|Birth: ||Jul. 23, 1840|
|Death: ||Jun. 30, 1863|
Private DAVID JOHN COON, Co. F, 86th Illinois
David John Coon was born on July 23, 1840 in Madison County, Ohio, one of seven children known to have been born to John Coon, who was born in 1810 in Canada, and Chloe (Cox) Coon, who was born in 1816 in Canada. By the 1850's, the Coon family has moved west to Illinois, where they have settled near Maquon, Illinois in Knox County. It was there in Knox County where David John Coon grew to manhood farming the land beside his father and brothers.
On February 5, 1861, David John Coon was married to Mary Darnell in Knox County, Illinois. Mary was born on July 12, 1841, in Knox County, Illinois, one of 13 children born to William W. Darnell and Priscilla (Thurman) Darnell. William was born on June 2, 1802, in North Carolina, while Priscilla was born on June 13, 1807 in Virginia. Mary had nine brothers including Joel Darnell and Sumner William Darnell. In December of 1861, a son was born to David and Mary. He was;
1. John Marion Coon, born December 24, 1861, in Knox County, Illinois.
On July 29, 1862, with the Civil War raging for more than a year, David John Coon and his brother-in-law, Sumner William Darnell, went into town and volunteered to serve in a company which was being raised in Maquon, Illinois by a well known local Carpenter, Contractor and Businessman by the name of James L. Burkhalter for service in the Union Army. On August 2, 1862, Joel Darnell went into town and signed his name to the volunteer rolls for Burkhalter's company. On August 6, David's brother, Isaac J. Coon signed the volunteer rolls for the growing Maquon company. On the last day of recruiting, August 11, 1862, David's brother, William Spencer Coon signed his name to the rolls. At the time they volunteered, David, Isaac and the two Darnell brothers state that they are farming for a living, while William J. Coon states that he is working as a miner.
By the evening of the 11th day of August, 1862, Burkhalter had about 100 volunteers. The following day, Burkhalter led the Maquon company on a long march into Peoria, where they went into camp at Camp Lyon, near present day Glen Oak Park. There on August 27, 1862, Burkhalter was elected by the men of the Maquon company to be their Captain and Captain Burkhalter and 93 of his volunteers were mustered in as Co. F of the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry.
On September 7, 1862, the men of the 86th Illinois marched out of the gates of Camp Lyon, Capt. James L. Burkhalter leading Co. F, through the streets of Peoria, with much fanfare. Almost certainly, scattered among the crowd were members of the Coon and Darnell families, possibly even a young wife, who was had only been married a little more than a year and a half, with a 8 month old son. If Mary was there, little did she know that she was seeing her young husband for the last time. At the railroad station, the 912 men officers and men of the 86th Illinois boarded the trains bound for Camp Joe Holt, Jeffersonville, Indiana, located across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. Three weeks later, the men of the 86th were in the field in Kentucky as part of Col. Daniel McCook's Brigade, in pursuit of Confederate troops. On Oct. 8, 1862, the men of McCook's Brigade were engaged with those troops in the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, the 86th Illinois suffering their first casualties. One soldier from the 86th Illinois was killed and thirteen others were wounded. There were no casualties reported from Co. F, but, undoubtedly, the Coons, Darnells and the men of Co. F had seen the first blood spilled. There would much more spilled in the coming years.
After the Union victory at Perryville, the Confederate Army withdrew from Kentucky and McCook's Brigade marched on to Nashville, Tennessee, where they went into winter camp.
During those first few months in the field and in Nashville, the poor diet and living conditions took a great toll on the green troops. Even before the 86th left Camp Joe Holt, many of the troops were ill. Many more became ill before the 86th arrived in Nashville. Many of these troops were left behind in Army Hospitals in Louisville, Kentucky when the 86th left for Perryville or were sent back to the Army Hospitals in Louisville after the Battle of Perryville. One of these troops that was either left behind or sent back to the Army Hospitals before the 86th got too far into Tennessee was Private David John Coon, the first member of the Coon family to volunteer. At the hospital, whatever his ailment, his condition did not improve. Finally on October 31, 1862, the Army Doctors thought it best to let David out of the service and let him return to his family in hopes that with the help of family and home cooking his condition would improve. So on October 31, 1862, Private David John Coon was discharged from the service for disability and he returned to his home and family in Knox County. Whatever his ailment, David continued to struggle with health issues on through the winter and spring of 1862/63 and on June 30, 1863, Private David John Coon died. He is believed to have died at Yates City, Illinois and his earthly remains were laid to rest in the Uniontown Cemetery in Knox County, Illinois, not far from Farmington, Illinois.
Another one of those men who was having great difficulty with his health was Sumner William Darnell. Sumner was most likely present at the Battle of Perryville, but, he may already have been having problems with the diet and living condition as well. One of the towns the 86th passed through on their way to Nashville was Gallatin, Tennessee. The 86th spent several days here as there was a large Army Hospital there. When the 86th pulled out, quite a few men were left behind sick in the hospital. Sumner William Darnell is believed to have been one of these. Private Sumner W. Darnell's condition also seemed to improve very little and on February 28, 1863, the Army discharged him from the Army Hospital in Gallatin, Tennessee and sent him home.
During the next two years, Privates William Spencer Coon, Isaac J. Coon, Joel Darnell and the men of the 86th served on with the 86th in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. During this time, they were witness to and participants in numerous battles and skirmishes, some of the bloodiest fighting in the Western Theatre of the war, including the Battles of Chicakamauga, Georgia; Resaca, Georgia; Rome, Georgia, Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia; Peach Tree Creek, Georgia; Jonesboro, Georgia; to name a few and they marched with Sherman to the Sea.
During the winter of 1864/65 or early spring of 1865, Private Joel Darnell was sent north to the Army Hospitals in Jefferson Barracks, Missouri. There is a slight chance that he was wounded during the previous campaign, but it is more likely that he became sick from the 2 plus years he had spent in the service. He was finally discharged for disability at Jefferson Barracks on March 31, 1865.
Privates William Spencer Coon and Isaac J. Coon were among the last 40 men who remained with Co. F out of the original 94. They had witnessed a lot during their nearly three years in the service, but they were still there in May of 1865 in Washington City (now D.C.) on the second day of the Grand Review as Sherman's boys marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. On June 6, 1865, they were mustered out of the service and by the end of June they were home.
by Baxter Fite and Fran Denny
(Fran and Baxter would enjoy hearing from anyone who might be able to add to the biography of Private David John Coon and the biography of the Coon family. Fran and Baxter would be interested in getting a copy of any picture of David John Coon, if he ever posed for one and if a copy still survives, for his Find A Grave site and for the local Historical Societies.)
John Coon (1810 - ____)
Chloe Cox Coon (1816 - 1886)
Mary Ann Darnell Olson (1841 - 1915)
John Marion Coon (1861 - 1943)*
William Spencer Coon (1834 - 1915)*
David John Coon (1840 - 1863)
Isaac J Coon (1843 - 1908)*
Co F 86th Inft. Age 22 yr. 11 m 7 d
Created by: Fran Denny
Record added: Jul 09, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 28154307