Santa Cruz County History - People

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

GOLIGHTLY, JOHN (1841-1896)

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 26, 1896)

Headstone of John Golightly
John Golightly
Evergreen Cemetery

DIED: GOLIGHTLY- In Blackburn Gulch July 25th John Golightly, a native of Scotland.

Sentinel Jottings

An old soldier named John Golightly who lived in Blackburn Gulch died suddenly Saturday afternoon. The remains will be buried this afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from Wallace Reynolds Post Headquarters.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (July 3, 1897)

Mary Golightly of Santa Cruz, widow of a Mexican War Vet, has been granted a pension.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (January 27, 1900)

DIED: GOLIGHLTLY: Passed to the higher life Mrs. E. Golightly on Thursday the 25th inst. at her home in Blackburn Gulch. Interment at IOOF.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 6, 1900)

Card of Thanks

To the many friends and neighbors and the members of the Wallace Reynolds Post and Woman's Relief Corp, I wish to give my heartfelt thanks and attention during the period of my late bereavement and loss of my mother.
Mary C. Golightly

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

NARA Pension/Military Research (October 10, 2003)

National Archives Pension application records indicate that John Golightly was born in Vermont about 1840. His wife's pension request indicated that her name was Mary Elmira Steven and that they had been married on April 1, 1874 in Winnemucca, Nevada. In July 1890 at the time of John's application they were living in Paradise, Humboldt County, Nevada. The reason for the pension was John's total blindness caused by a premature explosion of blast, which totally removed his left eyeball and removed sight from the right eye. John Golightly died near Santa Cruz on July 25, 1894 and Mary died in February 1900. There were no children from the union.

Evergreen Cemetery and Voter Registration Records

John Golightly was born in Newcastle, England in 1841. In the Great Record of 1892 he indicated that he was 55 which would make his year of birth 1837 or 1838 and his death certificate lists him as a native of Scotland. He came to the United States sometime before the age of 22.

On November 27, 1861 he enlisted in Co. D 2nd California Volunteer Infantry at Fort Hoskins Oregon. From February 8, 1862 until April 27, 1862 he was absent from his post and upon his return he was put into confinement and court martialed. His punishment was forfeiture of ten dollars pay for the period of one month. On October 5, 1862 he was promoted to Corporal, and to Sergeant in February, 1863 (four months later). In April he requested to be returned to the rank of private.

Golightly seemed to have difficulty in his military career. In 1864 he was accused of swindling the government. An officer who had been in charge of Golightly accused him of having used soldiers under his charge to cut wood for sale to civilians and then pocketing the money. Golightly was also accused of beating his men and stealing and killing cattle. He was placed in jail and charged with foraging and killing cattle. This occurred after Golightly had been returned to the ranks from his sergeant assignment. For these actions Golightly underwent court-martial proceedings.

In November of 1864 John Golightly was honorably discharged from the service at the Presidio of San Francisco after a three-year term of service.

By trade John Golightly was a painter, and for a time he lived at Paradise in Humboldt County, Nevada. On April 1, 1874 he and Mary Elmira Stevens took out a marriage license, and were married on June 23, 1874. Golightly's naturalization papers for US citizenship were filed on Nov. 15, 1878 in the San Francisco District.

After leaving Nevada, Golightly moved to Santa Cruz County and lived in Blackburn Gulch. While here he affiliated with the local Grand Army of the Republic chapter. On July 21, 1890 Golightly filed a claim for an invalid's pension due to blindness, and was awarded a $12.00 per month pension.

Voters Registration information of the period describe him as being 6 ft. tall with a fair complexion, and brown hair.

On July 25, 1896, John Golightly died. According to N.H. Clark the attending MD the cause was that of paralysis of the heart.

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