John Henry Bettey

John Henry Bettey

Birth
Vermont, USA
Death 2 Apr 1940 (aged 93)
Wisconsin, USA
Burial Lone Rock, Richland County, Wisconsin, USA
Memorial ID 55149335 · View Source
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Private Co D 9th Iowa Cavalry - Civil War
Married Emma Esther Beam.
Was last living member of HENRY DILLON G.A.R. POST No.24

A rough transcript of John (Red Jack) Bettey's obituary in the Wisconsin News 1940...Death today of an old soldier who once was proclaimed dead and lived apart from his family for years but lived to become the last man in his Grand Army of the Republic. The old soldier John H Bettey aged 93 and known as Red Jack Bettey in the Civil War who carried on the tradition of the G A R posts to the last man, died this morning at his home 313 Riverside Drive after an illness.

Only Dr Hervie A Dobson remains in Madison from the ranks of the boys in blue set out from the city and Dane county in the Civil war. Dr Dobson is the last man in the Lucius Fairchild GA R post. But it wasnt the war which gave Mr Bettey his most harrowing experience. He was thought killed in a train wreck but only was injured and for two years wandered without knowing who he was. Then he could not find his family for more long years and in the interval his wife married twice moved away. Finally in 1921 he found his family again. He eloped to Iowa to remarry his wife and they found in Lone Rock where Mr Bettey became the last man of the Henry Dillon post.

Mr Bettey was born November 6 1846 in Vermont and came west in 1849 to live in lowa. He enlisted for the Civil war in Co D Ninth Iowa Cavalry on Sept 7 1863. He was forced to lie about his age by two years older than he actually was. He served in the warfare in Ark ansa in which the Northern forces were ambushed and by guerilla bands. Red Jack dashing daring rider came out without a scratch. Riders were toppled from their horses as they rode be beside him.

Mr Bettey was discharged March 17 1866. His father served throughout the Civir war and distinguished himself at the siege of Vicksburg. Shortly after his discharge Mr Bettey was married to Emma Beam of lowa. They had three children.

JOHN H BETTEY: In that train accident a man was burned beyond recognition and Red Jack was proclaimed dead. He had suffered major head injuries. For two years he tramped over the United States not knowing who he was nor where his people were. Then his memory came back and he returned to find his wife and children. Unable to locate them he travelled further west working on ranches and other jobs. As the age grew on Mr Bettey, he returned to the Soldiers home in Donahue lowa.

At the home in 1921, two of his sisters with the aid of a nephew Sen Walter Kemmis of Montana located him. From his sisters he learned that his family had moved to River Wisconsin and then to Lone Rock. During his absence his wife had remarried twice but both of the succeeding husbands had died. In 1921 there was a reunion in Lone Rock.

At the age of 74 yean he eloped with his wife to Cresco, lowa where amongst an excited townsfolk they were married again. They were a surrey? and paraded behind the town band. Then they returned to Lone Rock and settled down. Mrs Bettey died 1928. The winters were spent in Long Beach, California and summers with daughter Mrs R H Fries.

In 1934 he moved to Madison and lived with his daughter until her death in 1939 and since then he has lived with a grandson Gerald Fries. Until recently he never missed a state encampment of the G A R . From 1928 to 1936 he visited national encampments in Denver Colorado, Portland, Me, Cincinnati, la, Springfield, HI ,St Paul, Minn, Rochester, N Y, Grand Rapids, Mich and the 1937 encampment in Madison. A past senior commander of the Wisconsin GAR.
Survivors are two grandsons Gerald Fries Madison and Clyde Crary Richland Center and two great grandchildren Clyde Crary Jr and Judith Ann Fries


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  • Created by: Mactire
  • Added: 19 Jul 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 55149335
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for John Henry Bettey (6 Nov 1846–2 Apr 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 55149335, citing Lone Rock Cemetery, Lone Rock, Richland County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Mactire (contributor 47272922) .