom he lived.

Although he could produce no documentary proof of his Civil War service, Mr. Arnold insisted during his recent stay at the hospital that he was 15 years old when he and 2 other youths enlisted as drummer boys at Newark, Ohio.

He explained that a discharge was not allowed him because of his short service and because he got only as far as Shilo, Ky., when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered in April, 1865.

"We just disbanded and went home," Mr. Arnold told interviewers at the hospital.

Mr. Arnold declared he was living in Steubenville, Ohio, with the family of William H. Anderson, friends of his parents, when he ran away to join the army.

After the war I went to Chillicothe, Ohio and hired out to a race horse man," Mr. Arnold said. "I was in the horse-training business for a long time."

Mr. Arnold said he had been living in Cincinnati since 1922 or 1923. He had lived in Avondale with the Rhu family for the last eight years.

Mr. Arnold was born on the Atlantic Ocean when his mother, a native of Ireland, was on her way to friends in the United States a month after the death of his father. His mother died at his birth and was buried at sea. His father, a native of Wales, died when the windjammer, of which he was captain, sank off the coast of Scotland.


It says he could not document his story and my one quick search could not any evidence to back up his claim, but I think this is worth sharing anyway. Stories about boys running away from home and joining the army as drummer boys are not uncommon but for some reason I find myself skeptical about his story. I don't know why.

Perhaps the sad tale of how he became an orphan makes his "runaway" story more believable. It also seems unlikely that someone would make up a story with so mundane an ending as "getting there too late and disbanded."

Maybe someone has studied Civil War soldiers from Cincinnati and has seen this story or others about "last Civil War veteran" in the area, or maybe someone can research it further, but I thought it was interesting enough to post and share as is.

1854 Southern M.E. Church Conference and Slavery

I have taken this story from the Covington Journal, of June 10, 1854. This was shortly after the Kansas-Nebraska Act had passed Congress.


On the 25th inst. (says the Columbus Times,) the Conference acted upon the report of the committee appointed upon the 9th section of the Discipline. It will gratify the friends of the church everywhere in the South to learn that the 9th section was expunged, as well as all other parts of the Discipline which condemned the institution of slavery. The general rule, forbidding "the purchasing of men, women, and children, with the intention to enslave them," and which has reference to the African slave trade, was retained, though the vote upon the expurgation even of this rule, was 47 to 54." 

It is not a surprise that slavery was a major national issue in this time and that it affected even churches and their operation, but I have not come across a lot of specific examples like this in my own searching of  records, so I thought I would share this one.

The Covington Journal was published just one county away from where some of my ancestors lived at the time, so I think of this as a local newspaper and enjoy finding tidbits in it. Being located in a slave state, but along the Ohio River, just across from Ohio and not far from Indiana, it and its publishers were in a unique position regarding slavery support and opposition.

1853 Description of Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Covington Journal printed this piece on January 8, 1853, just a few weeks after Uncle Tom's Cabin had been published. Strangely enough, I could not find any reaction to the book in this newspaper around that time, though I will search through some later editions too.

The writer of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" is thus described in the Boston Herald:

Mrs. Stowe is about forty years of age, low in stature, having a brilliant expressive eye, short features, hair thin and dark, with an occasional of grey, and her whole contour, as the French would say, being expressive of a highly nervous temperament, with quick perceptive powers of reading the minds of all present at a quick glance. All in all, however, she is not as good looking as her writings had led us to suppose.

The Springfield Republican Says: 
Some may get a better idea of Mrs. S' personal appearance from the following anecdote. Her husband, Professor Stowe, not being able to meet her personally at the railroad station on her expected arrival home, sent a student with the following directions to do the polite. He returned with an answer to the Professor that his wife did not come.  

'Impossible,' says the husband, 'she was certainly to arrive by this train with her children. ' 

'But she assuredly did not come - for the only female that arrived was an Irish woman with two children, who got into a carriage and drove off.' 

The Professor found his wife at home!

courtesy wikipedia

Check out "The Colonels of Spring Grove" posts

Over the years, I have tried to write a few stories based on headstones in local cemeteries. I even had an old blog dedicated to that and though that one  is no longer active, I do have one story from it that I will share here soon.

In the meantime, my friend Darryl Smith has started a fascinating series called "The Colonels of Spring Grove" about various colonels buried in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. He has already published several brief but interesting biographies of the colonels buried there. That's right - it's about the colonels, not the generals, who usually get the attention.

You can follow these by liking "Ohio at Perryville" on Facebook, or just go straight to the blog at

The first post of the series, with a map of the colonel's burial sites is here.

I highly recommend it.

Brief 1862 Article about Abolitionists' Viewpoint

The Covington Journal of January 4, 1862 reprinted these few sentences, adding the headline "True, every Word of it." This was quite early in the war, before any significant Union military victories had occurred and before the Emancipation Proclamation existed. (The Covington Journal was published in Covington Ky, which, of course, was both a Union and a slave state.)

The Harrisburg (Pa) Patriot says:

If the Union could be restored to-morrow, without the destruction of slavery, the Abolitionists would interpose objections. No one can have observed their course without seeing that their object is to destroy slavery by the use of the war power, or, failing in that, to divorce the Northern states from connection with the institution by a dissolution of the Union. Just at this time their faith in the ability of the Government to crush rebellion is wavering; and their policy is to increase the enemies of the Union, and the power of the Confederacy, by driving off the Border States - then the next step will be to insist  upon universal emancipation and arming of the negroes as the last resort, and when that fails, they will say "This contest is hopeless. - We cannot subjugate the South. Let us consent to dissolution, and thank Heaven that we are rid of the great sin of slavery." 

Perhaps William Lloyd Garrison (pictured below) was an unnamed subject of these comments.


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