40th WISCONSIN VOLUNTEER INFANTRY
Organized: May & June, 1864 Camp Randall Madison, WI
Mustered In: 6/14/1864 Camp Randall Madison, WI
Mustered Out: 9/16/1864 Milwaukee, WI
In the spring of 1864 Union forces under General U.S. Grant were poised to head south into Virginia on the Overland Campaign which, a year later, would help bring an end to four years of bloody civil war.
To field as many "seasoned" troops as possible for Grant, numerous military organizations were pulled from rear echelon positions. To fill the void created by these reassignments, short-term, primarily non-combat regiments were created. The 40th Wisconsin was one such unit.
The 40th Wisconsin was a one hundred (100) day infantry regiment. Its entire period of service was spent in the District of Rolla, MO. Rolla was located in the western theater of the American Civil War.
This regiment left the state of Wisconsin on 6/14/1864 and proceeded to Memphis, TN. Arriving there on 6/19 it was assigned to railroad guard duty and the defenses of the city.
During an August raid by Confederate forces under Nathan Bedford Forrest, the 40th was engaged with the enemy. Having marched at the double quick for nearly three miles, after the skirmish it pursued the fleeing enemy an additional two miles.
Final muster was in Madison, WI on 9/16/64
Officers Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 0; Officers Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 1; Enlisted Men Killed Or Mortally Wounded: 0; Enlisted Men Died Of Disease, Accidents, Etc.: 18.
Residence: Beloit, WI Age: 22.4 yrs.
Enlisted/Enrolled: 5/24/1864 Beloit, WI Rank: Capt.
Mustered Out: 9/16/1864 Milwaukee, WI
Highest Rank: Capt.
Rank At Discharge: Capt.
NOTE: The birth - to - death biographical profile of Salmon M. Allen was created in August, 2021 during the Covid-19 medical pandemic. It contains less depth of detail than many other biographies within this website because military service, pension and other veteran-related files housed in Washington, D.C.'s National Archives were not available. At a later time those documents may be obtained and the data contained therein added to the narrative which follows.*
Salmon Merritt Allen was born 1/7/1842. His place of birth was Rochester, NY.
Parents of Merritt - it appears that throughout his life he went by. S. Merritt or Merritt - were Sidney Allen (b. 3/20/09 MA - d. 5/15/1885 Allen's Grove Walworth County, WI) and Lacinthia/Lucena A. (nee Sheldon b. 5/10/1812 VA - d. 9/21/1899 Orting Pierce County, WA) Allen. The couple married in Troy, New York on 9/6/1831, but initially appear to have settled in Vermont.
According to The United States Biographical Dictionary, at the time Merritt was birthed Sidney was a New York merchant. In 1845, however, he led a group to Wisconsin where they established a town named Allen's Grove. In the community bearing his surname he became a farmer.
As best as can be determined Merritt was the third of six born to Sidney and Lucena. Older than he was George M. Allen (b. 1833 VT), J. E. Allen (b. ca. 1834 NY) and J. M. Allen (b. ca. 1840 NY). Younger than he were Lucena/Lucene Allen (b. 8/6/1844 Rochester Ulster Co., NY) and Harriet Louise, “Hattie" Allen (b. 8/7/1849 Allens Grove, WI). Unaccounted for is Pliny D. Allen (b. unk. - d. 5/8/1850). All name spellings and dates susceptable to error.
In 1864 America was in its third year of a bloody civil war. Merritt was in his junior year of a "classical education" at Beloit College located in Beloit, WI. However, when President of the United States Abraham Lincoln called for additional soldiers to serve 100 days, nearly all the students in the college, including Merritt, enlisted.
Merritt was elected captain of Company "B" of the regimental organization that was mustered into Federal service as the 40th Wisconsin Infantry and ordered to duty in Memphis TN. Having honorably served his term of enlistment, Salmon returned to Beloit and graduated in 1865.
Out of college, Merritt's first inclination was to study theology. In this vein, in the fall of 1865 he entered the Union Theological Seminary in New York, NY.
In 1866 being "unable" To continue his theological studies, Merritt returned home to Wisconsin. He then taught at the Allen's Grove Academy for one year.
1867 saw Salmon take charge of the Oak Park High School in Illinois. At the end of one year, on account of a throat disease, upon the advice of physicians he abandoned teaching and turned to studying law, a pursuit which had earlier given some attention. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1868 and was subsequently also able to practice law in Wisconsin.
On 8/17 or 19/1867 in Xenia Greene County, OH Merritt married. His bride was Helen M. Castle. Helen had been born in the state of New York during the year 1842.
In 1910 Helen told the U.S. Census that during their years together she and Merritt had produced six children. They were: Eugene Castle Allen (b. 9/26/1868 IL), Philip Allen (b. ca. 1881), Helen Louise "Lulu" Allen (b. 12/13/1871 IL), Pliny L. Allen (b.11/27/1873), George Merritt Allen (b. ca. 1876) and William Patterson Allen (b. 11/13/1877 WA). All but one were living in at the dawn of the twentieth century's second decade.
Dropping back, in 1869 Merritt returned to Beloit and entered into a legal practice with his brother - in - law DeWitt Castle. The firm lasted for two years.
1871 saw Merritt move his family from Beloit, WI to Highland Park, IL. There, he practiced in the courts of Chicago as part of the Seelye & Allen law firm.
During 1873 an eye affliction from which he had suffered several years prompted Merritt to abandon the practice of Law. Returning to Wisconsin he took charge of his ailing father's farm.
September, 1875 found Merritt removed to Lawrence Kansas. Again practicing law, in 1876 he was elected county attorney for that state's Douglas County.
By 1900 Merritt and family had departed Kansas. They were then residing in Orting Pierce County, WA. There, Merritt was Commandant of the Washington Soldiers Home. For her part, Helen was matron of the facility.
As of 1910 Merritt and Helen had moved northward from Orting to Seattle King County, WA. In Seattle Merritt became bailiff at the U.S. Court House.
“Captain” Salmon Merritt Allen died in Seattle King County, WA on 8/29/1919. Details of his passing are not available. Burial was/is in Seattle's Lake View Cemetery located on the north end of that city's Capitol Hill.
On 6/30/1891 Merritt had applied for, and been granted a U.S. Government disability pension based on his days of Civil War soldiering. Although we know a stipend was granted, without accessing his pension records details of his monthly receipts remain unknown.
Almost immediately following her husband's death Helen petitioned the U.S. Government to continue receiving at least a portion of her late husband's dividends. Again, that request was granted, but without her pension files details of her stipend are not known.
After Merritt's passing Helen remained in Seattle. She died there on 7/6/1926. She was/is buried in Lakeview Cemetery with Merritt.
* Much of the information presented below was drawn from the Lawrence Kansas section of The United States Biographical Dictionary (Lawrence Kansas Section) pgs. 213 - 214.
** Interestingly, the U.S. Census for 1850 found Sidney and family farming in Bradford Rock County, WI. A decade later, in 1860, they were turning the soil in Darien Walworth County, WI
Buried at Lake View Cemetery Seattle
©2022 Civil War Veterans Buried In Washington State • All Rights Reserved.