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Local History

John Hutchison

104-year-old Ava Man State’s last surviving Civil War Vet  News & Leader May 28, 1950

"...There are only 39 surviving Civil War veterans in the country - 16 Union soldiers and 23 who served the Confederacy. Missouri can claim only one of them. This state’s last surviving Civil War veteran is John Hutchison, a Yankee who lives seven miles northwest of Ava in Douglas County. He was born in Grainger County, Tennessee in 1846. He enlisted in the Union Army at the age of 18. His service was on the Arkansas line and was meant to put down the guerrilla troops.

"One of his memories is of a skirmish were the captain was ordered to kill every man we found and burn every house within 10 miles of the line. ‘Well now of course we didn’t do that. But one day we saw three men riding across a field. We took out after them and when we got close we saw one of them was wearing a Federal coat. When we got right up on them, the fellow with the Federal coat, he had a Confederate uniform on underneath, [he] turned and fired at one of our men. Hit him right in the side.’ All three of the Confederate soldiers were killed.

"He continues, ‘We sent out a patrol one night and took a prisoner. He told us there were 200 Confederates camped just over the hill [in a house]. We charged the house and there wasn’t a man in it. They’d heard we was comin’ and had took out just 25 minutes before. But there was a woman in the house and she came out a-yellin’ for Jeff Davis. She said ‘You damned blue-bellied Yankees.’ One of the fellows went up to her and drew his pistol. ‘If you holler that again’, I’ll bust you over the head with this.’ She yelled it again, but he didn’t hit her. She yelled it just as long as we were in sight. I remember that well.’

"Mr. Hutchison was discharged at Springfield in May 1865 and he took up farming. He spent most of his middle years in Ozark County, near Gainesville.

"As a Civil War veteran, Mr. Hutchison draws a pension of $120 a month.

"Missouri’s last surviving Civil War veteran doesn’t seem to be impressed by the peculiar distinction [of being the last]. When a reporter told him about it, his reply was ‘do tell’ with just a trace of a smile on his wizened face."

John Hutchison served as a Privet in Co. I, 46 Regiment Missouri Infantry. He enlisted September 7, 1864 and was mustered in November 13, 1864 in Springfield.[Fold3]

The black and white photo, top, accompanied the newspaper article. The color guard of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (lower left), Phelps Camp #66, honored Mr. Hutchison in a ceremony in 2001. Left to right, Dave Mills, Michael Price, Jeff Patrick, Randy Van Landuyt, and Chris Strodtman. Photo courtesy of Michael Price. The color guard of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (right), Phelps Camp #66, honor Mr. Hutchison in a ceremony in 2011. Left to right Gary Riley, Jeff, Dave Coffman standing behind Greg Wait, and Larry Toll holding a wreath. Photo courtesy of John Rutherford.

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