Col. Gideon R. Kellams Biography Page


Date and Place of Birth: 6/6/1828.  Illinois.
Spouse: Maria Egnew (b. 12/28/1828 - d. 1/17/1902).
Children: 11 Children
Date and Place of Death:  1/19/1902.  Gentryville, Indiana.
Place of Burial: Garden of Memory Cemetery (Eastern Section), Spencer County, Indiana (Jackson Township).

Military History: Mustered in as 1st Lieutenant, and mustered out as Colonel of the 42nd.  See details below.
Comments: Attorney of law, by trade, and maintained an office in Gentryville, Indiana, after the war.  His family also owned the Rockport Democrat newspaper for an unknown period of  time.

Charter member of  the Col. William Jones GAR Post No. 100 - Gentryville, IN
Submitter of Information: Mark R. Fahrenkrug, Larry Harms, Tim Beckman

Colonel Gideon R. Kellams
Source: Horrall, S. F., History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, p. 231.


Colonel Gideon R. Kellams 
(photo is believed to have been taken at the first 
GAR Reunion in Evansville, IN,  circa 1886?). 

Photo Courtesy of Larry Harms

Military History:


 Source:  Horrall, S. F., History of the Forty-Second Indiana Volunteer Infantry, Published 1892. p

Gideon R. Kellams was born June 6, 1828, near Gentryville, Spencer county, Ind.  His parents were poor, but well educated; consequently, his early educational training was such as his parents were able to impart, consistent with their duties on the farm.  This was the beginning.  However, he had some advantage of the schools of that day, in the neighborhood, later on in life; but his chief schooling was on the farm in agricultural pursuits.  By dint of industry and application, he progressed in his studies far enough to begin reading law in 1857 with Judge L. Q. DeBruler, of Rockport, Ind.; continuing until 1861, when the war began, at which time he abandoned the law profession to enter the U. S. Army as 1st lieutenant of Company H, 42d Indiana Volunteers.  He was married in February, 1849, to Maria Egnew, of Spencer county, this State.  The fathers of husband and wife were Irish, the mothers German.

He was 33 years old when he entered the U. S. service as 1st lieutenant, and was among the first line officers to master the drill.  His previous studious habits stood him well in hand in this case.

From 1st lieutenant of his company he rose to the rank of captain, then to major of his regiment, and finally to colonel of the command, in which rank he was mustered out of service with the balance after the war closed.

In all the relations of an officer with the men, whatever his rank, Colonel Kellams had their entire confidence, and he likewise enjoyed, to the fullest, the confidence of his superior officers at all times.

After the war he was admitted to the bar as a lawyer, in 1874, in Spencer county, and is engaged in the practice of his chosen profession now, and in the addition to law practice is an attorney of record in the adjudication of pension claims, etc., of the Pension Department.

Death of Col. and Mrs. Gideon R. Kellams
Source: Rockport Democrat Newspaper, January 1902

Last Friday afternoon at 4:30, Mrs. Maria Egnew Kellams, wife of Colonel G. R. Kellams of Gentryville, died at the age 73 years and 19 days. At the time of her death her aged husband was also seriously ill, having been confined to his bed for several days. He had expressed the wish that he might die at the same time his wife should be called away.  Arrangements were made for the funeral of Mrs. Kellams at two o'clock Sunday afternoon, but as that time drew it became evident to the family that the father would not long survive.  In consequence of the Colonel's serious condition the funeral was postponed.  He passed quietly and peacefully away at three o'clock Sunday afternoon just one hour later that the time set for the funeral of Mrs. Kellams.

Both these respected people took a severe cold on the first of January. This developed into lagrippe in a few days and they were confined to their beds for about one week. Each expressed a choice as to a physician and the two physician's after consultation did all they could do for them but to no avail. Mrs. Kellams was unconscious for two days before death relived her suffering, but the husband was conscious clear on to his death. Only a short time before death, when he knew he could live but a little while, he said to those about him that everything was turning out just the way he wanted it to do. He did not want to get well after the death of Mrs. Kellams.

The funeral services were held Tuesday morning at 10:00 and were conducted by Reverend W. H. Dammon assisted by reverend W. L. Guard. The services were under the auspices of the G.A.R. and the Masonic fraternities and although the day was a very disagreeable one many old comrades and friends came from a distance to pay their last tribute of
remembrance to their departed friends.

Their bodies were interred in one grave in Gentryville Cemetery.

Obituary of Col. and Mrs. Gideon R. Kellams
This obituary was read at the funeral

Gideon R. Kellams was born in the state of  Illinois, June 6 1828 and died January 19, 1902 at three P.M. being 73 years, seven months and thirteen days of age. In his early years, when about four years of age, he moved with his parents to Indiana and found a home in Spencer County, where grew to manhood endured to the privations and hardships experienced by those who built homes in the forests of that early day. Naturally studious he acquired sufficient education while yet a young man to 
teach school and follow that vocation several years, until about the time of his marriage.

Maria Egnew Kellams was born in Spencer County near the town of Gentryville, December 28, 1828. Her death occurred January 17, 1902. She was consequently 73 years and 19 days of age. She grew to womanhood on the farm of which she was born.

These two were united in marriage February 8, 1849, nearly 53 years ago. To this union eleven children, five sons and six daughters were born. All survived the death of father and mother except the younger two daughters, who preceded them to the world beyond.

Soon after the breaking of the Civil War the father left the mother with a family of seven children and enlisted in the service of his country because he felt it his duty to defend his country in this way. From First Lieutenant of Company H of the 42nd Regiment of Indiana Volunteers he arose to Captain of the Company, then to Major, then Lieutenant Colonel and soon to Colonel of his Regiment, and mustered out as such at the close of the war. He was one of that class of soldiers who saw his duty to life always in the line of service and consequently his hospital record is a very meager one. He spent more than one hundred days on the firing line. Where ever a 42nd man may be found, there is one who unreservedly gives willing evidence of the loyalty, bravery and unselfish friendship of Colonel Kellams. His career as soldier is one his children may ever reverence and refer to with pride.

The mother left to look after the wants of the large family at home, did bravely her share of service for her country. No less honor, no less glory is due the mother who did battle at home, than the father who battled in the field. Mrs. Kellams was known best in her home. That, she loved and honored. She would make any sacrifice for her children. She loved her home and the things about it. Every chicken and every flower was her pet, and in these she was ever vary near to the soul of nature around us.

She was a good women, kind patient, even tempered, self forgetful for others, one of the best Mothers the world has seen. No word of tongue nor touch of pen can add to that or take away.

In one grave are their two bodies laid, may they rest in sweet peace.


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This Page was Last Edited on October 30, 2004