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Corp James W. Bohanan
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Birth: Aug. 9, 1843
Peoria County
Illinois, USA
Death: Oct. 17, 1872
Peoria County
Illinois, USA

Corporal JAMES W. BOHANAN, Co. D, 86th Illinois

James A. Bohanan was born on ____________ __, 18__ in Rosefield Township near Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois, the son of Major Snell Bohanan #109785657 and Esther (Dickinson) Bohanan #109785670. Major Snell Bohanan was born on Aug. 27, 1800 at Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, while Esther (Dickinson) Bohanan was born on Sep. 5, 1806 in __________, New York. Major and Esther were married on ___________ __, 18__ at __________, New York. They were the parents of #____ children including;
1. Sarah A. Buchanan, born c. 1835/36 in New York.
2. Mary E. Bohanan, born c. 1838/39 in New York.
3. Alvira Bohanan, born c. 1841/42 in Illinois.
4. Louisa Bohanan, born c. 1844/45 in Illinois.
5. James Bohanan, born c. 1842/43 in Illinois.
6. Adaline Bohanan, born c. 1846/47 in Illinois.

The Bohanans left New York for Illinois c. 1839, where they settled in area of Peoria County that was at that time called the Middle Precinct. This area was very likely near the area that would become Rosefield Township. At the time of the 1840 census, Major Bohanan is listed as being between the age of 30 and 40. Esther is listed as being between the age of 30 and 40 and they have two daughters, one between the age of 5 and 10 (Sarah E.) and the other under the age of 5 (Mary E.).
At the time of the 1850 census, this is the way the family appears in Peoria County;
2321 Bohanon Major S. 50 M Farmer 3,000 NY
2321 Bohanon Esther 48 F NY
2321 Bohanon Sarah A. 14 F NY
2321 Bohanon Mary E. 11 F NY
2321 Bohanon Alvira 8 F Ill
2321 Bohanon Louisa 5 F Ill
2321 Bohanon James 7 M Ill
2321 Bohanon Adaline 3 F Ill

At the time of the 1860 census, this is the way the family appears in Rosefield Township of Peoria County;
1066 Bohanan Major 59 M Farmer 9,000 1,900 NY
1066 Bohanan Esther 57 F NY
1066 Bohanan James 17 M IL
1066 Bohanan Louisa 16 F IL
1066 Bohanan Adeline 14 F IL
1066 Bohanan Caroline 10 F IL

Major Snell Bohanan died on Sep. 23, 1884 in Hanna City, Peoria County, Illinois. Esther (Dickinson) Bohanan died on Dec. 21, 1898 in Hanna City, Peoria County, Illinois. Their mortal remains were laid in the Texas Station Cemetery near Hanna City, Peoria County, Illinois.

Now to continue with the biography of James W. Bohanan;

On August 11, 1862, James W. Bohanan volunteered at Trivoli, Illinois to serve in a company which was being raised in Trivoli, Illinois by James S. Bean for service in the Union Army. James listed Trivoli as his place of residence at the time he volunteered.

Illinois Civil War Detail Report

Company D Unit 86 IL US INF

Personal Characteristics
Age 19 Height 5' 8 1/2 Hair LIGHT
Eyes BLUE Complexion LIGHT
Marital Status SINGLE
Occupation FARMER

Service Record
Joined When AUG 11, 1862
Joined Where TRIVOLI, IL
Joined By Whom J S BEAN
Period 3 YRS Muster In AUG 27, 1862
Muster In Where PEORIA, IL
Muster In By Whom
Muster Out JUN 6, 1865
Muster Out Where WASHINGTON, DC
Muster Out By Whom LT SCROGGS

