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Medal of Honor Recipients from Washington, Part 1: Civil War to Early Twentieth Century

HistoryLink.org Essay 10032 : Printer-Friendly Format

In the early 1900s Washington state had 20 living Medal of Honor recipients. They had come to the state seeking opportunities or they retired from military service here and stayed. Some became active in local affairs and others represented the state at national events. Most led quiet lives with little or no mention of their medals for heroism.  Seven of the medal holders lived in the Washington Soldiers Home at Orting or in the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. This is Part 1 of a set of three that includes all Medal of Honor recipients from Washington or buried here.

Washington Medal of Honor Recipients

Myron Ranney (1846-1910). Myron Ranney was born in New York State and served in the 13th New York Infantry. He received the Medal of Honor for exceptional heroism at the Civil War Second Battle of Bull Run on August 30, 1862. Under heavy fire, a wounded Private Ranney carried his unit colors off the battleground preventing their capture. Discharged in 1865 he returned to New York State but after a few years came west, settling in Kamilche, Washington, and lived in the area 30 years. Myron Ranney proudly participated in the Union veteran’s social organization, Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.). His grave is in the International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery, Tumwater, Washington.

Hazard Stevens (1842-1918). Hazard Stevens was born in Rhode Island and moved with his family to Olympia, Washington, when his father became the Washington territorial governor.  Both father and son volunteered for Union army service during the Civil War. Major Hazard Stevens received the Medal of Honor for valor in the capture of Fort Huger, Virginia, on April 19, 1863. He left the service in 1866 with the rank of brevet brigadier general.  In August 1870 Hazard Stevens and P. B. Van Trump (1838-1916) made the first recorded ascent of Mount Rainier.  In 1874 Hazard Stevens moved to Massachusetts and served in the state legislature. He returned to Olympia in 1914 and built a diary farm named Cloverfields.  The farm house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hazard Stevens is buried in the Island Cemetery, Newport Rhode Island.

John Warden (1841-1906). John Warden joined the Union Army from Illinois. On May 5, 1863, at Vicksburg, First Lieutenant Warden led a unit from a 150-man volunteer storming party to attack a strongly held Confederate line. Almost one-half of the volunteer storming party was killed. Warden received the medal for his exceptional heroism in leading attack forces. He moved to Washington after his military service and lived in Orting, Washington, in the Soldiers Home Colony and is buried in the Orting City Cemetery.

Matthew Bickford (1839-1918). Matthew Bickford was born and joined the Union Army from Illinois. On May 22, 1863 Corporal Bickford led an assault of a volunteer storming party against a well-defended Confederate line at Vicksburg.  Heavy casualties ensued in the failed assault. This was followed by a 47-day siege and Union victory. In 1908 Bickford migrated to Bellingham, Washington. He is buried in the Bayview Cemetery, Bellingham.

Jerome Morford (1841-1910). Jerome Morford was born in Pennsylvania and joined the Union Army from Illinois serving in Company K, 55th Illinois Volunteer Infantry.  At Vicksburg on May 22, 1863, Private Morford was in a volunteer storming party that attacked the Confederate heights at Vicksburg. Seventy-nine survivors received the Medal of Honor. In 1894 Morford was living in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but moved to Seattle and went into real-estate development. He is buried at the Riverton Crest Cemetery, Tukwila, Washington.

Frank Bois (1841-1920). Frank Bois was born in Quebec, Canada, and joined the United States Navy from Massachusetts. He received the Medal of Honor for heroism on May 27, 1863. Quartermaster Bois aboard the USS Cincinnati at Vicksburg remained on the shot-up ship as it sank.  Its masts had been destroyed  so Quartermaster Bois nailed the flag to the stump of the forestaff. The ship went down proudly with its colors flying.  Frank Bois lived in Seattle after the war and is buried in the Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, Seattle

Jesse Barrick (1841-1923). Jesse Barrick grew up in Minnesota and entered the service from here. In May - June 1863 as a scout in the 3rd Minnesota Infantry Barrick was scouting along the Duck River, Tennessee. Corporal Barrick encountered and captured two well armed Confederate soldiers. In 1864 he was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant.  Barrick was awarded the Medal of Honor for his exceptional heroics at the Duck River. In 1909 he moved to Kitsap County and in 1912 to Pasco. Barrick was buried in an unmarked grave in the Pasco City Cemetery.  He lay there for 75 years until a local effort saw to his reburial in the Tahoma National Cemetery, King County, Washington. A Medal of Honor headstone with its gold plated lettering now identifies him as a Medal of Honor Soldier in this National Cemetery.   

