History of Samuel W. & Minerva Cochran  

Samuel W. Cochran (Son of Thomas  B. Cochran) was born in Blackford Co., Washington, IN., June 27, 1828.  Samuel died after 1865. (Exact date and place of death are unknown)  He married Minerva Palmer in Indiana, Jan. 16, 1851.  Minerva was born in Perry Co., Ohio on March 21, 1835.  Minerva was the daughter of Samuel Hamilton Palmer and Mary Nancy (Polly) Balsey.  Minerva died July 25, 1919 in Barada, Ne., at 84 years of age.  Her body was interred 1919, in Harris Cemetery, Barada, Richardson County, Ne. 

There were a variety of ways to avoid being drafted during the Civil War.  Both the North and South had exemptions to the draft.  Certain government officials were exempt, as were people in certain occupations, i.e. clergymen, telegraphers, etc.  In addition, you could pay a commutation fee, which got your draft postponed.  In the North the fee was $300. You could also provide a substitute.  That is, get someone not liable for the draft to serve in your place, such as a resident foreigner or discharged veteran.  The substitute was paid a fee by the person desiring to avoid the draft.  The substitute could charge as high a fee as the market would bear, which was usually more than the commutation fee.  It was a common practice for substitutes to sign up for someone and then desert, keeping the money and would often sign up again for someone else.  $300 in 1864, was equal to about $3,000.00 in 1999 dollars.

A lawyer bonded Samuel to serve for him and he was paid $400.  (If Samuel was born in IN., had he already served once?)  He enlisted as a private for the North in the Civil War, 130th Regiment, Company I, Infantry, Blackford County IN.  He mustered in at Camp Stillwell, Kokomo IN. (According to Civil War records, from the National Archives Wash. D.C., the 130th was mustered in Dec. 1863 and mustered out on Dec. 2, 1865)  Records show Samuel, "joined for duty and enrolled" Jan 29, 1864, Hartford City, for a three year enlistment.  He was to serve under Capt. Barnes, but he never joined the company.  Instead he deserted on Feb. 1, 1864.  He was arrested for desertion on Nov. 9, 1864 in Blackford County, IN.

Samuel was then re-assigned to the 14th Battery in IN.  His last letter was written from Kokomo Guard House on Nov. 15, 1864, where he was confined for desertion.  He was sent to Indianapolis and after receiving his bounty and clothing; he was reported as deserting again, on Nov. 19, 1864.  This time he never went home and was not heard from again.  Editor's note: (Some speculate he was shot for desertion, which was a common practice for desertion in those days.  However, war records indicate only those that deserted several times or deserted and went to the enemy with their rifle were shot for desertion.)

Although Minerva received the $400 Samuel received from the lawyer, she was either unable to support her children, or she was saving up money to move to Nebraska.  As, (according to 1870 census of Blackford, Co., IN.) her daughter, Josephine stayed with her at Carter's, her brother.  The three boys, Samuel, Caleb and Leander, were bound out to live and work for families until age 21.  One story says Samuel, Jr. died at age 19.  However, when Caleb and Leander reached 21, they moved with Minerva to Barada, NE. and lived with Minerva's brother Astynax (Stein) Palmer.  Josephine stayed in Indiana.  This was in 1877.  Minerva lived with her brother until her son, Caleb, married and then she moved in with him.  She lived with Caleb, until his death in 1918.  She then moved back in with her brother, Stein and lived with him until she died in 1919. (Above info provided by Janice Lynn Chase)  

Minerva kept the last letter (see below) she received from Samuel, her husband.  The letter was passed down with the family bible to Caleb's wife, Elizabeth, then to their daughter, Nell, and then to one of Nell's daughters, Violet McTaggart, Falls City, NE.  It was written from the Kokomo, IN. guardhouse and dated Nov. 15, 1864. 

"Minerva, I have not much to write. I am in Kokomo in the guardhouse. I expect to go to Indianapolis this evening and I suppose be put in the 14th battery.  I am not certain yet Minerva.  It will go hard with me.  You must cheer up under these afflictions.  I am treated better than I expected.  Minerva you must stay at home and do the best you can.  I know it will be lonesome if I don't get to come home.  Whenever I get any money, I will send it home to you.  Minerva I want you to write to me, be sure to write to Indianapolis.  When I get to Indianapolis I will write some more." 

This was the last anyone heard from Samuel. 

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