Genealogical and Family History
STATE OF MAINE
Compiled under the editorial supervision of George Thomas Little, A. M., Litt. D.
LEWIS HISTORICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY
[Please see Index page for full citation.]
[Transcribed by Coralynn Brown]
[Many families included in these genealogical records had their beginnings in Massachusetts.]
The Merriams are an ancient house and an honorable house, and this applies to the American branches of the family as well as to the pre-American. It is recorded that as early as A.D. 1295-96 one Laurence de Maryham paid taxes to Edward I, at Isenhurst, in Sussex. Originally the surname Merriam was variously written Meryham, Merryham, Meriham and Merriam. Ham, in old English, stood for house, or home, hence the name in its literal signification is merry house, happy house. It is somewhat remarkable, however, that while the Merriams are a fairly numerous family on this side of the Atlantic, the name has become virtually extinct in the mother country. (Pope's "Merriam Genealogy.")
William Merriam, immediate ancestor of the immigrant, was living in Kent, England, during the early years of the sixteenth century, and was a clothier, a marker and vendor of cloths, a business which required more than an ordinary degree of intelligence on the part of the proprietor, and one which properly carried on yielded profitable returns. He did not come to America. The baptismal name of his wife was Sara, but her family name does not appear.
Their children were:
Susan, Margaret, Joseph, George, Joane, Sara, Robert, and one other, a daughter who became the wife of Thomas Howe.
The will of William Merriam of Hadlow, Kent, was admitted to probate Nov. 27, 1635.
(I) Joseph Merriam, immigrant ancestor, son of William and Sara Merriam, and the eldest of their sons, as mentioned in his father's will, was born probably in Kent, England, about the year 1600. Like his father, he was a clothier merchant, and there is reason for the belief that he was possessed of considerable means when he sailed for this country, in his own ship, "Castle of London," bringing with him a large number of emigrants. He was settled in Concord, Mass. about 1638, and soon afterward was admitted to church communion there and was made freeman.
He married, in England, about 1623, Sara, daughter of John and Frances (Jeffrie) Goldstone, of Kent; all their children except the youngest were born in England.
William, Sarah, Joseph, Thomas, Elizabeth, Hannah and John, the latter of whom is supposed to have been born soon after the death of his father.
(II) Joseph (2), son of Joseph (1) and Sara (Goldstone) Merriam, was born in England about 1629, and came to New England in 1638 with his father. He lived first in Concord, and afterward in that part of Cambridge which was called The Farms, and still later was set off for the parish and subsequent town of Lexington. He was made freeman and admitted to church communion May 22, 1650. He became possessed of a good estate and, like his father, died in early middle age.
He married, in Concord, July 12, 1653, Sarah, daughter of Deacon Gregory Stone. He died April 20, 1677, and his gravestone is the oldest one now standing in the ancient Hill burying ground in Concord. His widow died April 5, 1704.
1. Sarah, born Aug. 2, 1654.
2. Lydia, b. Aug. 3, 1656.
3. Joseph, b. May 25, 1658.
4. Elizabeth, b. May 20, 1660.
5. John, b. Aug. 30, 1662.
6. Mary, b. June 14, 1664.
7. Robert, b. Feb. 17, 1667.
8. Ruth, b. 1670.
9. Thomas, b. 1672.
(III) Deacon John, son of Joseph (2) and Sarah (Stone) Merriam, was born in Concord, Mass. Aug. 30, 1662, and died May 21, 1727. He removed to Lexington, and was one of the original members of the church there in 1676, its deacon, and frequently its representative in ecclesiastical councils. He fulfilled various other town offices, such as assessor and selectman, and became possessed of a good estate in lands.
He married Nov. 14, 1688, Mary Wheeler, who survied him and died Dec. 27, 1745.
1. Mary, born Jan. 6, 1689.
2. A daughter, supposed to have been named Sarah.
4. John, born July 26, 1696.
5. Ruth, baptized Nov. 6, 1698.
6. Benjamin, born Jan. 6, 1700.
7. Jonas, b. Feb. 21, 1702-03.
8. Ebenezer, b. March 2, 1705-06.
9. Joshua, b. Feb. 21, 1707-08.
10. William, b. Sept. 24, 1712.
11. Amos, b. July 25, 1715.
(IV) Ebenezer, son of Deacon John and Mary (Wheeler) Merriam, was born in Lexington, Mass. March 2, 1705-06, and died in Oxford, Mass. Aug. 20, 1761. He was a farmer, and lived in Lexington until about 1729, when he removed to Oxford.
He married (first) Esther Gleason, b. in Framingham, Mass. April 6, 1711, died Oxford Dec. 8, 1740, daughter of Thomas and Mary (Mellen) Gleason. He married (second) Sept. 17, 1747, Elizabeth Locke, who died May 1, 1797, daughter of Ebenezer and Mary (Merriam) Locke.
Children of 1st wife:
1. Ebenezer, born March 28, 1734.
2. Mary, b. Sept. 13, 1735, died Oct. 30, 1749.
3. William, b. June 16, 1737, died 1738.
4. Esther, b. April 11, 1739; married Dr. Isaac Burnet.
Children of 2d wife:
5. Elizabeth, b. June 1, 1748, died June 21, 1790.
6. Jotham, b. Aug. 15, 1749.
7. Phebe, b. Jan. 11, 1851.
8. Jonathan, b. March 22, 1753, died young.
9. Ephraim, b. July 8, 1755.
10. Sarah, b. Feb. 3, 1760.
(V) Ebenezer (2), eldest son of Ebenezer (1) and Esther (Gleason) Merriam, was born in Oxford, Mass., Feb. 28, 1734, and died July 16, 1795. He was a brickmaker and lived on his father's homestead.
He married (intentions) April, 1752, Phebe Locke, sister to his father's second wife. She died Oct. 27, 1802.
