Santa Cruz County History - People

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

REESE, DEWITT (aka) D RUSSELL (1842-1894)

Report of the Adjutant General of the State of New York

Dewitt Reese, age of 20, enlisted as a private in the New York 27th Light Artillery Battery at Buffalo NY on Nov 15, 1862. He was officially mustered into the unit on December 17, 1862. During the war he was promoted to the grade of corporal , and mustered out with the battery on June 22, 1865 at Fort Porter, Buffalo, N.Y.

Evergreen Cemetery Records

He moved to the Santa Cruz area and established residence in Aptos under the name of David Russell. Voter registration information described him as being 5'10" and having a dark complexion with a tattoo one his arm. He had gray eyes and dark hair.

Death certificate information indicated that he died on Sept. 26, 1894 in Happy Valley of what Dr. N.H. Clark described as being Surgical Shock.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 27, 1894)

David Russell died Wednesday during a surgical operation, Dr. Clark being the attending physician. The deceased was a native of New York and aged 52 years. He was Officer of the Guard of Wallace Post G.A.R. His widow who was visiting relatives near Sacramento has been notified. A daughter resides in Napa, and a son was in Watsonville when last heard of.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (September 28, 1894)

ATTENTION: Comrades, old soldiers and Sons of Veterans are requested to attend the funeral of our late comrade David Russell today at Wallace Post Room at 2 P.M. Sharp.

U.S. Nichols- Commander         C. Craghill- Adjutant

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

NARA Pension/Military Research

David Russell (Dewitt Reese) of Aptos California applied for a pension in June 1892. He was described as being 50 years old 5’10” in height and weighing 173 lbs. He indicated that he was suffering from piles and a diseased rectum. He also noted that a loss of teeth and inability to wear false teeth was causing physical discomfort.

Reese stated that at age 19 he had run away from home changed his name from David Russell to Dewitt Reese and enlisted as a corporal in the NY 27 Lt Artillery Battery. In 1873, while living in Monterey he married Ida Sadie Frank[?], and they had two children Milton and Raymond before their divorce in 1889. On April 8, 1890 he married his second wife Matilda in Shelton, Sacramento county.

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