John Maxwell, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of John Maxwell


Among the old soldiers and reliable farmers of Porter County, Indiana stands the name of John Maxwell who is everywhere respected for his sterling worth. He was born in Kingston, Canada, in 1836, to the union of John and Dorinda (Morrison) Maxwell (see sketch of George Maxwell), and was but five years of age when he came with his parents to Porter County, Indiana. He grew to sturdy manhood amid the rude surroundings of pioneer life, attended the primitive log school house of those days, and when old enough to choose his occupation in life, very naturally selected agricultural pursuits. In August, 1862 he enlisted at Valparaiso, Indiana, in Company I, Seventy-third Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry, as a private and was in active duty until honorably discharged July 2, 1865. During that time he was promoted to the rank of corporal and afterward sergeant. His first fight was at Perryville, then Stone River and his regiment was camped at Nashville when Hood made his raid. Later his regiment was detailed with other regiments to go with Col. Streight on his famous raid, and started out on foot. They were armed but were obliged to secure their own horses. Mr. Maxwell became the possessor of a mule and not liking this he went with a squad of soldiers to a cotton plantation where he found a fine horse. After this his regiment was in many skirmishes and at Hall Gap a severe fight occurred, his command surrendering a few miles from Rome, Georgia. Mr. Maxwell was taken as a prisoner and held at Rome, Georgia, a few days after which they were sent to Atlanta, Georgia, thence to Libby Prison where he was confined two months. While there his rations were about two spoonsful of black beans, a little hard-tack and water, three times a day. The last few days of his prison life a small piece of mule meat was given him. There was a good bakery in the prison and negro waiters would frequently pass through the prison, near the half-starved-to-death prisoners, with good, hot, white bread, but not any of it did they get. A Union soldier from Tennessee, who was nearly starved, told Mr. Maxwell that he could not stand it to see the bread pass through and would take some the first opportunity. He was warned if he did that his punishment would be worse than starvation. The next day four negroes carrying bread stopped near a group of hungry prisoners and the soldier siezed a small piece. He was immediately pounced upon by two guards, who bucked and gagged him, and thrust a bayonet into his mouth back of the gag, cutting his mouth severely. They then crossed his thumbs and tied him up by them until his toes just touched the ground. Here he hung for half a day, being released at intervals of an hour so as not to kill him outright. His thumbs, hands and wrists grew black and he bled freely at the mouth. His agony was intense but he could not utter a word or moan of pain. When he could endure the torture no longer he was released and allowed to go. He finally recovered. Mr. Maxwell remained in Libby during the months of May and June and was finally paroled and exchanged at Annapolis, Maryland. From there he went to Indianapolis, Indiana and received a thirty days' furlough, after which he rejoined his regiment and for three months guarded a bridge at Larkinsville, Alabama. After that he guarded Hurricane Bridge for some time, then for one year was at Huntsville and Decatur and was then sent to Nashville, Tennessee. Later he returned home, and remained with his mother on the farm until her death. In January, 1889 he married Miss Lucretia E. Baum, daughter of Silas and Hannah (Weltmore) Baum. Mr. Baum was born in Richland County, --------, and it was of German descent, He was married in Michigan and five children were the result of this union: Mary J., Lucretia E., Laura J., Francis M. and Geneva M. Mr. Baum settled in Morgan in 1851 and became a wealthy farmer, owning 500 acres of land. He was a hardworking, industrious citizen, and a soldier in the early Indian wars. In politics he is a Republican and he and wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Baum died August 5, 1886 but his widow is still living and makes her home on the old farm. Our subject has ever affiliated with the Republican party and is an industrious, hard-working citizen.

Source: Goodspeed Brothers. 1894. Pictorial and Biographical Record of La Porte, Porter, Lake and Starke Counties, Indiana. Chicago, Illinois: Goodspeed Brothers. 569 p.
Page(s) in Source: 520-521

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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