1. Mary, b. Oct. 5, 1753.
2. Jesse, b. June 4, 1755.
3. Phebe, b. Sept. 11, 1759.
4. Rachel, b. March 7, 1762.
5. Ebenezer, b. Dec. 4, 1764.
6. Esther, b. May 10, 1767.
7. William, b. April 7, 1769.
8. Rhoda, b. May 19, 1771.
9. Joel, b. April 9, 1775.
10. Abigail, b. April 1, 1777.
(VI) William, son of Ebenezer (2) and Phebe (Locke) Merriam, was born in Oxford, Mass. April 7, 1769, and died in New Salem, Mas. about 1816. He married (first) Aug. 27, 1795, Ruth Eddy, of Ward; (second) about 1801, Lucy Hatstadt, born in New Salem Jan. 7, 1783, died Jan. 9, 1880, daughter of George Z. and Beulah (Martin) Hatstadt. She survived her husband and married (second) Joshua Lincoln Merriam. Her father came to America during the revolution, and was a soldier in the British army.
Child of 1st wife:
1. William Eddy, b. Dec. 15, 1796.
Children of 2d wife:
2. Norman, b. Oct. 2, 1801.
3. Cyrus, b. July 17, 1803.
4. Lewis, b. June 4, 1805.
5. Lucy, b. June 21, 1807.
6. Ermina, b. Oct. 4, 1809.
7. Lucinda E., b. June 30, 1813.
8. Leonard Brooks, b. Nov. 19, 1816.
9. Asa L.
(VII) Lewis, son of William and Lucy (Hatstadt) Merriam, was born in New Salem, Mass. June 4, 1805, and died in Spokane, Washington, May 27, 1889. He received his early education at New Salem Academy, and while a hardly more than a boy was employed as driver of the mail and passenger stage between Boston and Springfield, Mass. Later on he learned the trade of watchmaking and some time previous to 1828 established himself in business at Athol, Mass. About 1833 he left Massachusetts and went to Maine, first to Bangor, and from thence soon afterward to Houlton, a garrisoned military post, and there established his home on a farm adjoining the village, and from which his children were able to attend the village public schools and academy during the winter months. Mr. Merriam is said to have been a zealous advocate of manual training for children, and to him no home was complete without its workshop and tools of many trades. To this is mainly due the fact that all of his sons had become practical mechanics and machinists before attaining their majority in years.
In politics Mr. Merriam originally was a staunch Whig and afterward a strong Republican, "and such statesmen as Clay, Greeley and Lincoln were his ideals of American citizenship." Mr. Merriam continued to live in Houlton until after the death of his wife and then went to Spokane, Washington, and afterward made his home with his children who had preceded him there.
He married in Houlton, Feb. 22, 1834, Mary Ann Foss, b. in Oromocto, New Brunswick March 29, 1813, died in Houlton May 3, 1880.
Children, b. in Houlton:
1. Leonard Brooks, b. Aug. 3, 1835; was a soldier in the First Maine Cavalry in the civil war, removed to Spokane, Washington; married Dec. 15, 1858, Susan S., daughter of John H. and Dorcas B. (Williams) Jones.
2. Henry Clay, b. Nov. 13, 1837.
3. Augusta Josephine, b. Dec. 2, 1838; married Oct. 11, 1867, Major William L. Boyd, b. May 3, 1834; major of First Maine Volunteer Cavalry.
4. Lucy Hatstadt, b. Oct. 23, 1840, died Haynesville, Maine, Nov. 20, 1872; married Sept. 28, 1864, Andrew H. Foss, of Oromocto, New Brunswick.
5. Captain Lewis M., b. April 4, 1843; see below.
6. Norman James, b. Feb. 25, 1844, died in Spokane, Washington, May 23, 1897; wheelwright and machinist; had charge of U. S. sawmills at Fort Spokane, 1882-94, and of similar establishments at Sherman, Idaho, until a short time before his death; married at Haynesville, Maine, Sept. 17, 1870, Christina Ellis, b. Feb. 25, 1847, daughter of William Ellis.
7. William Harrison, b. Aug. 10, 1846; lived many years in Houlton and removed thence to Minneapolis, Minnesota; married Jan. 16, 1877, Lucy Corrine Ellis, b. in New Salem, 1854, died Dec. 15, 1877, daughter of Edward H. and Harriet E. (Merriam) Ellis.
8. Cyrus Knapp, b. Jan. 29, 1848; graduated from Waterville College (Colby) A.B. 1875; A.M. 1882; M.D., New York University Medical School, 1879; assistant surgeon, U.S.A., 1880-87, and assigned to Department of the Columbia; stationed at Camp Chelan, White Bluffs, Fort Colville, Fort Couer d'Alene, Idaho (now Fort Sherman), and at Fort Spokane, Washington; was complimented by his superior officers for his skill and efficiency both in ordinary cases and many others of more citical nature. He shared in the development of the city of Spokane, where he has lived since 1877, and is engaged in the general practice of medicine and surgery, a member of the hospital staff, and a member of the American Medical Association.
He married, June 6, 1905, Miriam Hooper, b. Sept. 13, 1869, dau. of General Thomas R. and Elizabeth (Tappan) Tannatt.
9. Rufus, b. Oct. 7, 1851; financial agent, and lives in Spokane; married (first) 1877, S. Jennie Keyes, and (second) June 2, 1899, at Spokane, Bertha Mary Haskell, b. Dec. 3, 1876, dau. of William T. and Lena (Kirby) Haskell.
