Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Owl Creek Boys - John M. Matheny
Civil War Pension card
From the post on the “Illustrious Men of Owl Creek” one of the boys from Owl Creek, John M. Matheny, was mentioned as being one of the 'brave Owl Creek boys who offered their lives a sacrifice on the alter of their country in the dark hours of the great Civil War.' I've made it a personal project to research the lives of these boys. I had thought the Coffland brothers were hard to find, but John was even more elusive. Almost all that could be found of John was a mention of his military career. From the Brown County Democrat article of Feb. 8, 1906 John Matheny was named as Colonel of the 82nd Regiment Indiana Volunteers. He mustered in as a soldier of Company H in 1862 and apparently he quickly went up the ranks.
John M. Matheny was the son of Francis A. and Eliza L. Matheny and was born about 1835 just after his family came to Indiana from Kentucky. In the 1850 census they were living in Washington Township and John gave his occupation as clerk. Shortly afterward he moved to Saline County, Missouri where he married his wife, Sarah Cheuvront on April 26, 1857. They then moved back to Brown County shortly before the war probably by 1858 because he was in the 1858 tax lists there in Washington Township. At the start of the war John answered the call for his country. He served from 1862 till 1865 still living in Brown County. After this time he and his family became extremely elusive again.
It was extremely difficult to find him or his family in any federal census afterward. A Google search led to several posts on Genealogy websites that helped to find his movements from Brown County. From this I was able to determine that he and his family moved on to Nebraska. One of the posts gave his location in the 1870 census in Ashland, Saunders County, Nebraska. His household consisted of John M Matheny age 35 occupation carpenter b. Indiana Sarah Matheny age 33 wife b. Ohio, Francis Matheny age 8 son b. Indiana, and Laura Matheny age 4 daughter b. Indiana.
1881 Nebraska State Census, Cass County.
He shows up is in the Nebraska State Census of 1876 and 1881 where they were living in Cass County. A list of his children from the 1881 state census gave his children’s names as Frank age 19 born Indiana, Laura age 14 born Indiana, and Cora T. Matheny age 8 born Nebraska. Other records are spotty; John M. Matheny was listed in the 1893 Veterans census in Greenwood, Cass County, Nebraska. His wife died in 1889 and she is in the burial records on USGenweb (Nebraska - Cass County), but nothing is found for John. On line sources give his full name as John Milton Matheny and his death in 1895. No other information is available as to where John is buried or where he died. Did he get recognition for his military service in Cass County? Does he have a Civil War stone on his grave? All this would have to be more fully documented by a family researcher. He most certainly was remembered by his comrades back on Owl Creek in Brown County, Indiana.
From the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion; Indiana Adjutant General Records: Matheny, John of Nashville, Ind. Aug. 9, 1862 Captain, Co. H, 82nd Ind. Infantry Regiment. March 4, 1864, Lt. Col. Sept. 30 and Oct. 31, 1864 regimental commander; Nov. 15-Dec. 21, 1864 commanded regiment during Savannah, Ga. (March to the sea) campaign and January-April 1865 Carolina campaign; June 9, 1865 mustered out at Washington, D.C.