Thaddeus S. Smith (1847-1933). Thaddeus Smith was born in Pennsylvania and joined the Pennsylvania Infantry. Corporal Smith of the 6th Pennsylvania Reserve Infantry displayed heroism on July 2, 1863. Smith and five other Union Soldiers on July 2, 1863, overwhelmed an enemy position in a daring attack and all received the Medal of Honor. In the 1880s Thaddeus Smith arrived at Port Townsend, Washington, and worked as a customs officer.  He is buried at the Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Townsend.

George L. Houghton (1841-1917). George Houghton was born in Canada and entered the Union Army from Illinois. Private Houghton at Elk River Tennessee on July 2, 1863, volunteered with a few other Soldiers to attack a Confederate position holding a bridge. The party while under heavy fire destroyed the enemy position and captured the bridge. Houghton came to Washington in the early 1900s and lived his final years at the Soldiers Home in Orting. His grave is in the Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting.  

John Nibbe (1847-1902). John Nibbe was born in Germany and joined the Union Navy from New York. On April 22, 1864, his ship the USS Peterel was hit by enemy fire, exploding its boilers. Quartermaster Nibbe stayed aboard as others fled the ship and he tended to the wounded. Nibbe remained on the ship until captured by Confederate forces. Following the war he moved to Kitsap County and opened a store and post office. He lived on Bainbridge Island and finally at Bremerton while owning a mosquito boat that ferried people and supplies. Nibbe is buried at the Ivy Green Cemetery in Bremerton.  

Alexander McHale (1837-1911). Alexander McHale was born in Ireland and joined the service from Michigan. Sergeant McHale received the medal for valor on May 12, 1864, at the Spotsylvania Courthouse.  He charged a Confederate line, captured their colors, and fought the enemy.  McHale lived his final years at the Soldiers Home and his grave is in the Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting.

Herbert Farnsworth (1834-1908). Herbert Farnsworth joined the Union Army from New York and served in the 10th New York Cavalry. Sergeant Major Farnsworth displayed extraordinary heroism on June 11, 1864. In action at Trevilian Station, Virginia he volunteered and carried across an open field under fire a message to Union artillery to halt firing on its own troops. For his heroism he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He left the army as a captain and moved to Washington. He is buried in the Pomeroy City Cemetery.

Albert O’Connor (1843-1928). Albert O’Connor was born in Canada and served in the Wisconsin Infantry. On March 31, 1865 Sergeant O’Connor and William Sickles recaptured a Union officer from the Confederate forces holding him. This action led to a Medal of Honor. O’Connor moved to Seattle. He entered the Soldiers Home at Orting, Washington, in about 1910. O’Connor participated in public ceremonies including being an honor guard at the funeral of President William G. Harding (1865-1923). He is buried in the Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting.

William Sickles (1843-1938). William Sickles was born in Wisconsin and served in the Wisconsin Infantry. Sergeant Sickles and Albert O’Connor recaptured a Union officer on March 31, 1865 with both receiving the Medal of Honor.  After the Civil War he moved to Yakima and was a barber. In the early 1900s he became a customs officer in Seattle. He entered the Soldiers Home at Orting in about 1908. On November 11,  1921 he attended the funeral for the unknown Soldier. Sickles's grave is in the Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting.

Emisire Shahan (1843-1919). Emisire Shahan was born in West Virginia and served in the 1st West Virginia Volunteer Cavalry. On April 6, 1865 at the Battle of Sailors Creek Corporal Shahan displayed exceptional bravery capturing the Confederate 76th Georgia Infantry flag, an action that demoralized the Confederate forces. This heroic act earned Corporal Shahan the Medal of Honor. Shahan moved west to Grays Harbor County and homesteaded on the Satsop River. The medal was pinned to his jacket when he was buried in the Masonic Cemetery, Elma, Washington.

Asbury F. Haynes (1842-1931). Asbury Haynes entered the service at Maine. On April 6, 1865 Corporal Haynes captured a Confederate North Carolina regimental flag at Sailors Creek, Virginia. This capture hurt enemy morale and bolstered Union morale.  Asbury Haynes lived in Seattle’s Magnolia area in the 1920s and was active in local public affairs. He served as Seattle’s representative at the funeral of the Unknown Soldier on November 11, 1921. Haynes spent his final years at the Washington Veterans Home in Retsil. He is buried in Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle.

