1st WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER CAVALRY
Organized: Sumer & Fall 1861 Camp Fremont, Ripon, WI & Camp Harvey Kenosha, WI
Mustered In: 3/8/62 Camp Harvey, Kenosha, WI
Mustered Out: 7/19/65 Edgefield, TN
The Wisconsin First Cavalry was a three-year "western theater" regiment. It left the state in March, 1862, shortly after Federal muster and headed for Benton Barrack, St. Louis, MO to be equipped. The following month companies were detached to various points within that state to perform scout and railroad guard duty. These assignments, however, did not preclude frequent contacts with the enemy.
Movements into Arkansas that same year proved perilous when a contingent of 130 men were set upon and overwhelmed by a numerically superior force of Texas rangers. Only 20 escaped from this incident. The regiment, with the exception of detachments, then moved to Helena which it reached in August.
In September, 1862 the 1st was ordered back into Missouri. The hardships of this movement reduced the unit to nearly half its original strength. Disbursing guerilla units, picking up small bodies of Rebels and foraging completed the calendar year.
The 1stremained in Missouri during the first half of 1863 and were engaged a Chalk Bluff, Whitewater Bridge and the battle of Cape Girardeau. By mid-June, however, it was moving with other Federal forces toward Chattanooga, TN. It remained stationed there during the summer before participating in the battle of Chickamauga September 18-20, 1863. Skirmishes in Alabama and Tennessee followed.
1864 found the 1st with the forces of Union Gen. William T. Sherman as they moved toward Atlanta, GA. Engagements during this period included the Allatoona Hills, Burnt Hickory, Acworth, Big Shanty and around Lost Mountain. Following participation in McCook's expedition to the rear of Atlanta, it moved to Marietta, and from there to Catersville which it reached on August 12th. It remained there until returned to St. Louis, MO to be remounted.
Early December, '64 saw the 1st departing St. Louis for Nashville, TN and assisting in driving 2,000 or the enemy from Hopkinsville after a severe fight. A confrontation at Elizabethtown followed.
January, 1865, the regiment reached Nashville then moved into Alabama where it joined Union Gen. Wilson's cavalry expedition. In an assault upon a fort overlooking West Point, the 1st was in the front ranks of a desperate hand-to-hand struggle.
In early May a detachment of the 1st set out to search for fleeing CSA President Jefferson Davis. During this pursuit the men of the 1stwere involved in a "friendly fire" occurrence with other Federal forces as each thought the other to be the enemy. It was only when a captured "prisoner" proved to be a member of a Michigan regiment, that the firing ceased. Although Davis was not captured until after the Wisconsonites and Michiganders had fired upon one another, many ever believed that the 1st was entitled to some credit for the capture. Stationing in Georgia then preceded final muster in Tennessee.
Residence: Star Prairie, WI Age: 29.0 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 2/14/65 Hudson, WI Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: 2/14/65
Mustered Out: 7/19/65 Edgefield, TN
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Although several birth years can be found, records of St. Remi Parish of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec, Canada reflect Theophilus, or "Theo", was born on 12/19/36, the legitimate son of French-Canadian, Joseph Bastien (b. 1798 Canada), an illiterate sawyer, and Eleonore Gagman. Beyond this, the only other information available pertaining to his birth family is that in Canada the family surname was, for some unexplained reason, Rock-Bastien. According to available documentation the Bastien portion of the name was dropped when, in 1855, the Rock-Bastiens, or at least Theophilus, came to America.
While Theophilus cannot be found in the 1860 U.S. census, either that year or the previous one, on either November 25th or December 7th, in Stillwater, Minnesota he married Marguerite "Margaret" Callioux. (Surname likely pronounced Cayan or Cayon. b. 1857 MO). The union reportedly produced twelve children the names of only seven of which are recorded: Lewis (b. 1867 WI), Matilda (b. 3/12/70 WI), Agnes (b. 11/6/73), Margaret (b. 1874 WI), Alfred (b. 1878 WI), George (b. 7/26/86 WI and Marie (b. 11/12/86 or "87 MN). As noted by states of birth, for many years following their marriage Theophilus and Margaret resided in Wisconsin.
It was in Hudson, St. Croix County, Wisconsin that Theophilus enlisted in the U.S. Cavalry on 2/14/65. Information collected at that time indicated he was a carpenter by trade and residing in or near the community of Star Prairie. His vital statistics were as follows: 5'10" tall, with blue eyes, dark complexion and dark hair. Inducement for his enlisting was a $100 enlistment bonus or "bounty", $33.30 of which was paid him at the time.
His period of enlistment was to be "one year unless discharged earlier", and with the war then winding to close, Private Rock was not even assigned to his company and regiment until June 20th, after the war had ended. His mustering out came one month later.
With army life, such as it was, behind him, Theophilus returned to his wife in St. Croix County. It was there, in the community of Somerset the 1870 U.S. Census found him, his wife and their first two children. Also in the household at the time was Theopilus's father, Joseph.
As best as can be determined, the Rock’s remained in Wisconsin until after 1878 when they removed to Stillwater, Washington County, Minnesota. They then remained in Stillwater until sometime prior to 1890 when they were found in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, MN. Still there a decade later, in 1900,Theophilus continued to be employed as a carpenter.
In 1901 Theophilus left his wife and Minnesota and moved to Everett, WA. Why the move was made is not documented. What is documented, however, is that approximately two years later, in 1903, Theo and and Margaret divorced. The divorce action took place in Minneapolis.
1905, on January 5th of that year Theophilus was residing at 2301 Wetmore within the City of Everett. At some point following the Civil War he had apparently applied for and been granted a disability pension based on ailments which traced back to his army service. Exactly when the pension was granted and what the initial amount of his monthly stipend was, but now he was seeking a payment increase because the infirmatives of old age prevented him from supporting himself by performing manual labor. That the increase was granted is noted by the fact that, at death, he was receiving a princely $72 per month. That time, however, was a ways off as Theophilus still had living to do.
Theophilus remarried on October 14, 1914 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. His new bride was one Sylvia (nee Pelton b. 10/14/44) Parr a widow whose husband, Civil War veteran Thomas J. Parr had died on 12/29/12. (Thomas Parr is buried in Everett's Evergreen Cemetery.) Theophilus and Sylvia appear to have taken up residence in Everett where, in May of 1917 they were residing at 2231 Norton Avenue. How long they remained there is not documented, but by 1920 both were residing in the Soldier's Home located in Retsil, Kitsap County, WA. It appears Sylvia may have been employed as a nurse in the home.
Theophilus Rock died suddenly on 4/9/23 at his Norton Avenue home in Everett. At death he was 86 years and three months of age and nearly, if not completely, blind. Internment was at Everett's Evergreen cemetery.
After Theo's passing Sylvia remained in Everett. She died on 1/24/28. She was buried as Sylvia Parr Rock between Thomas Parr and Theophilus Rock in Evergreen cemetery.
Buried at Evergreen Cemetery Everett
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