For much of the last year, veterans advocate Nick Haupricht has been on a mission to find and verify basic information about 17 Congressional Medal of Honor winners with ties to Lucas County.
As chairman of Remembrance Inc., a group dedicated to building and refurbishing war memorials, he wants to correct the misinformation on memorials in Toledo.
The biggest question mark that remains in his Medal of Honor research centers on Civil War veteran Pvt. James Richmond, a member of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry who was born in Maine in 1843 but grew up in North Toledo in a community then known as Manhattan. Mr. Haupricht wants to know Mr. Richmond’s date of birth and the city where he was born. He also is trying to verify whether Mr. Richmond was black, as at least one source states.
“We’re looking for anybody who might have a Bible or a family tree or pictures of the Richmond family or the Stephens family,” Mr. Haupricht said.
Census records show that in 1850, Mr. Richmond’s mother, Mary, was married to Edward Stephens. She had five children at the time — James, who was 10, along with what appear to be two younger sets of twins — George and Georgeinea, both 2, and David and Adelia, both 1 — who all bear the last name Richmond.
Mr. Richmond received the military’s highest award for capturing a Confederate battle flag during the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. He was wounded at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House the following year and died of his injuries June 3, 1864.
Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the Toledoan is listed by the cemetery as one of four black Medal of Honor recipients interred there, although Mr. Haupricht said he has been unable to verify through other sources that he was indeed African-American.
The African American Civil War Museum in Washington had no record of Mr. Richmond, Mr. Haupricht said, although its collection is focused on African-American units. The 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was not an African-American unit.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society informed him that it has no evidence Mr. Richmond was black and questioned the veracity of Arlington’s list.
“In fact, his enlistment papers describe him as having a light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair,” wrote Laura Jowdy, of the society, which is based in Mount Pleasant, S.C. “I would say the Arlington Web Site is in error.”
Mr. Haupricht isn’t convinced. Census records placing the Richmond and Stephens families in Manhattan — a predominantly black community at that time — as well as the fact that Mr. Richmond was buried in Section 27 at Arlington — a burial area for the first black combat soldiers from the Civil War — cause him to believe Mr. Richmond was black. He has requested Private Richmond’s death certificate and enlistment papers from the National Archives and Records Administration but hopes someone in the Toledo area has documentation that would help solve the mystery.
Among the other Medal of Honor winners who either were born, lived, enlisted, or died in Lucas County, Mr. Haupricht also is trying to find out:
- The date of birth in 1844 and burial place of Civil War veteran Franklin Carr, who entered the Union Army in Toledo and was last known to be living in Oklahoma.
- The date of birth of Civil War veteran Mark Wood, who was born in 1839 in England but served with the Ohio 21st Infantry and received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in Andrews’ Raid.
- The city where Civil War veterans John S. Kountz and William Halstead entered the service.
- The city where Oscar J. Upham, a U.S. Marine who fought in the Boxer Rebellion in China, entered the service.
Mr. Haupricht said that once his research is complete, the information will be used on a new plaque Remembrance Inc. plans to unveil at its second annual Medal of Honor dinner on Oct. 27. Anyone with information that might help fill in the gaps is asked to call Mr. Haupricht, 419-270-2655 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-724-6129.
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