Santa Cruz County History - People

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

TODD, CALEB J (1848-1931)

Sawtelle Soldiers Home Records

Headstone of Caleb J Todd
Caleb J. Todd
LA National Cemetery

NAME: Caleb Todd
REGISTER #: 8045

Military History

RANK/CO/UNIT: Pvt/Co B/155 IL Infantry
ENLISTMENT: 1865/02/07 New Liberty, IL
DISCHARGED: 1865/09/04 Murfreesboro, TN End of term
DISABILITY: Chronic ulsers both legs, myalgia sciatica (Sept 1902, Santa Cruz)

Domestic History

BORN: Iowa (1847?)
AGE: 60
HT/CMP/EYE/HR: 5'10"/Dk, Bl, Br/Literate
RELIGION: Protestant
NEXT OF KIN: Mrs. Fannie Todd (wife) 17 Raymond St. Santa Cruz

Home History

ADMISSION: 1907/01/07
DATE OF DEATH: 1931/12/10
CAUSE OF DEATH: Cerebral hemorrhage, myocardis chronic

General Remarks

PENSION CERT: 1,080,333
EFFECTS: $4 cash
BURIAL INFO: Section 74, Row E #2

Santa Cruz Recorders Office Death Certificate

Fannie F. Todd, of 17 Raymond St. Santa Cruz, the wife of Caleb Todd according to her death certificate, was the daughter of J.P. Pollard, a native of Indiana and Malmda C. Van Orsdel a native of Kentucky. Fannie is listed as having been born in California on January 15, 1869 and died on July 17, 1931 as the result of cancer of the uterus. She was buried in I.O.O.F. cemetery in Santa Cruz. The informant was Mrs. J.W. Barnes of Santa Cruz, possibly her daughter.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (December 12, 1931)

Passing of Civil War Vet and Old Time Resident.

Caleb J. Todd died Thursday in the National Military Home at West Los Angeles. Death came months after suffering a stroke and five months after the death of his wife Mrs. Fannie Todd.

The funeral will be held at the burial home, West Los Angeles Monday December 14.

Mr. Todd, a native of Iowa was 86 years of age and was for many years a contractor and builder in Santa Cruz. He was a Civil War veteran and a member of the G.A.R. when here, also of the first Christian church. He was a great Bible student and for years conducted the Sunday morning YMCA bible class, which was largely attended.

He is survived by three children, Mrs. Vera Barnes, Santa Cruz; Richard Todd of Portland Ore., and a granddaughter, Clarice Crews, of this city.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

Caleb Todd was one the most talented writers of the Santa Cruz Civil war veteran community and shared that gift in both prose and poetry. His parents were born in Indiana, however prior to Caleb’s birth in November 1848 they had made their way to Iowa where he was born. We know nothing of Caleb Todd’s early childhood, but on Feb 2, 1865, shortly after his eighteenth birthday, he enlisted in Company B of the 155 Illinois Infantry at New Liberty Illinois. His regiment was organized at Camp Butler, Illinois, and mustered into federal service on February 28, 1865, for a period of one year. On March 2, 1865 the unit moved through Louisville, Kentucky and Nashville to Tullahoma, Tennessee where they were to be stationed. The regiment was then divided into detachments charged with guarding the Nashville & Chattanooga railroad at various locations. As part of Caleb’s assignment he and his company occupied blockhouses in the 50 mile area between Nashville and the Duck River in Tennessee. They continued to serve as railroad guards in the Nashville area until September 4, 1865 when they were mustered out and returned to Camp Butler, Illinois to be discharged.

The middle years of Caleb Todd’s only come down to us in a few sketchy facts. Following his discharge he probably returned to his home in Iowa to begin his carpentry apprenticeship. We have no photograph of Caleb Todd, but a later description indicated that he was 5'10" in height, of a dark complexion with blue eyes and brown hair. Caleb made the determination to move to Santa Cruz in the 1880's in the hopes that the climate might help his wife's physical condition. It is believed that the Todds settled in the Garfield Park area of the community and became actively involved in the Disciples of Christ (Christian) church. Caleb began practicing his carpentry trade and may also have done some building contracting at this time. During the next several years his wife appeared to improve; however, on July 29, 1891 her condition deteriorated and she died. After almost a year to the date Caleb Todd married Fannie (Pollard) Marlett in Saratoga California and in the process acquired a ready made family from Fannie’s previous marriage. The family moved into a home at 17 Raymond Avenue in Santa Cruz where they would raise 6 children. During this period Caleb affiliated with the Reynolds Post Grand Army of the Republic, and served as its Sgt. Major in 1893. Known for his singing ability he was frequently called on to perform at GAR events.

In 1902 Caleb Todd began suffering from chronic ulcers in both of his legs, and was granted a veteran disability pension. By 1906 he was no longer able to work actively as a carpenter and applied for admission to the Soldiers Home at Sawtelle, located between Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California. His application was accepted and on January 7, 1907 he became a full time resident. In July 1908 Caleb Todd felt that his health had improved to a point where he could resume his life in Santa Cruz, but within a year he found it necessary to return to Sawtelle. He never attempted independent living again. At the Soldiers Home Caleb became involved with the Christian community and apparently led Bible studies among its residents. His articles indicate that he was strongly opposed to the use of alcohol, and was an outspoken prohibitionist. At some time during his Sawtelle residency Caleb began working with the Home undertaker and continued to assist in that capacity for a number of years.

The writings of Caleb Todd reveal a person with a creative mind and an extensive vocabulary. Caleb's first confirmed contribution to the Santa Cruz Sentinel was a poem entitled "Hymn of Praise" which appeared in the July 4, 1896 edition. The first article, which we have been able to attribute to him appeared under the name of "Signet", was written from Sawtelle in 1908. Over the next ten years Caleb Todd would send over thirty articles or poems describing life in Soldiers Home. In addition to providing sketches of daily activities at Sawtelle, he continually kept the Santa Cruz reader aware of the status of former residents residing in the facility.

On December 10, 1931, six months after the death of his wife Fanny, Caleb Todd died of a cerebral hemorrhage, and was buried in Section 74, Row E, Grave 2 of the Los Angeles National Cemetery.

>>Return to Home Page of Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans

>>Return to "T" Index Page

View similarly tagged articles:

cemeteries, Civil War


It is our continuing goal to make available a selection of articles on various subjects and places in Santa Cruz County. Certain topics, however, have yet to be researched. In other cases, we were not granted permission to use articles. The content of the articles is the responsibility of the individual author. It is the Library's intent to provide accurate local history information. However, it is not possible for the Library to completely verify the accuracy of individual articles obtained from a variety of sources. If you believe that factual statements in a local history article are incorrect and can provide documentation, please contact the Webmaster.