Elias Medley, the son of Joseph and Jemima Medley, was born 4 July 1825. There is a belief that Elias volunteered to fight in the Civil War. I sometimes wonder if that was because of his patriotic birthday and a sense of duty for the Union? Or was it instead due to the $300 he would receive for volunteering in the place of someone else? Whatever the reason, Elias was enlisted in Company K with the 1st Ohio Cavalry in the fall of 1861, and immediately the regiment would encounter Confederate units in early 1862 during regular scouting missions. On 25 July 1862, the company Elias served with, as well as accompanying E company, were taken prisoner at Courtland, Alabama by Colonel Roddy’s regiment of the Confederate Cavalry. All were exchanged within months.
On New Years Day, 1864, the regiment marched to camp at Pulaski, Tennessee. While there, Elias and other veterans whose term of service were about to expire were called upon to re-enlist. Most of the men, including Elias, did re-enlist and they were given thirty days furlough to go home to Ohio. During this time, Elias took the opportunity to marry Miss Elizabeth Campnell, the daughter of Josiah and Lovina Campnell.
I have no idea how they met or how they would have known one another. Elizabeth’s parents were already in Putnam County, Ohio (her mother died there in 1860) and Elias’ parents stayed in Belmont County. The marriage took place in Franklin County. One guess is that because Elizabeth’s younger siblings were born in Franklin County, perhaps they ran into each other on his way home from his service in the war? Was it an impromptu marriage? Too many questions – not enough answers.
After their marriage on 1 March 1864, he reported back to Camp Chase and left there one week later, arriving in Nashville on the 11th. Elias is reported to have suffered an injury when lightning struck a tree that he and another soldier were under at the time before the entire company was mustered out of service on 13 September 1865 at Hilton Head, South Carolina.
After the war, he returned to his bride and spent some time in Franklin County, Ohio where they started their family and cared for Elizabeth’s aged father. The family would soon move on to Putnam Conty were Elizabeth’s father, Josiah, would be buried with his wife in 1885. From there, Elias and his family settled just a little further on in Paulding County, where they lived along the railroad tracks 2 miles east of the small village of Hedges. It was at this homestead where tragedy would strike the family in September of 1897, when while visiting his grandfather Elias, young Jesse Parrish – who was not yet two years old – slipped out of the house unnoticed and onto the railroad tracks where he was killed by a passing train.
A few years later, Elias Medley would begin his journey in and out of the Sandusky Soldier’s Home, his first admittance being in 1889. Once Elizabeth passed away in 1907, he lived with family members until he was re-admitted into Sandusky in November of 1917. He passed away a few months later, 16 February 1918. Elias and his wife are buried together in the same cemetery as her parents in Kalida, Putnam County, Ohio.
This post originally appeared at