Pvt Fernando Cortez Willett


Pvt Fernando Cortez Willett

Bakersfield, Franklin County, Vermont, USA
Death 18 Jun 1875 (aged 32)
Mexico City, Cuauhtémoc Borough, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Burial Cuauhtemoc, Cuauhtémoc Borough, Distrito Federal, Mexico
Memorial ID 66759876 View Source
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Union Army. Civil War Veteran.

Sketchs by Mrs. L. D. Willett and other sources: Fernando Cortez Willett was born at Bakersfield Vermont. He attended Williams College. He "was in his sophomore year when these studies were interrupted by the growing conflict which became the Civil War. He served in the Union Army as a private and was in the Battle of Gettysburg, where it is said he acquitted himself bravely in the two major engagements of that battle". Broke down with lung trouble and came back to "Williams College and graduated in 1865 where on July 7, 1865, at Williamstown, he delivered the class day speech". He was principal at the local academy at Bakersfield, then was principal of the Evansville High School from 67 to 71. A pulmonary hemorrhage forced him to seek a better climate in Colorado. During this time he wrote a handbook on Colorado. After gaining health he went to Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati to prepare for the ministry. Several times he had hemorrhages and had to return to the Park and or Bakersfield. Graduated from the Seminary as a Presbyterian Minister.

Another sketch... Fernando Cortez was a teacher by profession. Traveled with a (Chum?) over Colorado making pictures and writing about the country. "The American Minister to Mexico, an Evansville friend, offered him the Secretary of Legation, Mexico City (1874). However, his hemorrhage recurred in the high altitude of Mexico City; he left for Corboda. Fernando Cortez Willett died at Corboda in 1875 of a hemorrhage. It was his wish to be buried in Mexico City, Mexico, at the United States National Cemetery, 3 1 Melchor Ocampo".

!SOURCES: Vermont Historical Magazine, Volume 39, pages 272-276, "A Different Kind of Yankee Conquistador," by Edward H. Worthen; Pictorial History Thirteenth Regiment Vermont Volunteers War of 1861-1865, 1910, by Ralph Orson Sturtevant and Carmi Lathrop Marsh; "Willett House Quarterly," Vol. II, No. 2, June, 1986, pages 247-248; Nathaniel Willett Bible Record, 1803 -1873, in possession (1997) of Dwight E. Willett of Springdale Farm, Woodbine, Iowa.

A letter from "Estes Park Col (Colorado), Mar 4th to My dear Lute, Yours of the 23rd ult is just at hand - I am delighted with the picture of your little girl & feel real proud to be the Uncle of so fine a looking little niece.... Many thanks too for the picture of Frank [Abbie 's mother], I will keep it safe until you are ready to redeam (sic.) it by a newer one." [Abbie was born in April 1872] Then a large section of advice, responding to Lute's request. It seems Lute is feeling very poverty stricken and unsettled, thinks of going to Kansas or Nebraska, what does Fernando think of his going to Colorado. Fernando says there is a very dark side to the newer colony towns and advises strongly that he stay where he is. ... "Your affectionate brother, Fernando" and a P.S. "I do not feel the interest in Colorado that will prompt me to write to your Professor. Not having had an eye to colonies I could not give any advice as to localities. How are the Dea's folks. Give them my love. John Hubbel is with me - has been here about 6 week s - has a terrible cough but I hope he will get better of it as the warm weather comes on. " [Could he mean the Dean's folks since it is followed by John Hubbel, Hannah Scott's husband, probably - see next letter.]

In the 1870 census, Magnolia Township, Harrison County, Iowa, page 19 [or 79] Fernando, age 27 born in VT is shown in Harris's household. Magnolia was the home of the Hillis family where Lucius met and married Francis Emma Hillis in 18 Mar 1871. [Lucius is not found anywhere in the 1870 census, so far.] A letter to Dear Mother Feb 1st, no year, mentions having preached at a suburban church nearby. Felt more near to Jesus than ever before. Says "You have heard before this that John Hubbel has left us - How strange it seems. I have written to Hannah and Emma... [John's widow and daughter, Hannah being Ham's sister and all Fernando's first cousins] hope they conclude to go to Vt. Why wouldnt it be a good thing for them to make their home with you until they can see some way offering a different course? I have written to Hamm [Scott] respecting it.... Your loving son, Fernando.

The Messinger, Daily and Weekly, Albert Clarke, Proprietor, St. Albans, Vt, Aug. 3, 1875. to Rev. R. Hicks, Bakersfield: Dear Sir. Your favor of this date is received. I deeply regre t that a previous engagement for Saturday evening will prevent me from accepting your kind invitation to go to Bakersfield and participate the next day in the services commemorative of our dear departed Willett. I regret, too, that his old chum and comrade Scott cannot be there. But fortunately Bakersfield people knew him, and to know him as boy and man, as citizen and soldier, as son, brother, neighbor, scholar, (citizen) and Christian, was at once a privilege and an instruction. Who ever knew him to do or say an inconsiderate thing? His example was ever noble and inspiring and it was worth all the more because it was sincere. He did not live merely to APPEAR good. He WAS good and everybody with whom he came in contact felt his character. I am sure that his army comrades now living in Bakersfield will all bear testimony to the patient endurance, the thoughtful care for himself and others, the ever cheerful disposition under hardship and sickness, and the heroic bravery in battle which characterized him, and when they remember, as they will, how one so well fitted to command was always cheerful to obey, they will reflect that character is always greater than success an d... He is gone, but his example lives. His life and memory are a perpetual benediction. They teach us that we can be gentle without effeminacy, patient without stupidity, brave without rudeness and pious without exclusiveness and gloom.... You will please convey to his afflicted mother and to our old comrades who join in his commemoration the poor condolence of a sympathizing friend, who remains, Sincerely yours, Albert Clarke. P.S. I trust you will furnish the 'Messenger' with an account of the services. If you preach a sermon and it is not too long, I should be glad to publish it. This letter is NOT for publication. A.C.

("Col. Albert Clarke, his beloved commander in Company G", p. 637, History of the 13th Regiment Vermont Volunteers 1910,Ralph Orson Sturtevant, Carmi Lathrop Marsh; this long memorial was probably written by his cousin Ham or Geo. Scott, covers from 632-638, most of the sketches cover two or three paragraphs. Two pictures of Fernando also are included in the book.) Xerox copy from Ron Gibson.

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  • Maintained by: Joy Jones
  • Originally Created by: S. Rich
  • Added: 10 Mar 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 66759876
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Pvt Fernando Cortez Willett (12 Jul 1842–18 Jun 1875), Find a Grave Memorial ID 66759876, citing Mexico City National Cemetery and Memorial, Cuauhtemoc, Cuauhtémoc Borough, Distrito Federal, Mexico ; Maintained by Joy Jones (contributor 47564563) .