Page 814-816, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Thomas J. Powell, a Butler county pioneer, who was one of the first to respond to president Lincoln's call for volunteers and for four and a half years served his country faithfully and well, is now living retired. Mr. Powell was born near Berlin, Worcester county, Maryland, within three or four miles of the coast, April 17, 1843. His parents were James R. and Matilda (Folks) Powell, the former of English and the latter of Irish descent. They were the parents of nine children. In 1849 the Powell family left their native State and went to Ohio and in 1852 drove across the country from there to Illinois, settling in Tazewell county.

Here Thomas J. Powell lived the peaceful life of the average pioneer boy until the Civil war broke out and President Lincoln called for volunteers to defend the Union. He enlisted July 30, 1861, in Company B, Forty-seventh regiment, Illinois infantry and was mustered into the United States service at Camp Lyons, Peoria, Ill. He was one of the first to reach Benton Barracks, St. Louis, and from there went to Otter-


ville, Mo., and then, with his command, marched back to St. Louis and from there went to Cairo, Ill., then to Point Pleasant, opposite Island No. 10. From Island No. 10, his regiment was sent to Fort Pillow and from there to Pittsburg Landing. He then participated in the battle of Corinth and that fall took part in Grant's Oxford campaign, and later to Memphis, and then took part in the Vicksburg campaign. He was at the capture of Jackson, Miss., and then joined Grant's army at Vicksburg, in the meantime doing considerable scouting. His regiment was stationed at Young's Point, within ten miles of Vicksburg for a time, during which time the ranks of the Forty-seventh were badly depleted from sickness. In fact, Mr. Powell was one of the only three men in the regiment who were fit for duty. After the fall of Vicksburg, they were in camp on the Big Black River in Mississippi for a time and then went to New Orleans, later taking part in the capture of Mobile, this regiment capturing one of the forts on Mobile Bay at night. From Mobile they went to Montgomery, Ala., and then with the thirteenth corps went to help out Banks on the Red River expedition. They did considerable garrison duty after Lee surrendered. Mr. Powell was accidentally injured while in the service by being struck in the eye by a bayonet. In July, 1864, after enlisting as a veteran volunteer, he was promoted to sergeant of his company, and in the fall of 1864 was commissioned second lieutenant and in the spring of 1865, was promoted to a first lieutenant. He was discharged February 10, 1866, with a highly commendable military record, after having served four and a half years.

After the war he returned to his home in Illinois and after taking a course in business college, engaged in farming. He was married in 1869, to Miss Elizabeth Hart, a native of Illinois. Her parents immigrated to America from Ireland in the early fifties, and the father died soon after coming to this country. In the fall of 1869, after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Powell came to Butler county and located on the banks of the Whitewater in Plum Grove township. They drove from Illinois to Butler county with a team and prairie schooner. After coming here Mr. Powell filed on a quarter section in section 12, range 3, township 24, and proceeded to build his cabin and make his home in the new country. His start was slow. The first few years he met with the various obstacles common to the lot of most of the pioneers of Butler county, but after a time prosperity dawned and Mr. Powell has become one of the successful and well to do men of Butler county. In addition to the 160 acres which he homesteaded, he owns considerable city property in Whitewater.

To Mr. and Mrs. Powell have been born the following children: Julia F., born March 25, 1870, died October 24, 1873; George C., born October 16, 1871, died October 26, 1871; Lucy L., born May 7, 1873, married Joseph Wallace and lives in Arkansas; Lewis C., born May 12, 1876, lives in Butler county; Callie, born June 7, 1878, married Engene LaFever, Fort Worth, Tex.; Caroline J., born October 6, 1880, married


J. Baman of Caldwell, Kans.; Royal O., born November 14, 1882, lives in San Antonio, Tex.; Musie A., born July 2, 1888, lives in Los Angeles, Cal., and Bessie H., born April 29, 1890. The wife and mother died June 21, 1903, and thus one of the noble pioneer women of Butler county passed to the great beyond.

Mr. Powell is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic and is a progressive Republican. He is one of the brave pioneers of the plains and defenders of the Union who will be remembered as long as gratitude remains an element of American patriotism and civilization.

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