John Mort, senior vice of Shiloh Post No. 56, G. A. R., and one of the honored veterans of the Civil war residing in Crawford county, was born in Tuscarawas county, Ohio, August 15, 1833. A man now past the seventieth milestone of life, and among the remainder of the great host of our ex-soldiers who will soon be marching on, his career has been filled with useful deeds both to himself and family and to his country, and he deserves the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens of Crawford county. Mr. Mort has been a resident of Crawford county since 1881, and has thus been identified with the county throughout its most progressive and important period of history.
Mr. Mort enlisted at Lima, Allen county, Ohio, August 22, 1862, in Company D, One Hundred and Eighteenth Ohio Infantry, under Colonel Mack and Lieutenant Colonel Walkup, and his company had three captains, successively, Berth, Taylor and Doty. From the camp at Lima they went to Cincinnati, and during Morgan's raid crossed the Ohio and went to Covington, Kentucky. After the siege of Knoxville and the battle at Chickamauga they took part in Sherman's great campaign, being in the battles of Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain, New Hope Church, Burnt Hickory, and then in the siege of Atlanta. On the 22d of July, 1864, at Atlanta, while Mr. Mort was filling his canteen with water General McPherson rode up and asked him for a drink, which was gladly given. That was the gallant general's last drink, for only a little while afterward he was killed, being the second Union general slain on that day. From Atlanta Mr. Mort was in the forces sent back to engage Hood in the battles at Franklin and Nashville. Thence he was sent to Washington, and down into the Carolinas, joining Sherman's army again, and was with his command at Raleigh and other points in North Carolina. He received several injuries during his service, and throughout made an excellent record as a soldier. He was honorably discharged at Cleveland, Ohio, and then returned to his old home in Allen county.
Mr. Mort was a son of George and Polly Mort. His father was a native of Maryland, and was a soldier in the war of 1812. He died in Allen county, Ohio, at the age of eighty-eight, while his wife, who was a native of Maryland, died in Tuscarawas county, at the age of sixty. The father was a stonemason by trade, and in the war of 1812 helped build the fort at Baltimore. He later took up the trade of cooper. There were nine children in the family, five sons and four daughters.
On his arrival in Crawford county in 1881 Mr. Mort bought a farm of eighty acres, and he still owns this valuable place near Cherokee. He was married in Allen county, Ohio, at the age of twenty-three to Miss Christina Harpster, a daughter of Jacob Harpster. She died in Ohio in 1873, having been the mother of nine children, eight of whom are living, namely: Isaac, Thomas, Daniel, Sarah J., Homer, Thomas, William, Frank and Clara. Mr. Mort then married his present wife, Lucinda Swank, the widow of Francis Swank. Mr. Swank was a soldier in Company E of the Forty-fifth Ohio Infantry, was taken prisoner at Knoxville and spent thirteen months in the southern prisons at Belle Isle, Salisbury and Andersonville. He left one son, George W. Swank, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Mrs. Mort was a daughter of B. Dickerson. Mr. and Mrs. Mort have two children, John Amos and Retta Della Greenwell, of this county. Mr. Mort is a stanch Republican, and, as has been stated, is very prominent in local Grand Army circles.Pages 319-322 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Scotty McDowell and Trey Logan, students at Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, in April, 2003.
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