Captain Henry Delker was born in Baden, Germany on the 4th day of July in 1836. He passed from life (as near as I can tell) at exactly 4:00 p.m. on Monday, December 22, 1890 in Vermilion, Ohio. He was a belated casualty of the American Civil War.
Coming to America with his family when he was 10 years old he forfeited an opportunity to remain in Germany with an uncle from whom he would have inherited great fortune. The family settled in Amherst, Ohio where young Henry quickly mastered the native language of his adopted country. Before long he secured a lucrative position as a salesman for the Amherst dry goods firm of Mussey & King.
At the beginning of the American Civil War (1860) he answered the first call for soldiers in the Union Army. Eventually he joined Company F. of the 41st Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
He advanced through the ranks rather quickly during his time in the service. Excelling at training new recruits he was easily promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Shortly thereafter he was promoted, with merit, to First Lieutenant passing over the heads of 12 Second Lieutenants in the regiment. There he served continuously under the direction of Lt. Col. James H. Hart and Captain William H. McClure until the last five minutes of the Battle of Nashville (December 12 through 16, 1864).
On that day, after all his superior officers had been killed in battle, he was leading a charge when he was seriously wounded in his left arm and side. He spent the next 60 days in a hospital with only a block of wood for a pillow. During that time he received a field promotion to Captain. From the hospital he was, literally, carried back home to Amherst in the arms of a friend named Joseph Frost. Over a year passed until he was able to go to Columbus to muster out of the Army.
Due to his wounds he was no longer capable of doing any manual labor. Thus, did he attend, and graduate from, business college in Oberlin. In 1866 he married Miss Hattie Beldon. And in 1867 he opened a dry goods business in Vermilion. He maintained that business until his death. His store was located in the building on Liberty Avenue that once housed Vermilion's Liberty Theater.
The accompanying picture is a close-up of Hattie and the Captain sitting happily on their front porch on Liberty Avenue in Vermilion. The home is now owned by Laura and Dan Roth and is now the home of Tiffany's Flowers and Collectables.
After his untimely demise in late December of 1890 an autopsy was conducted by Dr. R. Quigley. Assisted by Drs. Esch and Hughes, they discovered that the bullet he received on the battlefield 26 years before had perforated his diaphragm, passed downward just above the sacrum, below the left kidney. This allowed his stomach to penetrate upward through the opening in his diaphragm and eventually caused his death.
On the day after Christmas in 1890 his funeral was held in the parlour of his home. A large number of friends attended. His obituary described him as a man who "believed home to be the chief school of virtue, and self-support necessary to self-respect. A consistent friend of the needy, ever ready for any work calculated to smooth before them life's rugged pathway." His remains were then transported to Amherst for burial.
His name, again, was Henry G. Delker - Captain Henry G. Delker; American hero.
Ref: Sandusky Daily Register; 12-31-1890; Special Schedules of the Eleventh Census (1890) Enumerating Union Veterans and Widows of Union Veterans of the Civil War; Vermilion Area Archival Society. Originally published in the Vermilion (Ohio) Photojournal June 1, 2006
Written- 5/2/06 @6:39 AM
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© 2006 Rich Tarrant