Santa Cruz County History - People



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

STORY, ASA A (1847-1937)

Watsonville Pajaronian (November 20, 1937)

Portrait of Asa A Story
Portrait of Asa A. Story

Asa A. 'Dad' Story, Last Local Civil War Veteran Passes
Beloved Local Figure Goes to Final Bivouac

Watsonville's surviving member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Asa A. "Dad" Story died at the home of his son A.W. Story, on Van Ness avenue at 12:55 this morning. He had been desperately ill for some time, and no hope was held for his recovery. He was 90 years old.

The passing of the Civil war veteran, a well known and colorful figure in Watsonville for many years, was peaceful, with his son and daughter in law, Mr. And Mrs. A.W. Story, and his daughter; Mrs. Mattie Billington of Watsonville, the latter, until recently a resident of Los Angeles, at his bedside.

The funeral will be held a 2 o’clock Monday afternoon at White’s funeral chapel, followed by burial in the family plot in the Pajaro Valley Memorial cemetery. Rev. Ross Williams of the Christian church will deliver the eulogy.

Military Honors

The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and United Spanish War Veterans will attend the services in a body. Legionnaires will act as active pall bearers, and the honorary pall bearers will include three members of each of the other veterans organizations. A Legion firing squad will fire volleys over the grave.

Born in St. Lawrence county, New York, January 27, 1847, “Dad” Story was approaching his 91st birthday.

It was at the age of 16 that he enlisted in October, 1863, in Company F, Fifth New York heavy artillery, first brigade, second division, eighth corps of the United States army.

He was captured by the Confederates October 19, 1864 at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, and confined in Confederate prison camp at Salisbury, North Carolina. When he was released from prison at Wilmington he weighed only 71 pounds.

On June 14, 1865, after the close of the war he received his honorable discharge from service.

During the Spanish American war of 1898, Comrade Story raised a company of volunteers but they did not see action because the war ended before they were mustered into service. He often remarked that "there wasn’t enough war to go around in 1898."

His wife Eliza A. Story, a girlhood sweetheart whom he married December 25, 1865 the year in which he had been discharged from the army, died March 14, 1917.

Last of Post

With the death of Mr. Story, the R.L. McCook post of the G.A.R., passed into history. The last meeting of the post was held at the beside of Frederick A. Jennings, who proceeded him in death March 30, 1935. It was not a formal meeting, the two survivors of the post merely chatted informally, but the meeting was duly recorded in the minute book of the organization, which in recent years has been kept by A.C. Davis, friend and councilor of the old veterans.

The record book of the post will now be placed in a glass case at the veterans Memorial hall, along with other relics of the G.A.R.

"Dads" last public appearance was at the Fourth of July celebration here this year. He was an honorary member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars of this city. His last birthday celebration took place January 27, 1937, when a few close friends gathered at the home of his son. He was then 90 years old. His 90th birthday also prompted special honors by the Legion post. At that time he gave the Legionnaires an account of the activities of the G.A.R. post since is inception here.

Records of the post in which Dad Story was a leading figure, do not exist beyond April 11, 1903, when the post was reorganized. The history prior to that has been forever lost.

The record shows that at the reorganization meeting of 1903 the following, all prominent in Watsonville history, and who have since passed away, were present: Captain A. N. Judd, father of Hugh Judd, former Watsonville postmaster; A. Bardmess, J.W. Sanborn, W.M. Gordon, Asa Bateman, Robert W. Eaton, The third from the last of local post members to die; H.C. White, S.E. Chapman, H. E. Trueworthy, E.W. Hall, W.M. DeHart, J.M. Ike, S.A. Shields and A. Dickerman.

Others, including Story, were later added to the list.

Mr. Story, throughout his lifetime, enjoyed robust health, which accounted for his longevity. He took an active and lively interest in the affairs of his community until his last few years. Until advanced age enfeebled him, he made a number of trips to the annual conventions of the Grand Army of the Republic in various parts of the nation.

A man of many likable qualities, he was at the same time one of the best known and one of the most popular citizens of his community.

Surviving, in addition to his son, A.W. Story, with whom he made his home, and his daughter Mrs. Billington, is a son, A.J. Story of Nelson, British Columbia.

Watsonville Pajaronian (November 22, 1937)

Many Attend Story Rites
Last Tributes Paid to Beloved 'Dad'

Hundreds who knew and loved Asa A. "Dad" Story, last Civil war veteran of Watsonville, gathered at White’s chapel this afternoon to pay their last respects to the G.A.R. veteran who passed away early Saturday at the home of his son, A.W. Story, on Van Ness Avenue.

Many beautiful floral tributes further attested to the esteem in which "Dad" Story was held in this valley. Rev. Ross Williams, pastor of the Christian church, officiated at the chapel rites. Carol Sandholt sang "In the Sweet Bye and Bye," accompanied by Mrs. Merton Carlyon.

Members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Spanish American War veterans, War Mothers attended in a body. After chapel services the Legion headed the escort to Pajaro Valley Memorial park where interment was made in the family plot.

Legion rites were conducted at the Graveside. Taps were sounded by Vido Opisich and the Legion firing Squad sounded a volley over the grave.

Active pallbearers were Charles Williams, S.G. Dahl, Les Jefsen, Art Babcock, William Dye and Dr. Henry G. Waters, all past commanders of the local American Legion post. Honorary pallbearers were A.W. Wheellock, A.J. Meidl, John Wilson of the Spanish American war veterans, and Frank Monterio, C.R. Bridges and C.F. Field of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Death of "Dad" Story, who was 90 years of age, took the last member of Robert McCook post of the G.A.R. His last public appearance was in Watsonville during the Fourth of July celebration.

Besides his son here, Mr. Story leaves another son A.J. Story of Nelson, British Columbia, and a daughter, Mrs. Mattie Billington of Watsonville.

A native of St. Lawrence county New York, Mr. Story enlisted in the Union army at age of 16. He was captured by the Confederates in October, 1864, at the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, and spent some time in prison camp. After his honorable discharge from service on June 14, 1865, he married a girlhood sweetheart. Mrs. Story died in March 1917.


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