10. Charles, b. Sept. 2, 1853, died Oct. 14, 1856.
(VIII) Major General Henry Clay Merriam, son of Lewis and Mary Ann (Foss) Merriam, was born in Houlton, Maine, Nov. 13, 1837. He graduated from Waterville College (Colby) with the degree of A.B. in 1864, was elected member of Phi Beta Kappa, and received his master's degree in course, and later the degree of LL.D. He enlistged for service during the second year of the war, and in August, 1862, was commissioned captain of the Twentieth Maine Volunteer Infantry. His first colonel was Adelbert Ames, a graduate of West Point, and who was succeeded by Joshua L. Chamberlain. His brigade commander was General Daniel Butterfield, and all of these famous commanders have expressed their high estimate of General Merriam. He was brevetted for gallantry at the battle of Antietam, where he made an exceptionally good record, and volunteered without promotion to organize and command a company of the U.S. Colored Volunteer Infantry, at whose head he distinguished himself for gallantry, and won his promotion to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of the Seventy-third U. S. Colored Volunteer Infantry, which command he led in a desperate assault in the capture of Fort Blakely, Alabama, April 9, 1865. Says a contemporary account:
Transferred to New Orleans in the spring of 1863, he participated in the siege and capture of Port Hudson and other engagements, ending with the siege and capture of Mobile, Alabama. During his volunteer service he won three brevets and the congressional medal of honor for "conspicuous gallantry in battle," the medal of honor for "leading his regiment over the enemy's works in advance of orders and at his own request." General Pyle, his brigade commander, and General Hawkins, his division commander, expressed their appreciation of his services in letters from which the following extracts are made:
General Pike said: "Colonel Merriam commanded the Seventy-third United States Colored Infantry under me in the Mobile campaign, and siege and capture of Fort Blakely, Alabama, April 9, 1865. The regiment was one of the best in service, took a conspicuous part in the siege and capture of the fort - first breaking the enemy's lines and crossing their works - the colonel requesting the permission to advance before the order was given. For personal merit and strict attention to duty he had not a superior in my command."
General Hawlins' letter was of the same general import, with this brief addition: "In the assault of Fort Blakely his regiment bore a conspicuous part, and was the first of all the regiments, white or black, to enter the enemy's works. Colonel Merriam is a gentleman of good moral character, of excellent education, well read in the military profession, and judicious and zealous in all things pertaining to his duties. His regiment was always in good condition, and he has natural talents for a good soldier."
As an officer of the regular army, General Merriam's record was no less praiseworthy. In 1866 he was commissioned major of the Thirty-eighth Infantry, and marched with a battalion from Kansas to southwestern New Mexico in the spring of 1867 and took command at Fort Bayard, in the midst of Apache hostilities, and remained there for more than two years. In the early part of 1869 it was proposed to transfer General Merriam to another post, but the suggestion was met with a strong request on the part of the citizens of Grant county, New Mexico, that he be permitted to remain there. In answer to this request, General Getty wrote that "it is not my intention to relieve Bvt. Col. Merriam from the command of Fort Bayard, nor to make a recommendation to that effect. I regard Colonel Merriam as one of the mose efficient post commanders in the district." But notwithstanding the petition referred to, Colonel Merriam was transferred to Texas in Sept., 1869, and served along the turbulent Mexican border against both Indian and Mexican marauders. While in command at Fort McIntosh in 1876, he rendered most efficient service in the protection of rights of American citizens in Mexico, who were constantly being subjected to the lawless demands of Mexican plunderers; and as an appreciation of his services in the department of Texas the civil officers and citizens of that state presented Colonel Merriam with a beautiful sword, and also presented an earnest memorial to the president of the U.S., asking that he be advanced to the rank and commission of brigadier general of the Amerian army.
This memorial recites:
The record of Colonel Merriam while in command of Fort McIntosh, here at Laredo, during the year 1876, fully sustains the highest commendation that could be given to any one of his profession. During this time one of the periodical revolutions formerly so common in Mexico, was in progress, and the town of Nuevo Loredo, opposite this place, was taken and retaken alternately by the contending forces, each party upon taking the town levying a prestimo, or fine, upon its inhabitants who had property wherewith to pay. On the 9th of April, 1876, Mr. Michael Dimond, an American merchant in Nuevo Laredo, was imprisioned by the Mexican Federal forces, and condemned to be shot at dawn of the following day, unless he paid a fine of one hundred dollars. Mr. Dimond was not charged with any offense, and the demand was simply for so much money. He refused to pay, and appealing to the authorities on this side of the river for protection, Colonel Merriam crossed the Rio Grande and demanded immediately and unconditional release of Mr. Dimond, and warned the Mexican commander that the lives and property of American citizens there were not subject to his free disposal, and that then entire force at Ft. McIntosh would be held in readiness to protect ehm. Mr. Dimond was at once released.
The following day the Mexicans fired across the river upon citizens here in Laredo, and Colonel Merriam silenced them with shot and shell. On the 19th of April, Colonel Merriam prevented the collection of another fine levied upon the American residents of Nuevo Laredo by the revolutionists, who had taken the place in the meantime, and in July of the same year Colonel Merriam extended the same protection against similar demands by the Mexican Federals who were again in possession of Nuevo Laredo, to prevent the robbery and murder of the Americans there, and two weeks later he prevented the forced repayment of duties on the goods of American merchants as was demanded by the revolutionists.
These acts were done for the immediate protection of the lives, liberty and property of American citizens in a foreign country. In giving this protection, Colonel Merriam acted solely upon his own judgment and responsibility. He had no orders from higher authority, and had he waited for instrcutions the mischief would have been done. Colonel Merriam's conduct on the above occasions received the unconditional and complimentary approval of his superior officers and his government.
In 1877, on the outbreak of the Nez Perces war, Colonel Merriam, having been promoted to lieutenant-colonel Second Infancty, was sent to the Upper Columbia, taking part in the Nez Perce war of 1877, and Bannock and Piute wars of 1878, and as well other important Indian and administrative services in that department until 1885. This particular service was made the subject of commendation in letters written by Major General O.O.Howard, U.S.A., with recommendation for promotion, and by Senator Wilson and Senator Dawes, President Henry Villard, of the Northern Pacific Railroad, and by petitions of civil officers and prominent citizens of the new state of Washington.
General Howard wrote as follows:
New York, December 17, 1891.
To Adjutant-General, U.S.A.:
Sir: During the year of the Nez Perce War, 1877, the Second Infantry was transferred to my department - that of the Columbia - and participated in that campaign, and also in the Piute and Bannock War the next year. Col. H. C. Merriam was the lieutenant-colonel of the regiment.
After matters settled down he was for some time in command of the large post of Coaur d'Alene, now called Fort Sherman; in fact, doing the building of the greater part of that post. The appropriation was small, and therefore great economy was demanded, and skill, in providing fo us at least six companies. For administrative ability, diligence and success in that work, and in fact for all his work under my command, I have hertofore highly commended Colonel Merriam.
