Thursday, June 6, 2013

On this date in Minnesota History: June 6

June 6, 1923 – A plaque memorializing Josias R. King, the first man in the U.S. to volunteer for the Civil War, was placed in St. Paul’s Union Depot on this date by the local DAR. The plaque has been located in the Minn. Territorial Pioneer Log Cabin on the Minn. State Fairgrounds since 1977.

Josias R. King of St. Paul was the first man in the United States to volunteer and the first Minnesotan to enlist in the Civil War. Company A 1st Minnesota Voluntary Infantry was tendered by Gov. Alexander Ramsey immediately after the surrender of Fort Sumter, April 14, 1861, and accepted by President Lincoln before his formal call for troops was issued. Thus giving to this state the honor of being first to come to the front in defense of the Union. Near this spot stood Pioneer Guard Hall where the enlistment took place.

Placed by Nathan Hale Chapter, Daughters if the American Revolution, June 6, 1923

Josias R. King. The bronze tablet honoring Josias R. King was designed and produced by Gorham & Co. of New York. Their design was chosen over those submitted by Tiffany and by Reed and Burton, all of New York.

The marker was placed in the Union Depot, Saint Paul, Minnesota, as it was a public area near Pioneer Guard Hall at 65 E. Third Street between Cedar and Minnesota Streets, where Josias R. King volunteered for the Civil War.

When the Union Depot was no longer used as a depot, the husbands of Mrs. Paul Bretz and Mrs. Alfred O. Frank of Saint Paul rescued the marker and carried to the attic of Mrs. Bretz.

After the death of Mr. Paul Bretz, Mrs. Bretz moved into an apartment. The marker was the moved to the bedroom of Mrs. John P. Arnold of White Bear Lake. It has remained there until it was moved to the Minnesota Territorial Pioneer Log Cabin on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in time for the 1977 Fair.

Josias R. King Colonel Josias R. King, veteran of the Civil War, died at his home in St. Paul on February 10, 1916. His funeral service at the Cathedral was attended by Governor Burnquist and members of his staff, by Mayor Powers and members of the City Council, be veterans of the Grand Army and by many citizens of St. Paul.

The sermon was preached by Archbishop Ireland. Colonel King was born in Washington, D.C., on February 21, 1832. He came to St. Paul in 1860. When Gov. Ramsey on April 15, 1861, telegraphed from Washington, President Lincoln’s first call for volunteers, Colonel King immediately offered his services and was actually the first volunteer to be enrolled for the war. He joined Company “A” of the First Minnesota Regiment. He won his Captaincy at Bull Run and was present at the battles of Edwards Ferry, Yorktown, Fair Oaks, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Charleston and Chancellorsville. Throughout his life, the Colonel was a devoted Catholic as he was an admirable soldier and citizen.

Photos taken by Pamela J. Erickson. Released into the public domain June 6, 2013, 

as long as acknowledgement included.  

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