Captain Stephen A. Stillwell


Post-War Image of Capt. Stillwell; Crawfordsville Public Library

Capt. Stephen A. Stillwell

Montgomery County, Indiana

Portrait & Biographical Record of Montgomery, Parke & Fountain Co IN (Chapman Brothers, 1893) p 248

Capt. Stephen A. Stilwell, one of the pleasant and social business men of Crawfordsville, bearing modestly the honors of a wounded veteran of the late war, carries on a flourishing real estate, pension and loan business in this city and has a beautiful residence at No. 700 South Walnut Street. The subject of this sketch was born 7 miles south of Crawfordsville, March 22, 1838. He was the son of Jeremiah and Didama Holloway Stilwell, the mother a sister of Judge Washington Holloway. The parents were natives of Kentucky and came from Shelby County in that state and settled in this place in 1826, although Mr. Stilwell had prospected through here in 1824. At that time the town of Crawfordsville consisted of one house and they were among the earliest settlers of the county. At that farm Mr. Stilwell lived until 1878, his death occurring in 1881, when he passed away at age 85. The mother of our subject was born in 1800 and her death took place in 1870. She had been the mother of 7 sons and 3 daughters. Our subject was educated in the public schools, and at the age of 20 he began to teach school and was so successful that he continued in this occupation until he answered the call for soldiers to preserve the Union. His first enlistment was in November 1861, when he entered as a private of Co. C 40th Indiana Infantry and when his time expired he again enlisted Feb 15, 1864 in the same regiment and was promoted from the ranks onward until in July 1864, Gov. Morton commissioned him Captain. He had command of the company at Blain’s Cross Roads, Tenn. in Nov 1863 as the Captain had resigned and the Lt. was on detached duty and he held the position until the close of the war. Capt. Stilwell did not come out of the great struggled without a memento of the terrors of the war. He was wounded in the leg at Lost Mountain, GA June 18, 1864 but he was one of the plucky kind of soldiers and insisted upon keeping up with the command, although he had to be carried along six months before he could take his place at the head of the column. His position at the time of the accident was at the head of the ranks, where he was bravely leading the column and he was about the first man to fall before the enemy’s fire although that was a bloody day for the 40th, as out of the 350 men, 33 marched to battle no more. During that fight the regiment shot 60,000 rounds of ammunition. Through the Atlanta campaign, Capt. Stilwell was often in danger at one time for 48 days Being within reach every minute of a rebel mini-ball. After the fall of Atlanta, Capt. Stilwell’s command went on the return campaign after Hood, and took part in all of the actions, ending at Nashville. After this he was sent to New Orleans, in June 1865 and here he resigned having taken part and risked his life in 79 engagements. The regiment was in Texas until 1866. At the battle of Franklin, Capt. Stilwell’s company opened the hostilities, doing skirmish-line fighting for 3 hours before the regular action began. After the return to peace, Capt. Stilwell returned to the quiet home his valor had helped to preserve and took up his old occupation of teaching. In a few months, May 15, 1866 he was married to Miss Martha A. Hardee of the same vicinity and a daughter of Joseph Hardee, who was a pioneer of this section. After marriage, Capt. Stilwell went into Crawfordsville and engaged with Boots & Canie (sic – may be Canine) in the planing mill and remained there for four years. Later he went into a grocery but received the appointment as Deputy Co. Treasurer and remained in that position for six years under 3 separate officials. In 1879 he opened a pension office and carried on the business with his brother Thomas. He has handled loans and much real estate and has done a flourishing business. The Captain has served his party on the Central Committee, and keeps up an active interest in politics. He is socially inclined and is a valued member of Rebecca Lodge, IOOF [Independent Order of Odd Fellows] has passed all of the chairs and is a member of the Grand Lodge; he is also a member of Knights of Pythias, as well as Uniformed Rank of the Knights of Pythias and naturally is an active and highly regarded member of the Grand Army of the Republic. Few men have a clearer record of bravery than has Capt. Stilwell, and he received recognition of it in his speedy promotions. The esteem in which he is held in Crawfordsville is very genuine and the pleasant manner of our subject wins him friends among the strangers with whom business throws him in contact.


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