Front View of Thomas House

Ward-Thomas Museum

Ohio Association of Historical Societies and Museums

Five images of buildings and grounds

John Kelley Eanse Company F
29th Illinois’ Colored Infantry.

Ward — Thomas Museum
Home of the Niles Historical Society
503 Brown Street Niles, Ohio 44446

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Mail: PO Box 368 Niles, Ohio 44446

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John Kelley Eanse Grave marker

John Kelley Eanse Grave marker

John Kelley Eanse Company F
29th Illinois’ Colored Infantry.

Colored Units during the Civil War had 80 officers and 16 soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor. Black soldiers were about 10 % of the Union Army with approximately 179,000 men. 19,000 were in the Navy.

The 29th Colored Infantry was organized at Quincy, IL on April 24, 1864. They were first assigned to the defenses of Washington, then attached to the Army of the Potomac. They saw fighting at Petersburg, VA as well as the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg on July 20, 1864. They were present at the surrender at Appomattox Court House, then went to the Texas border where they were mustered out on November 6, 1865.

During the war 30 officers and 43 men were killed and 188 died of disease. John Kelley Eanse survived, he found his way to Niles, Ohio where he worked at Holloway Funeral Home. Upon his death the newspaper said he was a good worker. He died May 20, 1921 after a week’s illness of pneumonia at the Warren City Hospital.

The news article said he was a very active man for his age which was thought to be 80 years old. He was a faithful employee during his 7 years in Niles where he won many loyal friends. He was without any living relatives. His death certificate states he was born in Wisconsin, a widower and his mother’s and father’s names are unknown.

From Holloway Funeral Home, he was buried in Niles Cemetery. The Ladies of the Auxiliary provided him with an American flag and a minister conducted the funeral service. He rests under the flag pole on a gentle slope with other Civil War soldiers.
Carole Babyak, January 2023

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