He was next put in charge of building the new post of Fort Spokane. Here again he manifested a similar energy and ability, and gave great satisfaction in his administration of the affairs of the post; and at that time it became necessary to look beyond the post itself. He, in fact, had charge of keeping the peace with several bands of Indians, including that of Chief Moses. The interest he took in this work, and his success have passed into the history of the Department of the Columbia.
Certainly I can join with other officers under whom Colonel Merriam has served in saying that he has a good record and high character, and indeed I would not recommend any junior to be promoted before him.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) O. O. Howard,
I heartily join General Howard in the above recommendation.
(Signed) H. L. Dawes,
As a military instructor and administrator he had certainly no superior in the army. The following letters are quoted in support of this claim:
Headquarter of the Army
Ogden Utah, June 13, 1895.
Colonel H. C. Merriam,
Seventh Infantry, Fort Logan, Colorado.
Colonel: The Lieutenant-General commanding the Army directs me to express to you his appreciation of the excellent condition of your command at the time of his recent visit to Fort Logan and of the great accuracy and promptness with which all the military exercises were performed. It was a great satisfaction to him to find a military command in so complete a state of efficiency.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
(Signed) J. P. Sanger,
Lieut-Col. Mil. Sec'ty.
St. Augustine, FLA., Jan. 13, 1897.
Colonel H. C. Merriam,
Seventh U.S. Infantry, Fort Logan, Colorado.
Dear Colonel: In reply to your letter of January 7th, I regret that I never had the opportunity of serving with you in the field or otherwise, which would have enabled me to speak more positively in respect to your qualifications for higher command. But I am glad to say that all the reports which came to me while I was in command of the Army were in corroboration of the opinion formed from my own observation and expressed to you in the letter I sent you from Ogden, Utah, June 13, 1895. I shall be glad if that letter or this can be of service to you.
Fortunately you are still comparatively young and the record you have made both for gallantry in war and for efficient service in time of peace, ought to insure your promotion in time.
I am, Dear Colonel, yours very truly,
(Signed) J. M. Schofield,
Washington, D. C., March 19, 1897.
To the Honorable the Secretary of War.
Sir: I also recommend Colonel Henry C. Merriam to be made Brigadier-General in place of General Brooke, promoted. Colonel Merriam had a distinguished record during the war as a captin, 20th Maine, August 29, 1862. Was made Lieutenant-Colonel U.S.C. Infanty, May 21, 1864, and Brevet Colonel, March 26, 1865. He has been Colonel in the Regular Army since July 10, 1885, and is a very accomplished officer and gentleman of high character, a good disciplinarian, and in every way qualified for the duties of a Department Commander. Colonel Merriam is the second senior Colonel in the Army.
Very respectively, your obedient servant,
Nelson A. Miles,
Promoted in 1885 to command the Seventh Infantry, Colonel Merriam was transferred in that year to the Department of the Platte, and in respect to his service in that department General Brooke, U.S.A., in a letter to the Secreatry of War, said:
"I desire to express to you my opinion of the fitness for promotion to that grade (bridadier general) of Colonel H. C. Merriam, Seventh Infantry. I have known Colonel Merriam for many years, and consider him one of the best equipped officers in the army and thoroughly well fitted for promotion to a higher grade. I would say further that I believe no abler officer could be selected."
In 1889 Colonel Merriam was transferred from the Department of the Platte to the Department of Missouri, and remained on that station until July, 1897, when he was promoted to brigadier-general, and assigned to command of the Department of the Columbia.
He organized and forwarded in midwinter most important relief expeditions to Central Alaska, where large numbers of mineral prospectors were reported to be starving. These expeditions included the features of exploring parties and they have been continued annually, gathering important and valuable information and locating a practicable route of communication on American territory from Prince Williams Sound to the Upper Yukon.
While prosecuting this important work, war was declared against Spain, and General Merriam made application for active field service on April 12, 1898, before mobilization began. Failing to secure field service, he was made major-general of volunteers, and his command was extended to include the entire Pacific coast and the Hawaiian Islands, then annexed, with headquarters at San Francisco. His duties and responsibilities included carrying on the difficult work inagurated in Alaska, and also the organization, equipment and forwarding of troops for General Merritt's command in the Philippines, a work without precedent in our history and involving the development of an ocean transport sytem of unequalled efficiency.
Relieved from duty on the Pacific and of his volunteer rank of major-general, in 1899 General Merriam continued to exercise a major-general's command - two geographical departments. His most conspicuous service was in his selection to command the troops during the labor riots in the Coeur d'Alene district of Idaho, within the territorial jurisdiction of another officer. His positive methods in dealing with this insurrection caused much agitation, but his course was sustained by the War Department and by a committee of Congress. It enabled the state authorities to give peace and prosperity to a region historically turbulent. For this service and for his services on the Pacific coast he received the personal commendation of President McKinley, who fully intended to promote him to the grade of major-general before his retirement. He gave official assurance to General Merriam to that effect, but this temporarily failed as a result of the assassination of the President. Having reached the age limit, General Merriam was retired in Nov., 1901, and his promotion to major-general was provided for in the following year by an act of Congress, as follows:
Mr. Dick, from the Committee on Military Affairs, submitted the following report to accompany H. R. 14,375:
The Committee on Military Affairs, to whom was referred the bill (H.R. 14,375) to authorize the President to appoint Brigadier-General H. C. Merriam to the grade of Major-General in the United States Army, on the retired list, report that the same back to the House with the recommendation that it pass with amendments as follows:
On investigation, the committee find that General Merriam entered the military service of the United States as captain of the Twenthieth Maine Volunteers in August, 1862, and having distinguished himself as "an able, conscientious, energetc and gallant officer," as certified by his regimental and brigade commanders, was transferred from the Army of the Potomac to the Department of the Gulf. Where as regimental commander he again won marked distinction for ability and great personal gallantry in the sieges and capture of Port Hudson and Mobile, as certified by his brigade and division commanders.
General W. A. Pike, commander brigade in the assault upon Fort Blakely, defences of Mobile, says of Colonel Merriam's regiment: "It was one of the best in the service, took a conspicuous part in the siege and capture of the fort, first breaking the enemy's lines and crossing their works; the colonel requsting permission to advance before the order was given."