Michael McCarthy (1845-1914). Michael McCarthy was born at St. Johns, Newfoundland, and entered the U.S Army. On June 17, 1876, First Sergeant McCarthy, 1st U.S. Cavalry, at White Bird Canyon, Idaho, displayed great valor. He and six cavalrymen held a forward position during an Indian attack. They held back the attack as the main troop force fell back. First Sergeant McCarthy found himself behind the Indian line and had to fight his way back. He had two horses shot out from under him, was captured and then escaped. McCarthy was discharged on May 14, 1879, at Walla Walla and settled there. He joined the Washington Territorial Militia two years later.  When the Washington National Guard was formed he joined. On December 22, 1897, he was appointed Colonel and Quartermaster of the Washington National Guard. Colonel McCarthy retired in 1905 to his Walla Walla home.  He died in 1914 and is buried in the Mountain View Cemetery, Walla Walla.       

Moses Williams (1845-1899). Moses Williams was born in Louisiana and served in the 9th Cavalry Regiment, a black unit. In August 1881 during the Indian Wars, at the Cuchillo Negro Mountains, New Mexico, Sergeant Williams exhibited true valor.  During a running battle Sergeant Williams protected his commanding officer and rescued three comrades. In 1895-1898 he served at Fort Stevens, Oregon, his last tour. He was discharged in 1898 and settled in a cabin outside Vancouver, Washington. Sergeant Williams died the next year and buried in the Fort Vancouver Military Cemetery, Vancouver, Washington.

John Baxter Kinne (1877-1954). John Kinne was born in Wisconsin and joined the Army from North Dakota. He served in the Philippine Insurrection with Company B, 1st North Dakota Infantry. On May 16, 1899, Private Kinne with 21 other scouts rushed a burning wooden bridge under intense enemy fire. They were able to put out the fire and then attacked and overcame a large enemy force. Private Kinne received the Medal of Honor.  Dr. Kinne lived in Aberdeen for more than 30 years and was a highly respected physician. His time in Aberdeen was interrupted by medical service in France during World War I.  Dr. Kinne is buried in the Fern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen, Washington. 

Richard Moses Longfellow (1867-1951). Richard Longfellow was born in Illinois and entered the service from North Dakota. Private Longfellow was a scout in the May 16, 1899, attack on the enemy held bridge with Private John Kinne previously described. In 1907 he came to Spokane and worked for the Northern Pacific railroad. In 1910 he moved to Pullman and after five years homesteaded in Idaho. He is buried in Lewiston, Idaho.     

Gotfred Jensen (1872-1945). Gotfred Jensen was born in Denmark and joined the United States Army from North Dakota. During the Philippine Insurrection on May 19, 1899, Private Jensen with 11 other scouts charged over 150 yards to attack enemy lines. They overcame about 300 defenders and Private Jensen earned the Medal of Honor. After the war Jensen settled in Kirkland, Washington. In 1926 he entered the Washington Veterans Home. Jensen's grave is in the Washington Veterans Home Cemetery, Retsil, Washington.

William C. Horton (1876-1969). Horton was born in Chicago and joined the United States Marines. He received the Medal of Honor for exceptional heroism in July and August 1900 during the "Boxer Rebellion," a conflict in China. Private Horton took part in erecting barricades while under heavy enemy fire.  Having attained the rank of sergeant, Horton was discharged in 1903. He took up residence in Seattle and worked at shipyards on Lake Washington. After retiring from the yards he worked at a meat company. William Horton is buried in the Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery, Seattle.  

Harry Fadden (1883-1955). Fadden was born in The Dalles, Oregon and moved to Sumas, Washington in 1891. He joined the United States Navy in 1898. On June 30, 1903, while serving on the USS Adams, Coxswain Fadden rescued a drowning seaman and earned a peacetime Medal of Honor. In September 1903 Fadden left the navy in Seattle and then worked for a time in Alaska. He returned to Seattle, worked at Fisher Mills, and in 1918 became a Port of Seattle employee, remaining with the Port until his retirement. He lived 51 years in Seattle and is buried in the Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery, Seattle. 

Demetri Corahorgi (1880-1973). Corahorgi was born in Italy and enlisted in the United States Navy. On January 25, 1905, aboard the USS Iowa, fireman Corahorgi saved fellow crew members following a boiler explosion, for which he received the Medal of Honor. He was injured, and in 1907 was denied reenlistment due to the injury. Corahorgi then worked as a civilian at the Puget Sound Navy Yard. In 1921 he left the Navy Yard and ran a photographic store on Seattle’s 5th Avenue. He changed his name to Dan Corey. His grave is at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Seattle.  

