Santa Cruz County History - People

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

WYMOND, JOHN F (1837-1903)

Santa Cruz Surf (January 2, 1904)

DIED: WYMOND - In Boulder Creek Dec. 31st, John F. Wymond, an old soldier, aged 66 years.

Boulder Creek Mountain Echo (January 2, 1904)

DIED: Near Boulder Creek December 31, 1903, John F. Wymond, a native of Indiana, aged 66 years.

John F. Wymond, an old soldier, died at the George Hartman place on King creek Thursday morning after only a week’s illness. He was a native of Indiana and aged 66 years. The remains were taken to Santa Cruz the same day by Mr. Scott, of Scott & Hearad, and he was buried there Friday. He has no relatives, so far as known, in this State.

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

We know little of the early life of John F. Wymond. Since his death his age was reported to be 66 years at the time of his death on December 31, 1903 he would have been born in the year 1837. While newspaper obituaries indicate Indiana as being his place of nativity, he declared New York State as his birthplace on his voter registration 1892. Unfortunately that registration did not provide information on occupation. It is suspected that John Wymond was probably involved in some form of laboring activity possibly associated with lumbering because of his local addresses. John F Wymonds name appears on the first Wallace-Reynolds GAR roster in 1896. It is believed that he is buried in the GAR plot at Evergreen Cemetery. At his death in Boulder Creek in 1904, rather than being buried in the nearby Boulder Creek Cemetery, his remains were transported to Santa Cruz. This would possibly have occurred if he lacked the finances for local burial. The Grand Army of the Republic maintained a burial plot in Evergreen Cemetery to bury "old soldiers" without financial resources. There was space was available in their Evergreen plot at the time of Wymonds death. No Santa Cruz cemetery records his burial, nor does the county permits for removal of remains indicate that he was sent to another location.

The Civil War Record of John F Wymond

While the initial date of John F Wymond’s enlistment is unavailable, we do know from the National Archives Record Administration that only (one) Wymond served in the Union army and his name was John F. Those records also indicate that Wymond served in Company D of the 2nd Colorado Infantry where he was promoted from private to corporal. The 2nd Colorado Infantry was authorized in February of 1862 and according to official records, Company D is mentioned as serving with the regiment at Fort Union, New Mexico in April 1862. While there, they took part in actions against Navajo Indians as well as Confederate guerillas. Companies C and D were absorbed by the 1st Colorado Cavalry when it formed in November 1862. Wymond would have had to enlisted between February and November 1862.

The 1st Colorado Cavalry Regiment was formed in November 1862 from the 1st Regiment of Colorado Volunteers (Infantry) and Companies C and D of the 2nd Colorado Infantry. This conversion from infantry to cavalry was authorized by the War Department because cavalry troops were more effective for Indian-fighting purposes. The 1st Colorado Cavalry's assignment was to guard the Colorado Territory and its gold mines from possible Confederate invasion, and to protect the ever-expanding white settlements from Indian raids. In 1863, they participated in isolated skirmishes against the Utes, (in "Idaho Territory", part of present-day Wyoming) Kiowas, and Comanches (in Kansas). NARA records indicate that John Wymond was assigned to Company M of the 1st Colorado Cavalry where he was later promoted to Sergeant. Company M is believed to have served at Ft. Garland, Kansas.

Troops from the 1st Colorado Cavalry regiment are generally considered to have begun the Indian War of 1864, by attacking a party of Cheyenne at Fremont's Orchard in April 1864. Thereafter, detached companies from the regiment met the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians throughout the spring, summer, and fall of 1864. Traffic on the Platte River trail, one of the main immigration routes into Colorado, came to a halt as the tribes retaliated, and by late summer of 1864 Denver was totally cut off from the east. Wymont's company was involved in a skirmish with Indians at Walnut Creek, Kansas on September 25, 1864. In September 1864, several chiefs of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe tribes came to Denver for a meeting at Camp Weld , in an attempt to make peace. Territorial Governor John Evans spurned this attempt, and referred the matter to the military commander, Colonel Chivington. Thus the stage was set for the Sand Creek Massacre in November 1864.

The 3rd Colorado Cavalry Regiment was organized at Denver, Colorado, for 100 days' service during August and September of 1864. About 200 men from the 1st Colorado Cavalry were detached and assigned to the 3rd Colorado Cavalry. NARA information reflects that during this period John F Wymond was promoted to 2nd Lt and reassigned to Company C of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry. The regiment was authorized by the War Department, although its makeup, training, and equipment was little better than a militia regiment authorized by the governor. The colonel, who took command in October, 1864, was George Shoup. Until his promotion, he was a lieutenant in the 1st Colorado Cavalry. Despite the peacemaking efforts of the various chiefs who attended the Camp Weld Meeting in September, Colonel Chivington, as district commander, was under pressure from the governor and his own commanding officers not to make peace. Rather, he was advised to use the "Bloodless Third" to suppress the Indians before their hundred-day enlistment expired.

Severe blizzards in October and early November 1864 delayed equipping the 3rd Cavalry. Two companies were stationed on the Platte River Trail, to keep that travel and communication line open. Late in November, the remaining ten companies, along with detachments from the 1st Colorado Cavalry, traveled in great secrecy to Fort Lyon, on the Arkansas River near present day Lamar. There they attached another 125 men from the 1st Cavalry, and a section of artillery. Then, in an overnight march through bitter cold, they moved in on the only group of Indians Chivington could find --- Black Kettle's camp on the Big Sandy. At dawn on November 29, 1864, they attacked, killing about 150 Indian men, women and children, losing only ten soldiers.

Now called the "Bloody Third," the regiment returned to Denver in December, and mustered out on December 31, 1864 which is the last reference we have to the military units of John F. Wymond.

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