When I embarked on my study of Gettysburg I read a couple of books, watched a few movies and documentaries on the topic. I also joined Doug in walking through cemeteries in Minnesota looking for grave markers for veterans of the First Minnesota Volunteer Regiment to photograph. We found several markers for Civil War Veterans from various Regiments and states. This led to a desire to do some research to find out more about the person behind the name on the marker. An interesting side note is that we see a lot of men from Maine. I think I’ll need to look into that another time.
I wanted to tighten the focus of what I was searching for – so I researched guys from the First Minnesota that were wounded at Gettysburg, that moved back to Minnesota, and were buried in the area between Princeton and Elk River/Otsego.
I found two men that were buried in Princeton: Charles H. Rines, and Jonas R. Hill. Rines was with Company D. His family moved from Maine to Minnesota in 1856, two years before statehood. Rines was just 18 years old when he went off to war. On July 2, 1863, he was wounded in the side five times. He recovered from that and moved back to Princeton after the war and opened a General Store. Later in life Rines went into the lumber business which was a booming business in the Princeton area.
Jonas Hill was born in Canada and came to Minnesota via Maine. He joined when he was 30 years old and was assigned to Company E. Like many of the men, Hill was wounded on July 2nd. Hill settled in Princeton after the war and went into the lumber business, he died at the age of 76. It is interesting to note the ages of these men when they went in and it shows the desire of all ages to fight for their country.
Sgt. Anson R. Hayden was born in Maine in 1835. He was 25 when he enlisted. Prior to Gettysburg, Anson was wounded a year or two earlier before at one of the Battles of Bull Run (or First Manassas as the Confederates called it). There was a First Bull Run (First Manassas) and a Second Bull Run (Second Manassas). Hayden was a lumberman after the war and even served as a State Legislator. He worked in the woods apparently cutting down trees as a lumberjack. He married his second wife (the first died in childbirth), in Elk River and lived in Anoka. During one of his trips to the woods he injured his toe and ended up dying of blood poisoning. He is buried in Elk River.
Lastly, I found Joseph McDonald in Otsego. While he was not wounded at Gettysburg, something I find extraordinary, he was there and he did participate in the repulse of the famed “Pickett’s Charge”.
I think that it is really great that we have these men right in our back yards. They are the stories of history, and they are there for you to discover and learn from.