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Sgt William Callen
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Birth: May, 1821
Armstrong County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: May 8, 1901
Grand Island
Hall County
Nebraska, USA

Sergeant WILLIAM CALLEN, Co. G, 47th Illinois & Co. E, 86th Illinois

William Callen was born on May __, 1821 in Pennsylvania, most likely in Armstrong County. William is believed to have been the son of David Callen, who was born c. 1792/93 in Pennsylvania, the son of Patrick Callen and Sarah (Hennen) Callen, and who died on December 7, 1844 in Fairfield, Wayne County, Illinois, and Elizabeth (Fleming) Callen, who was born c. 1793/94 and who is believed to have died in 1880 in Iowa. Patrick Callen, who was born in 1745 and who died on 1825 in Toby Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, and Sarah (Hennen) Callen, who died c. 1823 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, had the following children;
1. Eleanor (Nellie) CALLEN was born 1774 in Westmoreland Country, PA, and died 1850.
2. Hugh CALLEN was born 5 JUN 1773 in Hempfield, Westmoreland County, PA, and died 10 FEB 1842 in Clarion County, PA.
3. James CALLEN was born Abt 1776
4. Ann CALLEN was born 1778.
5. Margaret CALLEN was born 1780.
6. John CALLEN was born 1782.
7. Samuel CALLEN was born 1783, and died 1849.
8. Mary (Polly) CALLEN was born 1784.
9. Sarah CALLEN was born 1785 in Armstrong County, Pa, and died 15 APR 1857 in Sugar Creek, Venango Co. PA.
10. David CALLEN was born 1792 in Westmoreland Country, PA, and died 7 DEC 1884 in Zif, IL.

David Callen and Elizabeth (Fleming) Callen are believed to have had the following children;
1. Solomon Callen, born c. 18__.
2. James Fleming Callen, born June 18, 1817; died on September 18, 1899; buried in the Number Eight Cemetery in Madison, Greenwood County, Kansas.
3. William Callen, born May __, 1821; died on May 8, 1901 at __________, Nebraska and his mortal remains were laid to rest in the Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery in Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska.
4. Ellen Callen, born c. 1823.
5. Joseph Callen, born c. 1829; He may be the Joseph M. Callen, who was born Aug. 27, 1827 and who died on Aug. 19, 1894 and whose mortal remains were laid to rest in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Wood Lake, Cherry County, Nebraska.
6. Arthur F. Callen, born __________ __, 1832; died on __________ __, 1906; buried in the Benton Cemetery in Benton, Ringgold County, Iowa.
7. Sarah Callen, born c. 18__.
8. Nancy Jane Callen, born c. 1835.

William Callen was married to Catherine "Kate" Grife on __________ __, 18__ at __________, __________. Catherine was the first cousin of William Henry Grife, who was to also become a member of Co. E of the 86th Illinois. Catherine was born on December 23, 1824 in Hasse Cassel, Germany the daughter of Daniel Greif (1802 in Germany - 1900) and Barbara (Henken) Grife, and the granddaughter of Conrad Grife, who was born on July 25, 1776 in Marburg, Hessen Province, Germany, and who died on October 3, 1857 in Marshall County, Illinois and who was buried in Meade Cemetery, Sparland, Marshall County, Illinois, and Elizabeth (__________) Grife. Conrad and Elizabeth had the following children;
1. Henry Grife.
2. Elizabeth Grife.
3. Margaret Grife.
4. Daniel Grife was born in 1802.
5. John Henry Grife was born on December 1, 1810. He died on 18 Apr 1881.
6. Catherine Grife was born in 1815.

Eight children are believed to have been born to William Callen and Catherine (Grife) Callen. They include;
1. Elliott Newt Callen, born February 22, 1849 in Illinois; married to Nancy E. __________; Elliott died on February 28, 1933 in St. Louis County, Missouri; buried in the Saint Peters Cemetery, Normandy, St. Louis County, Missouri.
2. Cynthia J. Callen, born December 5, 1850; married to Darius P. Kerns; Cynthia died on May 7, 1917 in Corning, Adams County, Iowa; buried in the Prairie Rose Cemetery in Corning, Adams County, Iowa.
3. Mary Luceta Callen, born December 3, 1852 in Sparland, Illinois; married to Elmer Belding; Mary died on April __, 1936 in Corning, Adams County, Iowa; buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery near Corning, Adams County, Illinois.
4. Frank M. Callen, born December 8, 1854; died on July 31, 1915 in Broken Bow, Nebraska.
5. Charles Callen, born c. 1857/58 in Illinois; died July 13, 1936 in Salem, Oregon.
6. Miles Callen, born c. 1859/60 in Illinois; Miles is believed to be the Miles D. Callen who was born in 1859 in Illinois, who was married to Cora __________ and who died in California. This Miles D. Callen was buried in the Angelus Rosedale Cemetery in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California.
7. Anna B. Callen, born March 14, 1861 in Illinois; married to Henry Walter Perkins; December 31, 1947; buried in the Graceland Cemetery, Creston, Union County, Iowa.
8. Emma CALLEN, born c. 1869/70 in Illinois

On August of 1861, at the age of 40, William Callen volunteered to serve in what was to become Co. G of the 47th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry, making him one of the oldest members of the regiment. He was elected and commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of Co. G on August 16, 1861 when the entire regiment was mustered into service.