General John P. Hawkins, division commander, of the same assault, says: "In the assault of Fort Blakely his regiment bore a conspicuous part, and was the first of all the regiments, white or black, to enter the enemy's works."
For his volunteer service hw was made a brevet lieutenant-colonel for gallantry at Antietam, brevet colonel for conspicuous gallantry in the assault of Fort Blakely, Alabama, and also awarded the Congressional medal of honor "for conspicious gallantry in the assault and capture of Fort Blakely, Alabama, voluntarily leading his regiment over the enemy's works in advance of orders, and at his own request."
Appointed major in the regular army, he won further distinction as commander in the Apache country, southern New Mexico, for which he was highly commended by Brevet Major-General G. W. Getty. Then followed a tour of eight years on the lower Rio Grande, in Texas. Of this service we quote as follows from an official letter to General Sherman by Major-General Ord, the department commander:
September 30, 1882.
General: During the revolutionary struggles of 1876 on the Rio Grande frontier, and when, on account of the delicate and important questions likely to arise with the people and authorities of the vicinity across the river, it became necessary to select an officer of discretion and energy to command the small garrison at the town of Laredo. I selected Major, now Lieutenant-Colonel, H. C. Merriam, Second Infantry, relieving the then commander.
By reference to my subsequent annual report, you will see that serious and threatening difficulties did arise at the town of Nuevo Laredo, on the Mexican side of the river, and that Major Merriam acted with energy and judgment, proving that I had not mistaken his fitness, for he proved equal to every emergency.
Should Congress authorize brevets for the display of ability and for energy under trying circumstances, I hope the claims of Lieutenant-Colonel Merriam will receive due consideration, for, after all, it is only a slight reward, and more than deserved in his case, for such services.
I am, General, with great respect, your obedient servant,
E. O. C. Ord,
General W. T. Sherman
Commanding U.S. Army, Washington, D. C.
(Through General R. C. Drum, Adjutant-General, U. S. Army)
Then followed eight years of arduous and msot efficient service on the northern frontiers of Washington and Idaho, including Indian campaigns and important administrative control of the various Indian tribes of that region, resulting in their collection upon reservations. For this service General Howard accorded high official commendation.
Following the foregoing he served for twelve years as colonel of the Seventh United States Infantry in the Departments of the Platte, the Missouri, and the Colorado, winning the highest official commendations of all his commanders, viz: Generals Brooke, Merritt, Wheaton, McCook, Miles and Schofield, all of whose reports have been examined by the committee.
In 1897 he was made a Brigadier-General, and successfully performed difficult and important service, inaugurating relief and exploring expeditions in Alaska. while commanding Department of the Columbia, until the outbreak of the Spanish war, in 1898, when he appealed in vain for active field service. He was made a major-general of volunteers, and assigned to command the entire Pacific coast, with headquarters in San Francisco. In this capacity the duty of organizing and forwarding the Philippine expedition came under his supervision and responsibility. For this work he won the official commendation of General Merritt, commander in the Philippines, and the personal commendation of President McKinley.
During the last three years of his active service he commanded the Department of the Colorado, and nearly all of that time the Department of the Missouri - fairly a Major-General's command.
Finally, the committee is assured that it was the intention of President McKinley to promote General Merriam to the grade of Major-General before his retirement through the expected voluntary retirement of another officer. Of this intention President McKinley officially assured General Merriam, as well as others, among whom are Senator Frye, General J. C. Bates, Secretary Root, General Corbin and General MacArthur - the latter only a few days before the assassination.
The failure of the promised promotion resulted from the fact that the expected voluntary retirement of another officer did not take place; hence there was no vacancy. For this, and for the high appreciation of General Merriam by the War Department and the President, attention is respectively invited to the following indorsement of the honable Secretary of War:
Washington, D. C.
December 16, 1902.
Respectfully returned to the chairman Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representataives, inviting attention to the preceding indorsement heron and accompanying inclosure therein referred to.
General Merriam was a fine officer, and the President would have been glad to promote him before his retirement if there had been a vacancy. I do not doubt that he would be glad to do so now if Congress would grant the necessary authority.
Elihu Root, Secretary of War."
In view of all the facts set forth, it is the unamimous recommendation of this committee that this bill should pass as an act of justice to a most able, gallant and meritorious office of long and distinguished service.
The following act passed by unanimous vote of both houses of Congress, Feb. 2, 1903:
An Act to authorize the President to appoint Brigadier-General H. C. Merriam to the grade of major-general in the United States Army and place him on the retired list.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that the President be, and he is hereby authorized to apooint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, Brigadier-General H. S. Merriam to the grade of major-general in the United States Army and place him on the retired list.
Approved, Feb. 5, 1903.
After retirement he lived for a time at Wayne, Pennsylvania, and then established a comfortable home near the city of Portland, Maine, with a winter residence in Washington.
General Merriam is the inventor and patentee of the Merriam Infantry Pack, to the perfection of which he devoted much study, time and experiment. The device has won most flattering success in this country and also in Europe, and won for him a gold medal award from the French Academy of Inventors. He also is the fortunate possessor of three elegant swords - one presented him by members of his first command, Company H, Twentieth Maine Volunteer Infantry; one by the American merchants of Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, as an appreciation of his services in the protection of their lives and property in 1876; and the third by the officers of the Seventh Regiment, on his promotion to the rank of brigadier-general in 1897, in recognition of his twelve years of service as commander of that famous body of fighters.
General Merriam is a member of the Loyal Legion, the Society of Foreign Wars, the Society of the Army of the Potomac, and the American Institute of Civics.
General Merriam married (first) Jan. 16, 1866, Lucy Jane, daughter of Eleazer and Jane (Clark) Getchell, of Waterville, Maine. She was drowned in a cloudburst April 24, 1870, on the Staked Plains of Texas, and with her also perished her only child. He married (second) in 1874, Una, daughter of John and Caroline Lucille (Lynch) MacPherson-Macneil, of Kingston, Jamaica. She was born Sept. 29, 1848.
