Santa Cruz County History - People

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

Photograph of James W. Crawford's Headstone
Civil War Veteran
James W. Crawford's Headstone,
Evergreen Cemetery

"Old Soldiers: Santa Cruz County Civil War Veterans" is a compilation of approximately 1100 veterans of the Civil War who spent some portion of their life in Santa Cruz County. It was compiled by local researcher Robert L. Nelson, with the assistance of Santa Cruz County historian Phil Reader.

In the late 1970's, Phil Reader accumulated obituaries, biographical sketches and other facts relating to the Civil War soldiers who had either enlisted in local units, or lived in the county following the Civil War. He also gathered copies of articles, periodicals and journals relating to the Grand Army of the Republic posts in the county. Reader expanded his research by conducting surveys of several local cemeteries. From this material he developed a database which consisted of approximately 350 Civil War veterans.

In 1997 Robert Nelson, California Department Historian for the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, began registering the graves of Civil War veterans in the county. Phil Reader, also then a member of the SUVCW, made his files available in order to provide an expanded database. All county cemeteries were then resurveyed to insure completeness.

An 1886 roster of members of GAR posts within Santa Cruz County, along with other GAR material, located at the Sutro Library in San Francisco, produced the names of additional "Old Soldiers". A review of the Santa Cruz Sentinel issues between 1865 and 1933 brought the total veteran count to approximately 1100. Over 455 Civil War veterans are buried in Santa Cruz County.

Military information relating to the veterans was primarily obtained from Historical Data Systems which has accumulated one of the largest single databases of Civil War veteran statistics. In some cases copies of pension records, and records of service were found which supplemented our information. Finally, records from the U.S. Soldiers Home at Sawtelle, California were reviewed and data relating to Santa Cruz County residents was retrieved.

A number of county sources provided the information used to complete the veteran statistical listing. Indexed editions of Santa Cruz Great Registers (Voters Registers) for the years 1866, 1882, 1892, 1908 and 1916 were checked for age, address, occupation and nativity. The archives of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, Pajaro Valley Historical Association and the Santa Cruz Genealogical Association were searched extensively for additional statistical and biographical data, along with photographs. Death records were checked at the County of Santa Cruz Recorders Office for deaths occurring within the county, and the California Death Index was utilized to identify those veterans who died elsewhere in the state.

Browse biographical sketches of these Santa Cruz County War Veterans using the links below (ordered by last name).

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View similarly tagged articles:

cemeteries, Civil War


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