Rank 2LT Company G Unit 47 IL US INF

Personal Characteristics
Residence Age 40 Height 6' Hair SANDY
Eyes BLUE Complexion SANDY Marital Status MARRIED Occupation FARMER

Service Record
Joined When AUG 16, 1861 Joined Where PEORIA, IL
Joined By Whom CPT ANDREWS Period 3 YRS
Muster In AUG 16, 1861 Muster In Where PEORIA, IL
Muster In By Whom N/A Muster Out N/A
Muster Out Where N/A Muster Out By Whom N/A

For five weeks the men of the 47th drilled in Peoria, Illinois. Then on Sept. 23rd 1861, the regiment boarded trains and were sent to St. Louis, Missouri, where they went into quarters at Benton Barracks near the city of St. Louis, where it was fulled uniformed, armed and equipped. Then for some unknown reason, possibly for health reasons, 2nd Lieutenant William Callen resigned from the service and returned to Peoria.
However, less than a year later, on August 14, 1862, when local well known farmer, Orlando Fountain, began raising a company of men in Marshall, Stark and Bureau Counties, for service in the Union army, William Callen, now at the age of 41, volunteered in Saratoga Township when Fountain was recruiting there. That same day, August 14, 1862, William's wife's cousin, William Henry Grife, also volunteered in LaPrairie Township of Marshall County to serve in the same unit. It is not known who volunteered first or if whoever volunteered 2nd knew that they other had also volunteered.

Rank CPL Company E Unit 86 IL US INF

Personal Characteristics
Residence LAPRAIRIE, MARSHALL CO, IL Age 41 Height 5' 11 1/2 Hair SANDY
Eyes BLUE Complexion FAIR Marital Status MARRIED Occupation FARMER
Nativity PA

Service Record
Joined When AUG 14, 1862 Joined Where SARATOGA, IL
Joined By Whom O FOUNTAIN 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 Fountain had about 100 volunteers, he led the company on a march into Peoria, Illinois, where they went into camp at Camp Lyon, near present day Glen Oak Park.
On August 27, 1862, Fountain and 88 of his volunteers, including both Callen and Grife, were mustered in as Co. E of the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Fountain was elected by the men of Co. E to serve as their Captain. The men of Co. E elected William Callen to serve as the 3rd Corporal.
On September 7, 1862, the men of the 85th & 86th Illinois marched out of the gates of Camp Lyon, with much fanfare, through the streets of Peoria to the railroad depot, where they boarded a train bound for Camp Joe Holt in Jeffersonville, Indiana, across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky. Three weeks later the men of the 85th & 86th Illinois were in the field in Kentucky as part of Colonel Daniel McCook's Brigade in pursuit of Confederate troops.
On Oct. 8, 1862, the men of McCook's Brigade were engaged with those Confederate troops in the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, suffering their first casualties. There would be many more in the next few years. After the Battle of Perryville, the Confederate troops withdrew from Kentucky and the men of McCook's Brigade marched on to Nashville, Tennessee, where they would go into winter camp.
During the next two and a half years, Callen and Grife served faithfully in Co. E as the men of the 86th served 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 Chickamauga, Georgia; Resaca, Georgia; Rome, Georgia; Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia; Peach Tree Creek, Georgia; Jonesboro, Georgia; Averasboro, North Carolina; and Bentonville, North Carolina, to name a few and marched with "Sherman to the Sea".
On October 1, 1863, 42 year old William Callen was elected and promoted to the rank of Sergeant. The men of McCook's Briagde and the 86th Illinois had just participated in the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia, a Union defeat, but the Union army did hold Chattanooga for the moment. In the History of the 86th, written by Kinnear, he stated that, "On the next day, the 31st (September), our brigade took a position on the right of Rossville Gap. A strong force was left here to keep back the enemy till the army could fall back on Chattanooga. The rebels pushed buoyantly forward and opened on us a heavy cannonade. Our forces held the gap until night, when they abandoned it, and retreated on Chattanooga. Our brigade arrived in Chattanooga very late at night, and after much changing about, took up position and laid down to rest. Here ends the battle and the retreat, a stirring epoch in our history. During this battle, the regiment had the honor of conducting itself in a praiseworthy manner. There is but one exception, and that is personal. It was the case of Major O. Fountain, who conducted himself in a disrespectful manner by becoming intoxicated. On this account he was soon afterwards recommended for a discharge, which was duly furnished him. Major Fountain had many qualifications of a good soldier, and previous to this, had conducted himself in a proper manner."
Kinnear continued, "After the battle, our brigade remained in Chattanooga three days, during which time it was formed in line and held as a reserve. The enemy was hourly expected to pounce upon our forces and attempt to regain the place, for unless they did, no real advantages were gained by their successes at Chickamauga. Our troops were not disheartened or hopeless, but eager and determined to conquer in a second engagement. The enemy, however, was severely punished, otherwise he would have followed up his successes."
Corporal William Callen may have been filling in as a Sergeant in Co. E for some time as there had been a number of vacancies in the Sergeant ranks in the previous three months. On October 1, 1863, the tired men of Co. E held an election there in Chattanooga and Corporal William Callen was elected to fill one of those vacancies in the Sergeant ranks.
As stated above, after the Battle of Chickamauga, the men of the 86th remained in the Chattanooga area through the winter of 1863/64, participated in the Atlanta Campaign, the "March to the Sea" and the Carolina Campaign of 1865, which helped to bring the war to a close. William Callen served as a Sergeant during all of this period.
After the war came to an end, the men of McCook's Brigade marched on to Washington, D.C where in May they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue on the 2nd day of the Grand Review. It was also there that on June 6, 1865, Sergeant William Callen, now 44 years of age, and Private Henry Grife and the rest of the surviving members of the 86th Illinois were mustered out of service. Shortly after that they were put on a train bound for Chicago, Illinois, where they received their final pay and were discharged. By the end of June, Callen, Grife and the surviving members of Co. E were back in their homes in Marshall, Stark and Bureau Counties.
William and Catherine are believed to have remained in Marshall County until the 1870's. Sometime in the 1870's they are believed to have moved west to Iowa, where they are believed to have settled in Adams County. In the 1880 census, William and Catherine Callen is found residing in Jasper, Iowa in Adams County. He is farming the land and it is recorded that his parents were both born in Pennsylvania. This is believed to be the correct William Callen.
Wm. CALLEN, Self, Gender: Male, Birth: <1822> PA
Kate CALLEN, Wife, Gender: Female, Birth: <1826> HESSE CASSEL
Anna CALLEN, Dau, Gender: Female, Birth: <1861> IL
Frank M. CALLEN, Son Gender: Male, Birth: <1856> IL
Charles CALLEN, Son Gender: Male, Birth: <1858> IL
Miles CALLEN, Son Gender: Male, Birth: <1860> IL
Emma CALLEN, Dau Gender: Female, Birth: <1870> IL
David CALLEN, GFather Gender: Male, Birth: <1793> PA

