Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State - James Cain

James Cain

Representing: Union

Unit History

  • 7th Iowa Cavalry I & L

See full unit history

James Cain
Full Unit History

8/14/1861 Sioux City, IA
Mustered In:
11/4/1861 Sioux City, IA
Designation Changed:
7/14/1863 Sioux City Cavalry became Co. “I” of the 7th Iowa Cavalry.

Organized: Spring and Summer, 1863 Camp Hendershott Davenport, IA
Mustered Out:  6/22/1866


Regimental History


In the 1850s settlers began moving into territories which, ultimately, would become parts of the states of Iowa and Minnesota. At the time, that region was considered America’s western frontier. Almost from the time immigrants began to arrive in these areas there was pushback from Native Americans who, for generations, had resided in the region. Attacks and killings then resulted in regular U.S. Army troops being stationed in the threatened areas. 

With the onset of the American Civil War (ACW) in 4/1861, the regulars were called east to deal with Johnny Reb. At that time, men in the northwest were asked to provide their own mounts and volunteer their services to replace the departing soldiers. Thus was formed the Sioux City Independent Cavalry Company.

During the next two years, this organization patrolled the northwest and rushed to deal with any threat they learned of. Still, Native American hostiles continued to prey upon settlers in the region.

Finally, in 1863 the powers in Washington City devised a plan to further defend the frontier. This resulted in the formation of three new Federal   - two cavalry and one infantry - regiments. As part of this re-organization, in mid - 1863 the Sioux City Independent Cavalry became Co. “I” of the new 7th Iowa Cavalry.** It has been said that the upper Midwest owed a debt of gratitude to the Sioux City troopers because of the sacrifices the men made to bring stability to the area.

Originally there were ninety-four (94) men in the Sioux City Cavalry. Seven (7) more joined in 1863. One (1) died in 5/1863 before the unit became Co. “I” of the 7th. Seven (7) were discharged because of disabilities. One (1) resigned. One (1) went absent without leave (AWOL) and six (6) re-enlisted in 11/1864 at the unit’s final muster.


The formation of what, ultimately, became the 7th Iowa Cavalry began in 4/1863, but proceeded slowly. Two companies were mustered during April; three in June and one in July. Meanwhile, three companies of the 41st infantry and the Sioux City Independent Cavalry Company were thrown into the mix.  Final organization was thus completed the summer of ‘63.

Even before the 7th’s structuring was completed, however, six companies were transferred to the Nebraska Territory and assigned to frontier posts throughout the region. In the field, the regiment’s foe was not Johnny Reb, but Native Americans.

Throughout its period of existence the 7th escorted wagon trains, protected emigrants, guarded lines of travel and the telegraph lines. These arduous duties resulted in frequent combat clashes with the hostiles.

Officers killed or mortally wounded: 1; Officers died of disease, accidents, etc.: 1; Enlisted men killed or mortally wounded: 29; Enlisted men died of disease, accidents, etc.  93

Soldier History

SOLDIER: (Sioux City)*
Residence:  Sioux City, IA   Age: .22.10 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 4/14 1861   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered In: Inf. Not Avail.
Transferred Out: 7/14/1863
Highest Rank: Pvt.
Rank At Discharge: Pvt.

SOLDIER:  (7th)*
Residence: Sioux City, IA   Age: 24.10 or 25.0 yrs.
Transferred In:
4/14 or 7/14/1863   Rank: Pvt.
Mustered Out:
4/14/1866 Sioux City, IA
Highest Rank:
Rank At Discharge:


Family History


James Cain was born 6/10/1839. His place of birth was Will County, IL.

Fathering James was John Cain (b. ca. 1807 loc. unk.). His mother was Lucretia (nee Dulin b. ca. 1815 TN) Cain. In 1880 John listed his occupation as “farmer.”

According to available documentation, James Cain had at least four siblings. They were Cornelius Caine (b. 1835 IL), Marion F. Cain (b. 1836), Elizabeth “Lizzie” Maria Cain (b. 1857) and George Washington Cain (b. 1858 IA).

In 1844, James – with his parents and siblings - moved to Missouri. In ’46 the family removed from Missouri to Wisconsin and, a year later, they resettled in Iowa. They did not remain long in Iowa because, in 1860, they moved into the Dakotas. By 1861, however they had returned to Iowa.

James, on 4/14/1861, enlisted in the Sioux City Cavalry. Later, in 1863, when that independent unit became Co. “I” of the newly formed 7th Iowa Cavalry, Private Cain became part of that organization.

Re-enlisting in 11/1864 Private Cain became a member of the 7th’s new Co. “L.” He remained with that company and the 7th following the ACW, taking part in the Indian Wars. He received final muster on 4/14/1866.

In 1871 James, with his parents and siblings, moved to Whatcom County, Washington Territory (WT). What had drawn the Cain clan to that part of the Pacific Northwest is not known. The family’s initially settled where the town of Blaine currently stands, but in 1880 they were census counted in the Semiahmoo area.

In later years it would be noted that “the history of Blaine cannot be written without prominently mentioning the Cain family. James, as one of the members, was actively identified with the interests of the city since it was first platted in 1887 by (the) Cain Brothers – Cornelius, James and George W. He (James) was the first Mayor of Blaine, the first teacher of School District 25; the first notary public, the first postmaster and he drew up the first plat of the original town site of Blaine and was part owner of the first newspaper – the Blaine Journal.”

James peacefully died in Blaine, WA on 2/5/1914. Never married, the brave soldier, sturdy pioneer, loyal citizen and faithful Christian was survived by one sister, one brother and “a large circle of friends”. Burial was/is in the Blaine Cemetery.

* In order to definitively chronical Private Cain’s period of military service, records may have to be obtained from the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

** In 11/1864 when Sioux City/Co. “I” enlistments were ending, new recruits and re-enlisted veterans were transferred to a new Co. “L” of the 7th.
___________________________________________________________________________________Note: The preceding courtesy of the Whatcom Genealogical Society. For further information on Mr. Cain and other Whatcom County Civil War veterans, please see our Links page for information on how to obtain the on-line file Civil War Veterans in Whatcom County (including 2014 updates). 

Posted: 12/7/2023


Buried at Blaine Cemetery

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