Biography of Jeremiah Hampton Squires
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Jeremiah Hampton Squires. One of the old and honored residents of Topeka, to which city he came thirty-seven years ago, is Jeremiah Hampton Squires, veteran of the Civil war, who is now living in comfortable retirement after a long and useful career as a business man and public official. Mr. Squires was born at Southampton, on Long Island, New York, September 11, 1842, and is the only survivor of the four children of Jeremiah and Phoebe (Jaegger) Squires, who were farming people.
Mr. Squires resided on the home farm on Long Island until reaching the age of seventeen years, and during this time acquired his education by attending the public schools and Southampton Academy. In the spring of 1860 he went to Columbus, Ohio, and, with the exception of the time he was a soldier in the Civil war, remained in the employ of one man at carpentering, as an apprentice, journeyman, foreman and partner, for nearly twenty years. Mr. Squires enlisted July 22, 1862, as a private in Company A, Ninety-fifth Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and within two weeks of the time he was enlisted was engaged in his first battle, at Richmond, Kentucky. In this engagement twenty-seven men of his company were killed or wounded, and here he received his first and only wound during the war which consisted of a bullet in the left hand. He, with 600 others of his regiment, was here captured and paroled for ninety days. He was then declared exchanged and rejoined his regiment, going into active service at Milliken’s Bend, in April, 1863, and being subsequently set to work digging a canal north of Vicksburg. Next he went to Grand Gulf, later to Jackson, and then to Vicksburg, where for six weeks he participated in the siege of that city, which finally fell into the hands of the North. His regiment then took part in the chase of Johnston’s army, which it met in the battle of Jackson, where it was ordered to uncover a masked battery. In so doing, Mr. Squires, then a sergeant, saw two officers of the enemy beating a retreat, followed them, and, on discovering them in a tent, covered them with his gun and took them as prisoners to the Union lines single-handed. While on the way from Vicksburg to Jackson, he was ordered to select four men and make a reconnoissance in the neighborhood of Black River, where the enemy were supposed to be occupying a fort on the river bank. Here they were surprised by about twenty-five of the enemy who were in the fort and were fired upon. The handful of Union men responded with a charge on the twenty-five Confederates, who retreated and crossed the river in boats, leaving the unguarded fort to be captured by a force of about one-fourth their own strength, one of the plucky Northerns having been dispatched to the Union commander with information regarding conditions. Later in the day, the commander of the Federal troops relieved the four men and they went on to Jackson as previously related. After Jackson the regiment went back to within about six miles of Vicksburg, where the men went into camp. Mr. Squires was then assigned to the duty of going to Columbus, Ohio, to secure drafted men to fill up the depleted ranks of the regiment, but, as there were none there, he was ordered to recruit. He was relieved in the early spring and rejoined his regiment at Memphis, Tennessee, June 1, 1864, and was then in the expedition sent out to check the advance of the Confederate leader, General Forrest. At Brice’s Cross Roads, Mississippi, the Union forces, numbering about 6,000 were defeated by the Southerners, who numbered some 10,000, and 136 men of Mr. Squires’ regiment were captured by the enemy, he being among the number. He was started to Andersonville Prison and for several days the only food obtained by the prisoners consisted of corn which they picked up from around the places where the animals had been fed. Finally, they reached the line of the railroad and were packed into box cars and sent to Andersonville stockade, where they arrived June 19, 1864. Mr. Squires experienced all the hardships, sufferings and tortures which incarceration in that awful prison meant, and from the weight of 175 pounds when he went in wasted away to eighty pounds, his weight when finally released. On November 24, 1864, with 10,000 other prisoners he was paroled and returned to Camp Chase, Ohio, to endeavor to regain his shattered energies. While at Andersonville, he had in some miraculous manner succeeded in secreting 60 cents from the search of his guards, and with this he bought writing paper and stamps and sent a letter to his sister, who was then living at Columbus, Ohio. Six months after the letter has been written it was handed to him at Columbus. In the spring of 1865 Mr. Squires rejoined his regiment at Mobile, Alabama, but the war being virtually over, he was stationed at Enterprise, Mississippi, doing guard duty for the rest of his service. He was finally ordered North and discharged at Louisville, Kentucky, August 18, 1865, at which time he held the rank of orderly sergeant.
At Columbus, Ohio, July 27, 1867, the brave young soldier was married to Virginia Elizabeth Schimp. He continued to be engaged at carpentering and contracting in Ohio until 1879, when he came to Kansas and purchased 240 acres of raw land in Pottawatomie County, six miles northwest of Waumega. In the fall of that year his family joined him and he continued to be engaged in farming for six years, since which time he has resided at Topeka. For several years he followed real estate ventures and during that time was elected and served three terms as a member of the Topeka Board of Education, and later was elected and served four terms as city clerk. Mr. Squires is a republican. He is a popular comrade of the Grand Army of the Republic and a valued member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Knights and Ladies of Security, the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Modern Woodmen of America. He and his family are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. and Mrs. Squires are the parents of three children: Ralph W.; Frank C., an achitect of Topeka; and Anna L.