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John W. Winn (1835-1913)

John Wheat Winn was born July 1, 1835, in Charlestown (Suffolk County), Massachusetts, to Bridge Winn and Susan Murphy Winn.  “Wheat” was his grandmother’s maiden name.

He married Adelia Marietta Eaton (1839-1925) in 1856 and they had four children: Mary Alice (Mrs. James Stirratt), 1860-1927; Eliza Cornelia, 1863-1912; A. Jay, 1865-1942; and Delia I. (Mrs. Harry Miller), 1867-1954.

John Winn was living in the Town of Clifton in Pierce County when he enlisted, on May 10, 1861, in the Prescott Guards—Company B of the 6th Wisconsin Infantry.  He was promoted to corporal in 1861 and was wounded at South Mountain on September 14, 1862.  His left leg was amputated and he was discharged because of his wounds on December 22, 1862.

John W. Winn died June 29, 1913, in River Falls, Wisconsin, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

Obituary from The River Falls Journal
(River Falls Micro 108); July 3, 1913, issue.


John W. Winn

See footnote 1

John W. Winn, G. A. R. veteran and pioneer resident of Pierce county, died at his home in this city Sunday after  a long illness.  Tuesday would have been his seventy-eighth birthday anniversary.

John Wheat Winn was born July 1, 1835, at Charleston, Mass.  He came to Pierce county in 1853, settling in Clifton, where he went into the employ of P. Manning, who was then operating the Clifton lumber and grist mills.  Later he purchased the farm, now known as the Gilbert Ewart place.  On December 3, 1856, he married Miss Adelia M. Eaton, of Clifton.   Just before the Civil War Mr. Winn sold his farm in Clifton, and they moved  to this city, where in 1861 he enlisted in Co. B, 6th Wis. Inf.   He served until September 2, 1863, when he lost  his left limb in the battle of South Mountain Top.  He spent the winter recuperating at the home of his sister in Massachusetts and then returned to this city.  He was elected to the office of County Clerk the following spring and served in that capacity for five years, making his home in Ellsworth.  He then built a hotel at Ellsworth, the Winn house, now known as the Forest House, and operated that until 1878, when he moved with his family back to this city, where he has resided ever since.  Up to the time of his final illness he had been engaged in light farming.  He served two terms in the City Council as alder man from the Fourth Ward.

Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Winn—Mrs. James Stirratt, of Oak Grove, Miss Eliza Winn, who died last December, A. J. Winn, of this city and D. I. Winn, of Graysville, Tenn.  A sister, Mrs. Mary Tillson, of Schenectady, N Y, also survives him.

The funeral services were held at the home yesterday morning, Rev. G. A. Bird officiating.  I. N. Nichols Post, G. A. R., of which Mr. Winn was an honored member, attended the services in a body, and performed the last rites at the grave in Greenwood cemetery.

Biographical Sketch from History of the Saint Croix Valley
Edited by Augustus B. Easton, Chicago: H.C. Cooper, Jr. & Co., 1909 (F587 .S14 E3): pp. 635-36.

