US GenWeb

This biography is from HEROES OF ALBANY, by Rufus W. Clark, D. D.

John G. Perkins

John G. Perkins, son of John H. and Elizabeth A. Perkins, was born in Albany November 15th, 1846. He was an only son, and during his boyhood he attended the Experimental school. While in Albany, the family attended the Congregational church, and he was a member of the Sabbath school. In 1857 his parents removed to Hoboken, New Jersey, where he joined the Dutch Reformed Sabbath school; his father being a member of the Dutch church.

At the commencement of the war, his father, like many others, lost all his property in the Southern trade. He then went to Washington on business, where he was taken sick and died; leaving a wife and two children (a son and daughter) to mourn his loss.

After his father's death, John had a situation offered to him in a dry goods store in Columbus, Ohio, where he had an uncle residing. His uncle being a member of the Methodist church, he joined the Bible Class connected with that church. He had not been there very long when his Sabbath school teacher commenced raising a company for the war. He being anxious to fight for his country, joined his teacher's company in August 1862; being then only sixteen years of age. Being unaccustomed to any hardsliips, he was taken sick while on board the boat that was conveying his regiment, the One Hundred and Thirteenth Ohio Volunteers, from Louisville, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee. He grew worse, and when they arrived at Nashville it was necessary to take him to the General hospital, No. 3, where after two weeks' sickness he died of typhoid pneumonia, at the age of seventeen.

Word was sent to his mother of his sickness; but before she could get to him she received tidings of his death. She then went to several of the leading men of this city, to ascertain if she could have his remains sent home; but they gave her no encouragement whatever, as no bodies were brought North at that time. Through the kindness, however, of Dr. Ewing, the body was embalmed and placed in a metallic coffin, and subsequently sent home. The mother received many letters from the doctor and the nurse regarding her son. In one from the doctor, he says: "Your son fully realized the awful change that was so soon to take place; but the nurses all assured me that he was resigned and happy, and appeared to feel that beyond the grave, he would be free from the strife and turmoil that had surrounded him for the last few months. He spoke often of his mother and his little sister Grace, and wanted to see them very much; but that pleasure was denied him. I believe he was truly worthy of a mother's love."

In one of the letters she received from his Captain, he says: "I truly sympathize with you in your loss, and I would like to have been with your son in his last moments. I have been told that he seemed anxious to see me to tell me something; perhaps a message to his mother or his little sister; or perhaps he wanted me to petition the throne of grace for him. I would willingly have done all I could to relieve his sufferings; but he is gone. What is our loss may be his gain. 'God doeth all things well;' let us trust in Him."

His mother received many letters from her son while he was in the army. In one he says: "I have bought a nice Bible, and shall read it every day. If I get killed, or die on the battle field, don't mourn for me; but remember I die defending my country, and I hope we shall all meet in Heaven."

In another letter written just one month before he died, he speaks of his camp life and reading his Bible. He then sent his mother a lock of his hair.

John entered the army from a pure love of liberty. He abhorred the system of slavery, and took every opportunity to show his kindness to the unfortunate colored race.

On one occasion, having found an aged colored man who had no home and was without food, he took his own dinner to him, and supplied his wants until he was provided with a home.

While in the army, John was greatly beloved by his officers and comrades. He was also an affectionate and dutiful son, and his early death has filled the heart of his widowed mother with the deepest sorrow.

Send comments or suggestions to:
Debby Masterson

Go Back to Albany County Biographies
Go Back to Home Page