1. Mamie Eugenie, b. at Fort Bayard, New Mexico, March, 1868, died with her mother April 24, 1970.
2. Carrie Augusta, born at Fort Brown, Texas, Aug. 2, 1875; married at Denver, Colorado April 5, 1899, George Bart Berger, and had Merriam Berger, b. Dec. 22, 1900; Margaret Berger, b. April 1, 1902; George Berger, b. Nov. 20 1905.
3. Captain Henry MacPherson, born at Houlton, Maine, Oct. 12, 1877; educated at Stanford University, California, at the U. S. School of Artillery, and the Submarine Mines; promoted captain U.S. Artillery Aug. 27, 1903; served in the Spanish, Philippine and China campaigns; married at Denver, Colorado Dec. 7, 1901, Alice Lishman.
4. Cyrus Lincoln, born at Vancouver, Washington, Dec. 16, 1879; graduated from Stanford Univ., 1903; now superintendent of a large sugar and India rubber plantation in southern Mexico.
5. Charles Bailey, born at Fort Spokane, Washington, Aug. 27, 1885; educated at University of Maine; now in the real estate business at Spokane, Washington.
6. Katherine Maude, born at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, April 29, 1888.
[this says: For ancestry see preceding sketch.]
Major Lewis Merriam, Jr., son of Lewis and Mary Ann (Foss) Merriam, and brother of General Henry C. Merriam, was born at the old Merriam homestead at Houlton, Aroostook county, Maine, April 4, 1843. He lived on the farm until 1853, and at the Merriam sawmill until 1862. He enlisted for civil war service as private Aug. 5, 1862, and was mustered into Company H, Twentieth Regiment Maine Volunteers, at Portland, and during the war period made a most brilliant record, serving in all the campaigns, battles and skirmishes of that regiment from the battle of Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862, to the battle of Wilderness, May 5, 1864, except the battle of Fredricksburg, when he was sick in Harwood Hospital, in Washington, D.C.
In the first charge of the Fifth Corps at the battle of the Wilderness, on May 5, 1864, he was captured by the enemy and taken to Andersonville prison, Georgia. This incident closed his career with that famous regiment whose name was immortalized when, under the command of the gallant Chamberlain, it brilliantly seized and successfully held, against a large superior force of the enemy, historic Little Round Top, the key to the whole position of the Federal army, at the battle of Gettysburg. As the fame of this regiment belongs to each and every member of its organization at that time, a part is due this soldier, who was a sergeant in Company H, the left centre company, in that sanguinary conflict. His clothes were cut or pierced by the enemy's bullets three times within about as many minutes, and the beloved Steele, gallant Lathrop, his bunkmate, and brave, loyal Buck - all sergeants of this company - recieved their death wounds and lay on the battlefield, a few feet from him, giving up their life blood on the altar of their country. His last shot was fired when the muzzle of his rifle wa almost against the breasts of the enemy, and when the command "Bayonets!" rang out along the line, he had no time to fix bayonet, but charged with clubbed rifle, as did many others of the command. This charge resulted in a complete victory and the capture of many prisoners, but at a fearful sacrifice, as nearly one-half of the command lay dead or disabled on the field.
His experiences as a prisoner were most harrowing. On arriving at Andersonville he was place in charge of one hundred fellow prisoners, for whom he drew rations in bulk and issued to them individually. He organized a company of the ten thousand prisoners for an effort to undermine the stockade and capture the prison guard and make their escape, but they were betrayed by some of their own men for an extra ration of cornmeal. He was a member of the police organized inside the stockade to break up a band of robbers and murderers among the prisoners, which resulted in the arrest of about twenty of the hardest cases in the prison. They were turned over to the prison authorities, tried for murder, and six were convicted and sentenced to be hanged. They were turned over to the police in the stockade, who erected a gallows and duly executed the sentence.
In October, 1864, he was one of the prisoners transferred to Florence prison, South Carolina, and while en route attempted an escape with several others by jumping off the cars at night, but the ever-watchful guards fired upon them and also jumped from the cars and recaptured them beforfe they could get away.
At Florence prison he was again place in charge of one hundred prisoners, for whom he received and issued rations. In November he escaped from Florence by passing out, as one of the paroled sergeants who were handling the rations outside the stockade, his meal sack, which he threw carelessly over his shoulder, being a successful means of passing the guard at the main gate during the house of issuing rations. The first night he travelled in creeks and swamps in mud and water, sometimes to his waist, to break his trail and prevent being followed by the hounds, but after nearly three weeks of terrible suffering from hunger and cold, hiding in swamps by day and travelling at night, he was recaptured on Williow Creek bridge, near the Pedee river, South Carolina, while trying to make his way to the coast. He was taken back to Florence and was very sick with scurvy and swamp fever during nearly the entire months of December and January, when many hundreds of the prisoners died from the same disease, his own bunkmate, Corporal Calvin E. Bates, of Company E, Twentieth Maine, losing both feet, which decayed so that they were cut off at the ankles with a pair of scissors. A statement and illustration of this horrible incident appeared in Harper's Weekly, of about April, 1865.
In February, while being transferred to Salisbury prison, North Carolina, he escaped again, and with his companion, Sergeant H. A. Willis, of the First Maine Cavalry, succeeded in reaching the Union lines at Wilmington, North Carolina, Feb. 22, 1865, in a starving condition. They had been hiding in the swamps near the Confederate army, in midwinter, with very little clothing and absolutely without food for five days. They could hear the guns down the river at Fort Fisher, and believed their friends were coming nearer each day. The night before Wilmington was captured they crept through the Confederate lines to the city, but encountered a squad of the enemy in the suburbs, who fired upon them when they ran away, but they escaped in the darkness, and after a long detour, entered the city again on the north side. Here they questioned an old colored woman and told her they were Yankee prisoners and wanted a place to hide. She would not believe them, and said they were only rebs, trying to get her into trouble, but they might hide under the old buildings if they wanted to. In about two hours she came out again very gently and whispered: "You dar yit? Well, I guess you's Yanks sho nuff. De Yanks am comin' ober de riber, and de rebs all goin' away, takin' all de men, white and black, with them, but my ole man is hid in the swamp, and dey cain't git him. You's be mighty still and I take youse to a better place." She led them into an old storehouse with gable right up to the street, that was full of the retreating Confederate army. She put a ladder up to a trap door to the attic, and they climbed up and she took away the ladder. They found themselves in the attic of an old building with the roof half gone, and plenty of stars shining through, and cracks at the gable so they could plainly see and hear the Confederate troops as they were leaving the city. They were both suffering from cold, and had very often to stuff their mouths with a piece of an old quilt to keep from coughing loud enough to be heard. Early the next morning there was a commotion in the street below them, a few shots were fired, and in ten minutes they saw a squadron of cavalry coming up the street with the Stars and Stripes. Just how they got down from that old attic and out into the street, where they were furnished with hard tack and bacon by the cavalry boys, they have never been able to tell, but they had a confused recollection of the old colored woman singing: "Glory! Glory! Bless de Lord! Dey's come!" etc., and a broken ladder and a light fall. They were soon comfortabley located in a tobacco storehouse with a number of other escaped prisoners who had been hidden away in Wilmington for months by friends. There were a great many loyal people in Wilmington, and the escaped prisoenrs were soon furnished with good warm clothing and blanketgs, and the best to eat the city afforded.