Raymond E. Davis (1887-1965). Davis was born in Minnesota and joined the navy. On July 21, 1905, aboard the USS Bennington, Quartermaster Third Class Davis saved fellow crew members during a boiler explosion.  Davis was awarded the Medal of Honor for his peacetime heroic action. He was discharged at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in 1919 and became a Seattle resident. Mr. Davis was a salesman with Willy’s Overland Automobile until his retirement in 1954. He and his wife lived at the Washington Veterans Home nine years until his death. Davis is buried in the Cavalry Cemetery, Seattle.

Robert Bonney (1882-1967). Chief Petty Officer Bonney served 30 years in the United States Navy. When a boiler exploded on the USS Hopkins on February 14, 1910, he jumped into the scalding hot water to save crewmates. Bonney received the Medal of Honor for peacetime actions.  He retired in 1923 to Edmonds, Washington. He was recalled to service in World War II for inspector duty at the Seattle Navy Yard. Warrant Officer Bonney retired a second time in 1946. As a Medal of Honor holder he attended a number of presidential inaugurals. His grave is in the Acacia Memorial Park, Seattle.

Abraham DeSomer (1884-1974). DeSomer was born in Wisconsin and joined the navy. He received the nation’s highest military award for actions at Vera Cruz, Mexico in 1914. DeSomer served 30 years in the navy, retiring in 1932, but was recalled to duty in World War II. He lived in various areas of the west coast and spent his last years with his son in Tacoma. He was cremated and his ashes scattered off the Oregon coast.  

To go to Part 2, click "Browse to Next Essay" below.

Sources:
Donald K. and Helen L. Ross, Washington State Men Of Valor (Burley, Washington: Coffee Break Press, 1980); United States Senate, Committee On Veterans’ Affairs, Medal Of Honor Recipients, 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1973); “A Comprehensive History of the Washington Soldiers’ Home and Colony, Centennial Edition, 1891-1991,” Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs accessed February 8, 2012 (http://www.dva.wa.gov/PDF%20files/Orting%20History.pdf); Joshua Robin, “A Final Salute to a Civil War Hero,” The Seattle Times, September 7, 2000; "Jesse T. Barrick," Home of Heroes website accessed February 9, 2012 (http://www.homeofheroes.com/gravesites/states/pages_af/barrick _jesse_wa.html); “Seattle’s War Heroes: And How They Won Their Laurels,” The Seattle Daily Times, November 11, 1929, p. 61; “Asbury F. Haynes, Congress Medal Winner, Buried,” The Seattle Daily Times, July 12, 1931.
Note: This essay was expanded on April 24, 2012, to include Medal of Honor recipients from the early twentieth century prior.


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Myron Ranney (1846-1910) headstone, International Order of Odd Fellows Cemetery, Tumwater
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Hazard Stevens (1842-1918) headstone, Island Cemetery, Newport Rhode Island
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


John Warden (1841-1906) tombstone, Orting City Cemetery, Orting
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Matthew Bickford (1839-1918) headstone, Bayview Cemetery, Bellingham
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Jerome Morford (1841-1910) headstone, Riverton Crest Cemetery, Tukwila
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Frank Bois (1841-1920) headstone, Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery, Seattle
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Jesse T. Barrick (1841-1923) headstone, Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Thaddeus S. Smith (1847-1933) headstone, Laurel Grove Cemetery, Port Townsend
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


George L. Houghton (1841-1917) headstone, Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


John Nibbe (1847-1902) headstone, Ivy Green Cemetery, Bremerton
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Alexander McHale (1837-1911) headstone, Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Herbert Farnsworth (1834-1908) headstone, Pomeroy City Cemetery, Pomeroy
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Albert O'Connor (1843-1928) headstone, Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


William Sickles (1843-1938) headstone, Soldiers Home Cemetery, Orting
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Emisire Shahan (1843-1919) headstone, Masonic Cemetery, Elma
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Asbury F. Haynes (1842-1931) headstone, Lakeview Cemetery, Seattle
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Michael McCarthy (1845-1914) headstone, Mountain View Cemetery, Walla Walla
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Moses Williams (1845-1899) headstone, Fort Vancouver Military Cemetery, Vancouver
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


John Baxter Kinne (1877-1954) headstone, Fern Hill Cemetery, Aberdeen
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Richard Moses Longfellow (1867-1951) headstone, Normal Hill Cemetery, Lewiston, Idaho
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


Gotfred Jensen (1872-1945) headstone, Washington Veterans Home Cemetery, Retsil
Courtesy Home of Heroes (http://www.HomeOfHeroes.com)


 
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