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Melbourne J. Kenyon (1839-1906)

Melbourne J. Kenyon was born in August of 1839 to James and Elizabeth Kenyon in Humphrey, Cattaraugus County, New York.  Byron had two siblings, Dudley and Byron Smith Kenyon.  By the 1860 federal census the family was living in Osceola, Polk County, Wisconsin.

Both Melbourne and Byron served in the Civil War, having joined the Polk County Rifles early in the War.  At a meeting of the Polk  County Rifles on May 17, 1861 (held in Kenyon’s Hall in Osceola), the brothers were among a small group who asked to be discharged from the Rifles so that they could join the Hudson City Guards, who were “hourly expecting a call from the Governor for immediate service.”  Three days later, on May 20, 1861, in Hudson, the brothers enlisted in the Hudson City Guards.  The Guards left Hudson for “basic training” in Racine on June 14, 1861, and the entire company mustered into federal service on  July 2, 1861, in Racine, as Company G of the 4th Wisconsin Infantry.  (The 4th was “mounted” in August of 1863 and was officially changed to the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry on September 1, 1863.)

In that initial muster roll, Melbourne is listed as a single, 21-year-old lumberman from Osceola.  He was born in Humphrey, New York, had blue eyes, light hair, and a fair complexion, and was 5 feet 10 inches tall.

He was discharged on October 7, 1863, and commissioned as 1st lieutenant in the 10th U.S. Colored Troops (Corps d’Afrique), also known as the 1st Louisiana Heavy Artillery.

Melbourne J. Kenyon died March 29, 1906, and is buried in Lyons Cemetery in Lyons, Burt County, Nebraska.

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