Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Naperville 150 Years Ago

The longest list of Naperville men who died during military service comes from the Civil War, the 150th anniversary of which we are commemorating this year. While the war was certainly a bloody conflict, many deaths were actually the result of disease, infection and starvation, rather than the battlefield.

Although DuPage County was represented in several companies, the 105th Illinois Volunteers included a large number of local men. That regiment lost 236 men overall, 187 of which died of disease.

The roll call of those who died during the war was read on Memorial Day just before the parade. Naperville residents may have recognized many of the names that are part of our history.

Lieutenant William Porter died in Georgia. Sergeant Samuel Kellogg and DeWitt Stevens were both killed at the battle of Chickasaw Bayou.

Also a casualty of that battle was 2nd Lt. George Naper, the son on John and Betsey Naper. George arrived with original settlers of Naperville in 1831 as a small child. He was a thirty-five year old husband who had already buried a child when he answered the call to serve.

Other local men did return from the War to become pillars of our community, including Adelbert Van Oven, Eli Ditzler, Alex Riddler, Levi Shaeffer, William Fry, Willard Scott, Jr. and Merritt Hobson.

David Givler, who enlisted as “a musician,” returned to start The Clarion newspaper. His brother Solomon, however, died in Kentucky.

John Nelson Naper, George’s twenty-two year old cousin, was discharged with injuries, but he did return to Naperville to marry and father children who gave us the Naper descendents we know today.

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