Corp John Drain

Photo added by Ron & Marilyn Rittel

Corp John Drain

Clark County, Missouri, USA
Death 28 Feb 1940 (aged 96)
Montgomery City, Montgomery County, Missouri, USA
Burial Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, USA
Plot Plot: L2-00-41
Memorial ID 82120486 · View Source
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John Drain, Corp, Co. E, 65th Colored Infantry

According to the Daily Gate City obituary of Feb. 29, 1940,:

Drain was born a slave on Jan. 9, 1844, in Clark County, Mo. Owned by a Judge Llewlyn, Drain lived on his master's farm until the judge moved from Clark to Montgomery County.

At age 18 he ran away from the slave home and traveled under the cover of darkness through bitterly cold weather to reach Union forces at Wellsville, Mo.

Shortly after enlistment Drain, with about 150 other recruits, traveled by box car with no heat and only straw on the floor to St. Louis.

Drain and the others were mustered into the 67th Regiment of U.S. Colored Volunteers. After training, the soldiers were shipped to Helena, Ark., where the regiment engaged with Rebel forces in several small skirmishes.

Later, the regiment was nearly annihilated by Confederate forces at Port Hudson. All the officers were killed and the men were run over by the Rebel cavalry and were cut to pieces. Drain escaped by running into a bayou.

From there he made his way to the Mississippi River where he walked and crawled under the bank of the river until meeting up with Union forces farther upriver.

Drain later saw combat in several other battles until the regiment was sent to New Orleans. Eventually, Drain was mustered out of the service at Baton Rouge in January 1867.

Upon returning to civilian life, Drain took up farming in Missouri and eventually helped to found Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo.

Much of his later life was spent in Keokuk where he was an active member of the Bethel A.M.E. Church. According to the obituary, one of Drain's most treasured memories was when he traveled to the Gettysburg battlefield in 1938 with his son, Alonzo, where he encamped with thousands of other Civil War veterans, two years before he died.

Drain died Feb. 28, 1940, at the home of his daughter in Montgomery City, Mo. His body was returned to Keokuk where it laid in state at Greaves Mortuary until buried in Keokuk's Oakland Cemetery.
A ceremony honoring John Drain, Lee County's last Civil War veteran, was conducted April 26 at Oakland Cemetery, Keokuk.

The event, complete with taps, remarks and wreath placement at Drain's grave, was sponsored by the Lee County Veterans Project.

"We've gathered today to pay a long overdue thank you to a most remarkable man who escaped the shameful sin of slavery, the memory of which still shackles the spirit of America's past," said Terry Altheide, member of the Veterans Project and president of the Lee County Pioneer Cemetery Association.

By Terry Altheide
Published: Friday, April 25, 2008

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"John Drain, Corp, Co. E, 65th Cld Infantry"

Gravesite Details Buried, Mar 2, 1940, in a box provided by Greaves Funeral Home

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  • Maintained by: Ancestral Sleuth
  • Originally Created by: Bev
  • Added: 18 Dec 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 82120486
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Corp John Drain (9 Jan 1844–28 Feb 1940), Find A Grave Memorial no. 82120486, citing Oakland Cemetery, Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa, USA ; Maintained by Ancestral Sleuth (contributor 48171177) .