After about ten days recuperating they were place on board a transport and sent to Annapolis, Maryland, where they received furlough for thirty days to visit their homes in Maine.
At home both found commissions awaiting them - Willis as first lieutenant, First Maine Cavalry, and Merriam as second lieutenant, Sixty-seventh U. S. Colored Troops. Merriam reported from furlough at the War Department in Washington, the day after the assassination of President Lincoln, and viewed his remains in the east room at tht White House. He received orders to join his regiment, then serving in the Department of the Gulf, via New York City and transport to New Orleans. While waiting in New York for steamer he was selected as one of the veterans to carry the banners and flags of the Union League Club at the funeral of President Lincoln in that city. He joined the Sixty-seventh U.S. Colored Troops at Port Hudson, Louisiana, May 29, 1865, but the regiment having been depleted in numbers since the date of his appointment, no company was of sufficient strength to allow the third officer to muster. He then applied to the War Department for authority to muster back to date of appointment, but instead of granting this request he was commissioned as of the same grade in the Sixty-third U.S.C.T., and was thereby deprived of the benefits of his first commission because he was a prisoner and unable to report for muster as required by regulations. He joined the Sixty-first U.S.C.T. at Minden, Louisiana, and was mustered to date May 29, 1865, and subsequently by authority of the War Dept. to date March 21, 1865. He was honorably mustered out at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dec. 30, 1865, and appointed second lieutenant Sixty-fifth U.S.C.T., Feb. 20, 1866, and promoted to first lieutenant June 1, 1866.
Although the youngest officer of his regiment, he was selected by General Edgerton, who commanded at Baton Rouge, to command an expedition composed of a detachment of his regiment, to proceed by land to Bayou Sara, Louisiana, and break up a band of outlaws and murderers who had murdered Agent Leak, of the Freedmen's Bureau, at that place, and were terrorizing all that part of the state. The expedition of about ten days was very successful, and on returning to Baton Rouge, Lieut. Merriam was highly conplimented by General Edgerton and congratulated by his brother officers. He was honorably mustered out of the volunteer service with his regiment at St. Louis, Missouri, Jan. 8, 1867.
He then returned to hs home in Maine, where he engaged in the lumber and sawmill business with his brother Leonard until 1871. He was employed as quartermaster's clerk at Forts McKavitt and Duncan, Texas, from 1871 to Aug., 1872. He was appointed second lieutenant Fourth U.S. Infanty, July 27, 1872, and joined that regiment at Frankfort, Kentucky, and assigned to Company K; was with his company at Frankfort, Kentucky, and at Little Rock, Arkansas, till March, 1873; on leave of absence in Maine till July, 1873; with company at Fort Omaha, Nebrasks, and Fort Bridger, Wyoming, till Jan., 1875; on grasshopper duty in Nebraska, distributing clothing and food to the people of Seward, York and Hamilton counties until May, 1875; with company at Fort Bridger until March 20, 1876. He was granted eight months leave of absence, and during this period occurred his marriage.
It was at this time and while on this leave of absence that he applied to Congress for an act to enable im to muster on his commission as second lieutenant in the Sixty-seventh U.S. Colored Troops, which was issued to him while a prisoner, and was presented to the Congress by the following letter:
Washington, D. C., April 17, 1876.
Hon. H. B. Benning,
Chairman Committee on Military Affairs,
House of Representatives.
Dear General: Permit me to introduce Lieutenant Merriam, Fourth Infantry. He is trying to get his record corrected. It is just, but there are legal obstacles, and the case requires legislation.
He is an excellent officer, and will, I hope, succeed.
Very respectively yours, your obedient servant,
(Signed) Wm. D. Whipple,
A.A.G. and A.D.C.
Washington, D.C., April 28, 1876.
Hon. H. B. Banning,
Chairman Committee on Military Affairs,
House of Representatives.
Sir: Lieutenant Merriam was a sergeant in the Twentieth Maine Volunteers, which I commanded in the campaigns of 1864. He was a most gallant and worthy soldier. I know personally the circumstances of his capture. It was in the charge of the Fifth Army Corps on the fifth day of May. He was in advance of his regiment, doing most valuable service in a very critical emergency, and was cut off with some others of the command by a flanking part of the enemy.
I have the honor to be,
Very respectively, your obedient servant,
(Signed) Ellis Spear.
Late Bvt. Brig.-Gen. Vols.
The report to the Adjutant General of the army caused an adverse report from the Military Committee, and Lieut. Merriam then wrote the following personal letter to the Adjutant General in is defence:
Washington, D. C.
May 10, 1876.