The Callens remained in Adams County into the 1890's. Catherine (Grife) Callen died on November 30, 1891 in Adams County, Iowa and her earthly remains were laid to rest in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Adams County, Iowa.
Sometime in the last half of the 1890's, William Callen is known to have moved further west to Nebraska. Sergeant William Callen spent his last days in the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Grand Island, Nebraska. Sergeant William Callen died on May 8, 1901 of a hemorrhage in the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Grand Island, Nebraska. His earthly remains were laid to rest in the Soldiers and Sailors Cemetery in Grand Island, Nebraska in Hall County, Nebraska.
The Columbus, Nebraska Journal published a notice (seen here on this site) of his passing in their May 15, 1901 edition of their newspaper.
The cemetery was established in 1887 and opened in 1888 for the Nebraska Soldiers & Sailors Home (now known as the Grand Island Veterans' Home). The cemetery's first burial was for Civil War veteran Leonard B. Thurlow (Co. G 13th WIS INF), who died November 26, 1888. The cemetery is maintained by the State of Nebraska and is open to Nebraska Veterans' Home members and their spouses. Visitors are welcome daily, during daylight hours and a cemetery registry is on site. The Nebraska Veterans' Home Cemetery is located on approximately 4 acres at the corner of W. Capital Avenue and Webb Road.

by Baxter B. Fite III

(Baxter would love to hear from anyone, especially descendants of the Callen family, who might be able to add to the biographical material that we have on William Callen and the Callen family. Baxter would also love to see copies of any photographs of William Callen that 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: 
  Catherine Grife Callen (1824 - 1891)
  Elliott N Callen (1849 - 1933)*
  Cynthia J Callen Kerns (1850 - 1917)*
  Mary Callen Belding (1852 - 1936)*
  Anna B Callen Perkins (1861 - 1947)*
*Calculated relationship
Sgt. Wm. Callen
Co. C.
86th Ill. Inf.

Soldiers And Sailors Cemetery
Grand Island
Hall County
Nebraska, USA
Plot: Row 4
Maintained by: Baxter B. Fite III
Originally Created by: Linda Applegate Brown
Record added: Jul 26, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39920631
Sgt William Callen
Added by: Baxter B. Fite III
Sgt William Callen
Added by: Leslie Vollnogle
Sgt William Callen
Added by: Baxter B. Fite III
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Linda Applegate Brown
 Added: Jan. 25, 2012
Callen, William-- CIVI WAR VETERAN -- BORN 5-1821-- 5-8-1901-- 86 IL Infantry Sgt. Co. E-- Grand Island-- GISSH --Hall--
 Added: Mar. 7, 2011

- Janice Dean LeMaster
 Added: Nov. 21, 2010

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