By August 15, 1862, James S. Bean had about 90 volunteers from Trivoli and the surrounding area. That afternoon, Bean led his 90 volunteers into Peoria, where they went into camp at Camp Lyon, near present day Glen Oak Park. On August 27, 1862, 83 of those Trivoli volunteers, including now Private James W. Bohanan, were mustered in as Company D of the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. James S. Bean, who was elected by the men of Co. D to be their Captain, was elected and promoted to Major of the entire regiment, so the men of Co. D then elected Frank Hitchcock to be their Captain.
On September 7, 1862, the men of the 85th & 86th Illinois marched out the gates of Camp Lyon, through the streets of Peoria, with much fanfare, and boarded trains bound for Camp Joe Holt in Jeffersonville, Indiana, located across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. Four weeks later, the men of the 85th & 86th were in the field in Kentucky as part of Col. Daniel McCook's Brigade in the Union Army led by General Buell, chasing Confederate troops in Kentucky, who were under the command of Confederate General Braxton Bragg. 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. There would be many more in the years to come.
After the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, the Confederates withdrew from Kentucky and the men of McCook's Brigade marched on to Nashville, Tennessee, where the 86th would go into winter camp. The men of the 86th would remain in the Nashville area through the spring and summer of 1863.
During the next year and a half, Private James W. Bohanan served faithfully in Co. D as the men of the 86th served in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. During this time, James was witness to and a participant in numerous battles and skirmishes, some of the bloodiest fighting in the Western Theatre of the war, including the Battles of Chickamauga, Georgia; Resaca, Georgia; and Rome, Georgia. At some point during the war, Private James W. Bohanan was elected by the men of Co. D to fill a vacancy in the Corporal ranks.
On the morning of June 27th of 1864, Corporal James W. Bohanan and the surviving members of the 86th Illinois and McCook's Brigade found themselves in the trenches across from the Confederate Breastworks on Cheatham Hill on Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia at a point that would soon be known as "The Dead Angle." As the men made preparations for the assault on the Confederate fortifications on Cheatham Hill that morning, most of the companies of the 86th fielded about 40 officers and men fit for duty. Thirty minutes after the assault began the men of McCook's Brigade fell back unable to breach the Confederate fortifications. During those 30 minutes, McCook's Brigade suffered over 30% casualties, over 500 men. The 86th Illinois suffered just over 100 casualties. When Co. D regrouped, they found that 14 men had been killed, wounded or captured. Among the missing was Corporal James W. Bohanan, who had made it onto the Confederate breastworks only to be captured.
Corporal James W. Bohanan would spend the next 11 months in the hands of the Confederacy as a Prisoner of War. According to, James spent at least some of this time at the infamous prison camp at Andersonville, Georgia. Corporal James W. Bohanan was liberated about June 9, 1865 and sent north to Springfield, Illinois, where he was mustered out of the service about July 22, 1865 to date June 9, 1865. He then returned to his home and family in Peoria County, Illinois.
James W. Bohanan was married to Martha Ellen "Mattie" Hovenden on September 24, 1867 in the Texas Station Methodist Episcopal Church, Rosefield Township, Peoria County, Illinois. Mattie was born on October 6, 1850 near Elmwood, Illinois, the daughter of George Hovenden (1815 - 1901) and Susan (Kitchener) Hovenden (1818 - 1911). Two children are known to have been born to James and Mattie including;
1. Elmer Bohanan, born c. 1868/69 in Peoria County, Illinois.
2. Clara Bell Bohanan, born March __, 1870 in Peoria County, Illinois; Clara may have died in the 1870's as she is not found in the 1880 census.

At the time of the 1870 census, the Bohanans are still found in Rosefield Township of Peoria County;
138 Bohanon Major 70 M Farmer 1,000 500 New York
138 Bohanon Esther 62 F Wife New York
138 Bohanon James 27 M Farmer Illinois
138 Bohanon Martha E. 20 F Wife Illinois
138 Bohanon Elmer 1 M Illinois
138 Bohanon Clara Bell 4/12 F Illinois March 1870
138 Greenough Wm. 19 M Illinois

Corporal James W. Bohanan died on October 17, 1872 in Rosefield Township, Peoria County, Illinois. His mortal remains were laid in the Texas Station Cemetery near Hanna City, Peoria County, Illinois.
After James W. Bohanan's death, Martha Ellen "Mattie" (Hovenden) Bohanan was married to William T. Mettler in February 8, 1876 in the Texas Station Methodist Chirch near Trivoli, Illinois in Peoria County. At the time of the 1880 census, Martha and William are found in Elmwood, Peoria County, Illinois;
Self William Mettler M 28 New Jersey
Wife Martha Mettler F 29 Illinois
Step Son Elmer Bohanan M 12 Illinois

Shortly after this census was taken, William and Martha are believed to have been divorced. Martha died on March 25, 1882 near Elmwood, Peoria County, Illinois and her mortal remains were laid in the Trivoli Cemetery at Trivoli, Peoria County, Illinois.

by Baxter B. Fite III and J. Robert Schmidt (FAG Contributor #11096000 and great great nephew of James W. Bohanan. Mr. Schmidt's email address is

(Baxter would enjoy hearing from anyone, especially descendants of the Bohanan family, that might be able to add to the biographical material that we have on James W. Bohanan and the Bohanan family. Baxter would also love to see copies of any photographs of James W. Bohanan, which may have survived the years, added to his Find A Grave site for all to see.)

Family links: 
  Major Snell Bohanan (1800 - 1884)
  Esther Dickinson Bohanan (1806 - 1898)
  Martha Ellen Hovenden Bohanan (1850 - 1882)*
  January A. Bohanan Page (1872 - 1928)*
*Calculated relationship
Texas Station Cemetery
Hanna City
Peoria County
Illinois, USA
Created by: Baxter B. Fite III
Record added: Nov 07, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61241551
Corp James W. Bohanan
Added by: Memories From The Mist
Corp James W. Bohanan
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Tony Cannon
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- J. Robert Schmidt
 Added: May. 1, 2013
Rest in Peace!
- Lois
 Added: Feb. 8, 2013

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