G.A.R. Post: John Buford Post #89 Everett, WA
14th WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: 11/61 Camp Wood, Fon du Lac, WI
Mustered In: 1/30/62 Camp Wood Fon du Lac, WI
Mustered Out: 10/9/65 Mobile, AL
The 14th, a three year "western theater" regiment left Wisconsin on 3/8/62 bound for St. Louis, MO. From there, shortly thereafter it moved into Tennessee where, in early April, during the battle Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing, TN it lost 14 killed and 79 wounded or missing while receiving the sobriquet of the "Wisconsin Regulars" for their determined fighting.
After the battle of Shiloh the unit was assigned provost (military police) guard at Pittsburg Landing. During the Union siege of Corinth, MS that followed it was ordered to reinforce the troops of Union Gen. William Rosecrans as they advanced on Confederate-held Luka, MS. Within two miles of that location the 14th was ordered back to Corinth to help defend the city from advancing Rebel forces. In the subsequent battle of Corinth the 14th held the advance position in the Federal line, the post of honor.
Within Union Gen. U.S. Grant's movements upon the rear of Vicksburg, MS the 14th was at the battles of Champion's Hill, the Big Black River and took a conspicuous part during the assaults on the Vicksburg works where it lost 107 killed, wounded and missing out of 256 engaged. It then remained on the front line until the city surrendered in early July, 1863 and was again given the position of honor when the brigade to which it belonged marched into the fallen metropolis.
Later actions for the 14th included Tupelo, MS, assisting in driving Confed. Gen. Price's forces out of Missouri and helping in the defeat of Confed. Gen. Hood in Tennessee.
Early 1865 found the "Wisconsin Regulars" aiding in dislodging the enemy from Corinth, MS and in reducing the forts that protected Mobile, Alabama. The regiment was mustered out at that location in October, 1865.
Total regimental losses: 6 officers killed or mortally wounded; 3 officers died of disease, accidents, etc.; 116 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded; 194 enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc.
Residence: Alma, WI Age: 28 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 1/5/64 Lacrosse, WI Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 1/5/64 Lacrosse, WI
Deserted: 7/14/64 Madison, WI
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Information pertaining to Thomas Parr and his family is almost non-existent. All that is known about his parentage is that his father was born in New York and his mother was born in Ohio. There is no available information regarding possible siblings.
Thomas was reportedly born in Oswego, New York, but the year is in question. When he joined the U.S. Army in early 1864 he was allegedly twenty eight years of age. That would make his birth year 1836. This birth year is confirmed by the 1880 U.S. Census However, census information from 1900 and 1910 peg his birth year as 1841 and 1842, respectively. No date of birth is documented. Finally, no documentation is available pertaining to his childhood, formative or teenaged years.
The first “hard” statistics on Thomas come from his 1/5/64 enlistment in the U.S. infantry. Papers from the period indicate he was 5' 11 1/2" tall, had blue eyes and brown hair. His occupational trade was carpentry.
Private Parr appears to have been a "bounty enlistee." He was initially paid an enlistment bonus or bounty of $60 and had three additional payments, likely of the same amount, coming, which he never collected. Private Thomas J. Parr deserted from the military before ever joining his company or regiment.
Regarding his desertion, existing records note that on 7/14 Private Parr deserted from the general rendezvous depot located in Madison, Wisconsin. The broader report for July and August noted him "absent new recruit with det." The report for September and October was the same, with the November/December entry noting "deserted never joined Co. or reg." Even though he never received his entire enlistment bonus was Thomas J. Parr a "bounty jumper" in the true sense of the term referring to a recruit who enlisted for the bounty money and, when collected, would desert to renew the process again with another unit? Likely, we will never know.
As with other aspects of his life, exactly where Thomas went after departing the military is not known. At some point, however, between 1865 and 1867 he married Sylvia. A. Pelton, (b. 10/144 MI). (Note: while most all documentation points to Thomas' wife's name as Sylvia, the 1880 U.S. Census notes her as "Sophia.") The union would produce at least one child, a daughter named Jenny who was born in 1874.
Initial post-war U.S. Census information available on Thomas and family comes from 1880 in Arapaho County, Colorado. In that year his household consisted of him, his wife and daughter. Again, his occupation was noted as "carpenter."
Thomas' next sighting comes from the 1900 census (most of the 1890 census data was destroyed by fire) when he and Sylvia were living as boarders in New Whatcom (present day Bellingham) in Whatcom County located in northwest Washington State. Obviously the Parr’s had continued to move west following their marriage, but why they came to Washington State is not known.
By 1908 the Parr’s had moved southward to the Snohomish County city of Everett, Washington. The City Directory listed for that year Thomas employed as a foreman at the “R.M. Company.” Sylvia was noted as being a nurse. Two years later the couple was still in Everett, but by that time Thomas was listed as being employed only as a laborer.
On 12/29/12 Thomas J. Parr died at his home located at 2231 Norton Avenue, Everett, WA. Cause of death is not known. He was buried at Everett's Evergreen Cemetery.
Almost one year after her husband's passing Sylvia Parr contacted Everett attorney Robert T. Warner, a Civil War veteran who appears to have specialized in helping other vets and/or their widows acquire pensions based on their, or their spouses, Civil War soldiering. (Warner is buried in the G.A.R. Cemetery at Snohomish, Snohomish County, WA). Sylvia apparently knew her late husband had enlisted in the 14th Wisconsin Infantry, but did not know his tarnished history. Likely, therefore, when word was received from the government pension office, it came as a surprise to her that Thomas was not only a deserter, but a deserter who had never joined his unit. Therefore she was ineligible for any type of pension stipend.
On 10/14/14 Sylvia remarried to Theophilus Rock, a Civil War veteran who had served in the 1st Wisconsin cavalry. After their marriage the couple appears to have taken up residence in Everett where, in May, 1917 their address was noted as 2231 Norton Avenue. Exactly how long they remained there is not documented, but by 1920 both were residing in the Soldier’s Home in Retsil, Kitsap County, Washington where Sylvia was employed as a nurse.
The Rock’s Retsil stay was apparently not lengthy as, on 4/9/23, Theophilus died suddenly at his Norton Avenue home in Everett. His burial was in Everett’s Evergreen Cemetery. After her passing on 1/24/28 Sylvia Parr Rock was interred between Theophilus and Thomas Parr at Evergreen.
Buried at Evergreen Cemetery
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