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Corp John Theodore Gerling
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Birth: Sep., 1830
Hannoversche Landkreis
Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany
Death: Jun. 23, 1885
Peoria County
Illinois, USA

Corporal JOHN THEODORE GERLING, Co. H, 86th Illinois

John Theodore Gerling was born on September __, 1830 in Germany the son of __________ Gerling and __________ (__________) Gerling. At the time he enlisted, he gave Hanover as his place of birth. His tombstone, however, lists Emden as his place of birth. John T. Gerling came to America in 18__. He may not have come to Peoria County until just before the Civil War.
On August 16, 1862, John T. Gerling volunteered at Peoria, Illinois to serve in a company which was being raised in the Peoria, Illinois area by David W. Magee, a veteran of the Mexican War, for service in the Union Army during the Civil War. His name was recorded as Geerling at the time he enlisted. At the time he enlisted, John gave his occupation as Sailor. Was he just coming to Peoria and his last occupation was a Sailor or is it possible he was working on the river?

Rank CPL Company H Unit 86 IL US INF

Personal Characteristics
Residence PEORIA, PEORIA CO, IL Age 31 Height 5' 10 Hair LIGHT
Eyes GRAY Complexion LIGHT Marital Status SINGLE Occupation SAILOR

Service Record
Joined When AUG 16, 1862 Joined Where PEORIA, IL
Joined By Whom N/A Period 3 YRS
Muster In AUG 27, 1862 Muster In Where PEORIA, IL
Muster In By Whom N/A Muster Out JUN 6, 1865
Muster Out Where WASHINGTON, DC Muster Out By Whom LT SCROGGS

When Magee had about 100 volunteers he assembled his company at Camp Lyons, located near present day Glen Oak Park in Peoria, where they remained in camp until they were mustered into service. On August 27, 1862 Magee and 89 of his volunteers were mustered into service as Co. H of the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. The men of Co. H initially elected Magee to be their Captain. Magee, however, because of his past military experiences, was selected and promoted to the rank of Lt. Colonel of the entire regiment. After this John H. Hall, was elected by the men of Co. H to be their Captain. John T. Gerling was elected by the men of Co. H to serve as their 6th Corporal.
On September 7, 1862, the men of the 86th Illinois marched out of the gates of Camp Lyon, through the streets of Peoria, with much fanfare, and boarded a train bound for Camp Joe Holt, Jeffersonville, Indiana, 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. There would be many more in the next three years.
During the next three years, Corporal John T. Gerling would serve faithfully in Co. H as the men of the 86th served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. However, somthing occurred during the war that forced the officers of Co. H to reduce Corporal Gerling to the ranks as a Private. During those three years, John 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; Rome, Georgia, Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia; Peach Tree Creek, Georgia; Jonesboro, Georgia; Averysboro, North Carolina; and Bentonville, North Carolina, to name a few and would march with Sherman to the Sea.
On June 6, 1865, Private John T. Gerling was still there with the surviving members of the 86th Illinois when they were mustered out of service on June 6, 1865 at Washington, D.C. They then were sent by train to Chicago, Illinois where received their final discharge and soon were back home in Peoria County.

On October 26, 1868, it was recorded that John T. Geerling was married to Hilke M. Poppen in Peoria County, Illinois. Hilke Meta (Poppen) Gerling was born c. 1838 in Hanover, Germany. Hilke Meta Poppen is believed to have been the daughter of Gerd Bruns Poppen and Elske/Eitsche Margaretha/Margaret (Braams) Poppen, who was born on June __, 1812 in Germany and who died on March 30, 1886 in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois. Gerd Bruns Poppen was a school teacher in Germany. At least some of the Poppen family arrived in America from Germany in 1867 or 1868, but other family members came on in the 1880's. One of these was Diedrich Poppen, who became a Grocer in Peoria, Illinois, is believed to have been a brother of Hilke Meta Poppen's. Diedrich's son, Hero Tjarks Poppen came to America in 1883 and Diedrich followed in 1887.
At this time, two children are believed to have been born to John Theodor Gerling and Hilke Meta (Poppen) Gerling. They are;
1. Maria Elise Gerling, born September 11, 1871, died on November 16, 1871 and her mortal remains were laid in Lot 1373 in Linden Bluff in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois.

2. Theodor Gerling, born September 7, 1873; died July 11, 1875 and his mortal remains were laid in Lot 1373 in Linden Bluff in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois.

At the time of the 1870 census, the Gerlings are found residing in the 6th Ward of the City of Peoria;
741 Geerling John 39 M distillery worker Hanover
741 Geerling Metta 30 F keeping house Hanover

Sometime in the early 1870's, John T, Gerling opened a Saloon. He is listed as a Saloon Keeper as early as 1875 in the Peoria City Directories. However the address at this time is not known. In the 1879 and later directories the address is given as 539 S. W. Adams in Peoria. He and Meta also resided there.
At the time of the 1880 census, the Gerlings are found in Peoria, John being listed as a Saloon Keeper;
John GEERLING, Self Gender: Male Birth: <1831> GER
Meta GEERLING, Wife Gender: Female Birth: <1839> GER

John Theodore Gerling died on June 23, 1885 in Peoria, Illinois. His earthly remains were laid to rest in Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois. Hilke Meta (Poppen) Gerling, spelled Gurling, is found living with Martha Kasjens Damm in 1900, and listed as Herman Damm's sister-in-law.
The last information found on Hilke Gerling is in the 1906 Peoria City Directory, where she is listed as Theodore's widow. Hilke Meta (Poppen) Gerling died on ____________ __, 1906 and her mortal remains are believed to lie under a marked saying "Mother", next to that of John Theodor Gerling in Springdale Cemetery.

by Baxter B. Fite III

(Baxter would enjoy hearing from anyone, especially descendants of the Gerling family, who might be able to add to the biographical material that we have on John T. Gerling (Geerling) and the Gerling family. Baxter would also love to copies of any photographs of John T,. Gerling which may have survived the years, especially any showing him in uniform from his days in the service, added to his Find A Grave site for all to see,)

Family links: 
  Meta Hilke Poppen Gerling (1837 - 1906)
  Maria Elise Gerling (1871 - 1871)*
  Theodor Gerling (1873 - 1875)*
*Calculated relationship
Springdale Cemetery and Mausoleum
Peoria County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Linden Bluff Division, Lot 1373
Created by: Baxter B. Fite III
Record added: Nov 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61215931
Corp John Theodore Gerling
Added by: Karen Ziege Bartelt
Corp John Theodore Gerling
Added by: Susan Henry
Corp John Theodore Gerling
Added by: Baxter B. Fite III
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Rest in Peace!
- Lois
 Added: Feb. 9, 2013

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