Santa Cruz County History - People



Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans
by Robert L. Nelson

POWELL, CHAUNCY O (1844-1935)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 13, 1931)

Headstone of Chauncy O Powell
Chauncy O. Powell
IOOF Cemetery in Santa Cruz

Gen Custer’s Orderly Now a Local Resident.

To celebrate the Christmas and New Year’s holiday period with the their daughter and son-in-law in Atascadero, Commander C.O. Powell of the Santa Cruz post of Grand Army of the Republic and Mrs. Powell will leave early this week. Their daughter, Mrs. Frank Spencer, is making elaborate plans for the reunion.

Mrs. C. Hardy and son, who have been guests of the Powells here for several weeks, will go to Paso Robles to spend the summer with Mrs. Hardy’s brother.

Pioneer Grand Army Man

Powell who for the second term was recently elected commander of the local Grand Army post has been a member of that organization for over a half a century. In fact he was a charter member of the organization then joining when the Grand Army was first formed. His home then was in Grand Rapids Michigan.

He enlisted in the 6th Michigan Cavalry and for many months served as orderly to General George Custer. Powell was captured by the rebels at Cedar Creek and was held prisoner for nine months and 13 days.

Powell was the organizer of the move to construct the Soldiers' Home at Grand Rapids, now one of the finest institutions of the kind in the country. During the war the state of Michigan promised to pay the young men who enlisted from that state $100 a piece, but after the trouble was over and the "boys" returned home, there was no money in the state treasury for that purpose.

Later the men who had served agreed to turn over their compensation toward the soldiers' home fund provided the state would get behind the move for the building. This was accepted and the fine institution was the result, with Powell the moving spirit of the undertaking.

Powell will be 88 years of age the first of next month. He has lived in California 46 years, 45 year of that time having been a resident of Santa Cruz county. He was for several years a resident of Boulder Creek and for six years had charge of a railroad carpenter gang during the railroad construction work in this area.

The G.A.R. organization of which he is commander, now has a membership of only 12 men, four of whom are not able to attend meetings. Powell is active and looks forward to many birthday anniversaries.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 11, 1935)

Pioneer G.A.R. Member Passed Away Yesterday
Chauncey O. Powell, Aged 91, will be Buried Tomorrow

Past Commander Chauncey O. Powell, of the Grand Army of the Republic, died at his home at 66 Du Four street yesterday morning at 1 o'clock. He will be greatly missed as for over 40 years he had been present at all the G.A.R. and Women’s Relief Corps doings in this city and until last year he appeared in nearly every parade in the city. He lived to the ripe old age of 91 years. In his passing the ranks of Wallace Reynolds Post, G.A.R. has been reduced to three members.

A veteran of the Civil war, he always had a keen interest in all the veterans' doings and he had the highest esteem of scores of friends in the community.

He enlisted in his native state of Michigan, in the Sixth Michigan Cavalry and for many months served as orderly to General George Custer. Powell was captured by rebels at Cedar Creek and was held prisoner nine months and 18 days.

He was one of the prime movers in the establishment of the Soldiers Home at Grand Rapids, Mich., on of the very finest in the country.

He came to California 46 years ago and all but one were spent in this county. For several years he lived in the mountain town of Boulder Creek and for six years he was in charge of a railroad carpenters construction crew. He served Wallace Reynolds Post, G.A.R., as commander from 1931 until taken ill two years ago.

The surviving members of the post are James S. Baldwin, Samuel W Bond and John Smith of the Yountville Soldiers' Home.

Mr. Powell is survived by his widow, Jeanette, and his only daughter, Mrs. Frank Spencer of Atascadero. He is also survived by two granddaughters, Mrs. Ivey Weizendorf of San Francisco, and Mrs. A. R. Craig of Oakland; three grandsons, Glen C. Clifford of San Francisco, Vern P. Clifford and Harry C. Swarthout of Oakland and two nieces and nephews of Paso Robles. He has one sister living, Anna Nelson of Seattle, Wash.

Funeral services will be held Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock from the Chase Mortuary. Interment will be in the Odd Fellows cemetery.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (October 13, 1935)

Taps Sounded for Commander C.O. Powell of G.A.R.

Funeral services for Past Commander Chauncey Powell were held yesterday at the chapel of the C.C. Chase Mortuary, which was crowded with the many friends and the members of the Wallace Reynolds Women's Relief Corps and Daughters of Union Veterans were present.

Officers of the Daughters of Veterans conducted their service and stood about the flower surrounded casket. The service was read by Belle Bangs as chaplain.

The church rites were conducted by Rev. Heber St. Clair Mahood of the Congregational church and "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere," "Nearer My God to Thee" and "Some Day We’ll Understand" were sung by Mrs. Abra Budworth and taps were given and "Tenting on the Old Camp Ground" was played on the pipe organ by Leslie Chase.

The three surviving members of Wallace Reynolds Post, G.A.R., escorted by friends, entered the chapel. These will carry on the work of the organization.

Pall bearers were from the membership of the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, Mr. Powell having held an honorary membership in the latter organization. They were Camille Martin, Charles Faneuf and John Mowry; from the VFW were Emmet Rittenhouse, Harry Otto and Harris Lane. Color bearer was A.E. Chipman of the VFW.

A military firing squad of the American Legion, under Vice Commander George Cason, escorted the body to Odd Fellows cemetery and fired a volley over the grave.

Serving with Vice Commander Cason on the gun squad were Francis Hall, Harold Richardson, Craig Potter, William Davenhill and Cecil Snodgrass.

Chaplain Orville Webster Jr. of the Legion post conducted graveside services at the I.O.O.F. cemetery. Taps was sounded by Forrest Faneuf, American Legion bugler.


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