John W. Winn, now living a retired life at River Falls, Wis., was born at Charlestown, Mass., July 1, 1835, and was educated in the town of his birth.  His father died when our subject was two years old, and his mother when he was six years of age.  He went to live with his aunt, and in 1854, at the age of nineteen, came to Wisconsin in company with Beldon Eaton, and settled in Clifton township, Pierce county, on 160 acres of government land on section 14, which he partially improved.  He lived on this farm some time and then sold it.  He then rented a farm for three years, and when the Civil War broke out, he enlisted in Company B, Sixth Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and was wounded at the battle of South Mountain, September 14, 1862.  He lost his left leg in this fight by a bullet wound and was then discharged from further service at Boston, Mass., December 14, 1862.  He was in three important engagements, Gainsville, Second Bull Run and at South Mountain.  After he recovered he returned to Wisconsin and took up his residence at Prescott, Pierce county.  Here he began to learn the shoemakers’ trade.  He was elected county clerk of Pierce county and served a period of five years.  During that time he was appointed postmaster of Ellsworth, Wis., which office he held until 1869.  He then built a hotel, which was called The Winn, which he run. [sic] until 1881.  He then gave up this business and moved his family to River Falls, Wis., and has since resided here.  He purchased a piece of property and erected a large and comfortable home.  He was elected city marshal of River Falls for one year ;  was elected alderman of the Fourth ward for two years, and in 1907 he was again elected to the same office.  He is a Republican and a strong advocate of the cause of temperance.  He is a member of the G. A. R., I. N. Nichols Post of River Falls, and has held all of the offices of the post.  He is also a member I. O. O. F.  Mr. Winn married Adelia M. Eaton, December 3, 1856.  She was born in Orleans county, New York, July 22, 1839, daughter of Sidney S. and Harriet (Holcomb) Eaton and a sister of Belden R. Eaton, of River Falls.  Mrs. Winn has had four children :  Mary, wife of James Stirratt, of Oak Grove, Wis., has three children, Frank, Ralph and Pearl ;  Eliza, the second child, was educated in the High school and the State Normal at River Falls, and for thirteen years was a teacher in the schools of Pierce county, being now at home ;  Jay married Jennie Teare and has four children, Charles, Carriebell, Harry and Esther.  D. I. resides at Graysville, Tenn., married Harry Miller and has three children living, Clyde, Clinton and Eldon.

Election Articles from The Prescott Journal
(River Falls Micro 108)

From the October 3, 1863, issue:

The County Ticket.

Since the nominations by the Union Co. Convention last week, we have conversed with men from nearly every town in the county with regard to them, and the feeling is of general satisfaction.

We believe there will be but little opposition to JOHN WINN for Clerk of the Board. Those who have the best opportunity to know, know that the business of that important office will be safe in his hands, and the fact that this election is to fill out a term which the people have once unanimously given to him, is a strong argument in his favor. The only objection we have heard urged against him, is the fact that he did not appear and qualify last January. It is sufficient answer to this, to say that his wound was in such condition that it was impossible for him to do so.


A great battle is a most stirring, sublime and awful exhibition of man’s passion and power. Whose cheeks have not blanched as he has read of the great battles of the present war—the impetuous charge—the defiant retreat—the storming of batteries that blaze with fires of death—the resolute lacing of the withering storm of balls—the deadly encounter, hand to hand, a flash of steel and death—the gaping ranks—the mangled wounded—the distorted dead

“the din of arms—the yell
Of savage rage—the shriek of agony—
The groan of death, commingled in one sound
Of undistinguished horrors.”¹

It is terrible to think of; it must be awful to be there. JOHN WINN has been there. He has breathed the death laden air of the battle field—marched with the brave battallions [sic] that upheld the starry banner of the free, and the hissing ball has torn through the flesh.

All that you who fear the draft, dread, he has seen and suffered—suffered that we might be safe. Crippled in our service, he is placed before us as a candidate for a position within our gift. There are but few who will not feel it a privilege to give him their vote.

From the October 10, 1863, issue:

JOHN WINN.—The local editor of the Hastings Northwestern Democrat, says:

We notice by the Prescott JOURNAL that our old comrade in arms John Winn has received the nomination for Clerk of the Board of Supervisors.  We hope that every voter in Pierce County, whether Democrat or Republican, male or female, will give him the full benefit of their vote.

From the October 31, 1863, issue:


When you go to vote remember that last fall you voted for John Winn.

Remember that he is entitled to the office and competent to fill it.

Remember that he fell on the bloody field of South Mountain—that he lay twenty-four hours uncared for—that he was removed to a hospital and lay there two days before his wound was dressed—that now, crippled but not discouraged, he is a candidate for a deirable [sic: desirable] place within our gift.  Remember that he has suffered in our cause, and vote for brave John Winn, of the immortal “Iron Brigade.”

1.  A similar photograph of Winn was published with the obituary, but the copy on the microfilm is extremely poor. This photograph comes from
2.  From Robert Southey’s epic poem Madoc, published in 1805.

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