General E. D. Townsend,
Sir: I have the honor to submit the following reply to your letter reporting my military record to the Committee on Military Affairs, H. R. In your remarks on said report you do not recognize any merit in my claim whatever, and I feel that if you properly understood the case you could not fail to see some merit in it. I inclose herewith two letters touching my service and final capture while in the Twentieth Maine Volunteers. While a prisoner I did not omit any effort to escape, and recklessly exposed my life three times before I succeeded, as my record shows. You say there is nothing peculiar about my case. I cannot think that all who were captured were taken under like circumstances or made the same effort to escape and return to duty in the field. It is the policy of the government to encourage personal risk in the military service, not discourage it. If I had been less adventurous on that day, and less eager to do my duty to the country, I should have saved myself nearly a year of suffering to the very border of death, in prison, and five years of broken health after the war, and would have been mustered and paid on my commission, as I now pray to be. I admit I cannot be mustered and paid under the law, otherwise my petition would not be before Congress. I apply because I think my case exceptional and meritorious. It is exceptional because from its nature there can be but few instances where soldiers were commissioned while in the hands of the enemy. It is meritorious because I was thought to have earned the promotion, and was commissioned by reason of doing my duty to the utmost, and regardless of all hazard I lost. If this is not a case where equity should give what the law declines, then I do not know what equity means. The fact that there may be others who suffered like injustice hardly satisfies me in a refusal of my petition.
I respectively ask that the private letter be returned to me at 617 E. Street, N.W. My excuse for writing this letter is that your remark prejudiced my case very strongly before the committee.
I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
2d Lieut. 4th Inft., U.S.A.
(A true copy).
The following remarkable letter has been severly criticized by officer of high rank:
Washington, May 13, 1876.
Lieut. Lewis Merriam,
617 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
Sir: Acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 10th inst., I have respectively to state that it is considered quite right that the official report from this office should prejudice your claim before the Military Committee of the House of Representatives, as, although your conduct was gallant and most worthy of commendation, you are certainly not entitled to the money claimed. The U.S. Government was most liberal in granting continuance of pay to our prisoners of war, when, under old rules, pay was stopped under such circumstances as occurred in your case. But the Regulations forbidding promotions while in the enemy's hands, were made early in the war, to secure the efficiency of regiments in the field, which required their officers with them, and yours is not by many hundreds the only case where officers and soldiers were debarred from promotion by reason of capture.
The inclosures to your letter are herwith returned.
Very respectively, your obedient servant,
E. D. Townsend,
Returning to his command, he was on general court martial duty at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and with his company at Camp Red Canyon, Wyoming, till May, 1877; with company at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, till May 20, 1879; with company as A.A.Q.M. and A.C.S., at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, till June 1880, when he was promoted first lieutenant and assigned to Company A, Fourth Infantry. He was with company, A.A.Q.M. and A.C.S., at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, till April 181; on leave of absence till Oct., 1881; commanding company, instructor of musketry and range officer, at the Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, till Aug., 1883. On being relieved from duty at Fort Leavenworth, the commandant of the school forwarded the following letter to the Adjutant General of the Army:
Post of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas,
July 16, 1883.
Adjutant-General, U.S. Army:
First Lieutenant Lewis Merriam, Fourth Infantry, during almost his entire tour of duty at the post, extending from November, 1881 to July 10, 1883, has been acting as Instructor of Musketry. This duty, owing to the number of Company organizations present, has occupied nearly all his time, although during a good share of that period he has been obliged to exercise command of "A" Company, Fourth Infantry, the interests of which he faithfully attended to. As Target Officer he showed in the performance of his duty practical instruction and, in fine, the essential qualities which a competent Instructor of Musketry should possess, and he labored faithfully, assiduously and efficiently with officers and men of the Command, to improve them in rifle practice.
The zeal with which he prosecuted his labors, attending to all the details connected with the target range, deserves especial mention and praise.
(Signed) E. S. Otis,
Colonel Twentieth Infantry, Commanding.
Lieut. Merriam was with Company F, Fourth Infanty A.A.Q.M., A.C.S., range officer, and instructor of rifle practice at Fort Niobrara, Nebraska, till 1886. He was champion rifle shot of the U.S. army for the years 1883, 1884 and 1885, and is the owner of more first-class government medals, won in competition, than any other officer or enlisted man in the army. He was then company, instructor of rifle practice and range officer at Fort Spokane, Washington, 1886 to 1887. He was granted six months sick leave and ordered before a retiring board in 1888, and sick leave until retired from active service for disability contracted in line of duty, with rank of captain, June 23, 1893, and promoted to rank of major by act of April 23, 1904. During his army service he received many commendatory letters from officers of high rank - Adjutant General H. C. Corbin; General M. I. Luddington, Quartermaster General; Paymaster General T. H. Stanton; Bridadier General J. C. Gilmore, A.A.G; Brigadier General T. E. True; Brigadier General E.V. Sumner; General Ellis Spear, and many others. Major Merriam is a companion of the District of Columbia Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States, and of Kit Carson Post, Grand Army of the Republic, Washington City, and a member of the Society of the Army of the Potomac, and resides in Washington, D.C.
He married at Omaha, Nebraska, Aug. 7, 1876, Annie Burnham, born in Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, June 17, 1854, daughter of Lieutenant Colonel Horace Blois and Mrs. Ruth (Jackson) Burnham, her father being deputy judge advocate general U.S. Army.
1. Ruth Mary, born at Fort Bridger, Wyoming, Aug. 1, 1877; married, at Washington, D.C., June 8, 1899, Dr. Frank Hood Schultz, D.D.S.; reside in Washington, D.C.
2. Henry Clay, born at Fort Omaha, Nebraska, Dec. 17, 1879; graduate of Shattuck Military School, of Faribault, Minnesota, and is captain of coast artillery, U.S.A., stationed at Fortress Monroe, Virginia; married at Manila, Philippine Islands, Aug. 30, 1900, Bessie Charlotte Ray, of Faribault, Minnesota; has a daugher, Charlotte Burnham, born at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, April 6, 1903.
3. Hattie Newell, born at Fort Fetterman, Wyoming, June 15, 1881, died at Clarksville, Tennessee Oct., 1881.
4. Lewis Burnham, born at Fort Niobrara, Nebraska, March 4, 1884; died Dec. 2, 1884.
5. Blois Burnham, born at Fort Spokane, Washington, Sept. 21, 1886; drowned in Coeur d'Alene Lake, Idaho, Aug. 20, 1892.
6. Lewis, born in Spokane, Washington, May 30, 1893, now attending St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland.