1864: Hibbard Houston Shedd to Abigail (Houston) Shedd

Hibbard H. Shedd
Hibbard Houston Shedd in later years

“Born and raised in Iowa, Hibbard Houston Shedd’s birth occurred in the small town of Denmark on January 27, 1847, being the son of Dr. George and Abigail Shedd. [Denmark was situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River, 17 miles from Burlington.] Young Hibbard would graduate from the Denmark Academy and enlisted for service in the Civil War, joining the 45th Iowa Volunteer Infantry [Co. F, as a corporal]. During his service Shedd saw duty in both Tennessee and Mississippi [but participated in no great battles] and [after 100 days service, he] returned home to Iowa. He would continue to reside here until 1870, whereafter he removed to Nebraska, settling in the town of Ashland.

Shortly after his resettlement Shedd began a lengthy connection in the mercantile and religious life of Ashland, becoming a church trustee, organist and Sunday School teacher. He married on February 18, 1874 to Cincinnati, Ohio native Katherine Leigh Graves (1854-1936) and would become the father to five children: Harry Graves (1875-1932), George Clifford (1877-1937), Ralph Wayne (1879-1882), Mary (died in infancy in 1883) and Edith (1884-1925). Of these children, George Clifford Shedd is the most notable, as he would become a noted writer of fiction, authoring over a dozen works between 1910 and 1937.

Hibbard H. Shedd first became active in Nebraska politics in 1875, when he was selected as a delegate to the state constitutional convention being held that year in Lincoln. Shedd’s time at the convention was recalled by a Nebraska Historical Proceeding as having made an impact on his later service as a state legislator and Lieutenant Governor, noting that:

“Here he gained the thorough insight into the fabric of our commonwealth, himself helping to build it, and of the principles fundamental in good citizenship.”

Six years after the constitutional convention Hibbard Shedd was elected as one of Saunders County’s representatives to the Nebraska General Assembly in November 1880. His term extended from 1881-1883 and in 1882 won reelection to the house, and during the 17th session of the Nebraska Legislature would serve as Speaker of the House. occupying this post from 1883-1885. In the latter year Shedd took office as Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska, serving first under Republican Governor James Dawes. He would continue serving under Dawes’ successor, John Milton Thayer, with his term as Lieutenant Governor concluding in 1889.

Two years after leaving office Shedd was elected as the president of the Ashland school board, holding his seat until 1903. For the remainder of his life he continued involvement in different aspects of Ashland public life, and was affiliated with local businessman George Scott in the clothing firm of G. Scott and Co. Shedd died at age 58 on October 6, 1905 in Ashland and was survived by his wife Katherine. She would outlive her husband by over thirty years, and following her passing in 1936 was interred alongside Hibbard at the Ashland Cemetery.” [Source: Andy Osterdahl, The Strangest Names in American Political History, posted 21 September 2014]

1864 Letter
1864 Letter

Addressed to Mrs. Dr. George Shedd, Denmark, Lee County, Iowa

Fort Hendricks [Tennessee]
July 27th 1864

Dear Mother,

I have just received a letter from father dated the 21st.

I supposed that before this time we would have been at some other place but I think from the report that we are to stay in this place. I understood yesterday that “Smith’s Command” has been ordered in the direction of Holly Springs which I think is about twenty miles south from here. The time will pass away very fast of we stay here where we can run around the country and forage if the rebs don’t get us which I don’t think they can. Yesterday a lot of our men were out & found a large amount of clothing concealed in the bushes. Some of the boys found the cartridge box and equipments of a negro soldier who was taken and murdered by the guerrillas about a month ago. After looking round a little, they found the place where he had been buried with one arm sticking out.

We have captured so many horses and mules that a mounted foraging party goes out from camp every day. The negros come in very fast and there are so many that we don’t know anything what to do with them except to send them to Memphis.

Our regiment has lost very few men — have been a lucky regiment. Those two killed on the train were the first we lost. ¹ Soon after, a man from Co. B died at Memphis in the hospital at camp. ² The next one lost was from Co. K. He was drowned about a week ago. ³ A man died in camp from Co. H a few days ago. † And a day or two ago we heard of the deaths of one of our company who was at Memphis. He was an old man and has a son in our company. ‡

Everything goes on about as usual. I hear that the lines have been closed above Memphis against everything but military goods. Our sutler could not get his goods out yesterday and I was afraid it would continue so I went over and bought a bunch of envelopes — paid forty cents for it.

I don’t always remember to answer all your questions but do so when I can think of them.

I think I have got well again. Hope I can get along without more trouble. Shan’t worry.

Give my love to all. Your affectionate son, — H. H. Shedd

¹ One of the soldiers was Robert Long, age 24 of New London, Iowa, who enlisted as Fourth Sergeant in Co. G. He was accidentally killed by falling from a train near Germantown, Tennessee, on 26 June 1864. I could not find a record of a second soldier who was killed in the same incident.

² Henry Harris, age 27 from Washington County, Iowa, died of disease on 10 July 1864 at Memphis.

³ McKinza Garrison, age 18 of Van Buren County, Iowa, drowned on 19 July 1864 in Wolf River, Moscow, Tennessee. He is buried in the Mississippi National Cemetery at Memphis. Section 1, grave 74. 

† James Carney, age 18, of Rome, Iowa, died of disease on 24 July 1864 at Moscow, Tennessee. He is buried in the Mississippi River National Cemetery at Memphis. Section 1, grave 73.

‡ George W. C. Miller, age 47, of Dodgeville, Iowa, died of disease on 18 July 1864 at Memphis. He served in Co. F with his son, James B. Miller, age 18.


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