“John L. Hebron, son of Alexander and Lydia (Giles) Hebron, was born in Steubenville, Ohio, January [or December] 17, 1842, died in the city of his birth, May 25, 1914, and was laid at rest in the family vault in Union Cemetery. He was educated in the public schools of Steubenville, and then became an apprentice to the granite and marble cutting trade. He continued in that line until his enlistment on September 5, 1861, as a bugler in Company G, Second Regiment, Ohio Volunteers. He was engaged with his regiment at the battles of Ivy Mountain, Perryville, Murfreesboro, Stone River, Hoover’s Gap, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and in many engagements and skirmishes. At the battle of Stone River the color bearer of the Thirtieth Regiment, Arkansas Infantry, Confederate, was shot, and the flag of the regiment was captured by Colonel McCook, who gave it to bugler Hebron to take to the rear, which he did in safety. He was honorably discharged from the service in Columbus, Ohio, October 10, 1864, having been in the service something over three years without receiving the slightest visible physical injury.
After returning from the war, he resumed work at his trade in Steubenville, and became a skilled marble and granite cutter, specializing in monumental work. He opened a marble yard in Steubenville, in the McEldowney building on Market Street, and there he continued in the monumental business for many years. He met with a fair degree of success in his business, and many of the monuments and gravestones seen in Union Cemetery were erected by Mr. Hebron. Prior to his passing, he erected a Hebron family monument in Union Cemetery. About the year 1900 he retired from business, being a great sufferer from varicose veins, a trouble induced by exposure and fatigue while in the army.
Mr. Hebron was a Republican in politics, and served his city as councilman and member of the Board of Education. He was one of the charter members of Webster Post, Grand Army of the Republic, of Steubenville, was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was an attendant of St. Paul Protestant Episcopal Church. He was well known in Steubenville, and was highly esteemed as a man of honor and integrity.
On February 19, 1873, Mr. Hebron married, in Wheeling, West Virginia, Martha E. Dalby, born in Steubenville, Ohio, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Huff) Dalby, both families of Washingtin county, Pennsylvania, and early settlers in Steubenville, where they located as early as the year 1803. Mrs. Hebron survives her husband, a resident of Steubenville, Ohio, her home No. 536 South Fourth street. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. Four children were born to John L. and Martha E. (Dalby) Hebron: 1. Jessie Edgington, who died in Steubenville, Ohio. 2. Victor, a master plumber of Steubenville, Ohio; married Grace Dean. 3. Solon Chase, engaged in the pottery business; married Catherine Grimm, and they have two children, Claud Dean and Beaulah. 4. Sue, married Ralph L. Jones, secretary of La Belle Iron Works; Mr. and Mrs. Jones are the parents of a daughter, Martha A. Mrs. Jones is secretary of the Republican Woman’s Club of Steubenville, Ohio, and an active worker.” [Source: American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Volume 11, by William Richard Cutter, page 222]
The Repository of Canton, Ohio, of 26 May 1914 carried the following cryptic obituary for John under the heading, “He Prepared to Die” — Steubenville, O., May 26. — When John L. Hebron, a prominent Odd Fellow, died here Monday, his grave was dug, his vault built, and the tombstone ready for the date. He had arranged all these in later years. He was 71 years old.
The image at right is known to be of John L. Hebron, probably taken at Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1863 after having been reduced in flesh considerably by an illness. I believe the image at left is also of John L. Hebron but taken at an earlier time when he was much heavier. The image at left and the image of Charles R. Hebron (see below) were together in a double-locket, possibly the property of their mother.
John L. Hebron’s Parents
“When just crossing the threshold of life, Alexander Hebron left his home in Clayville, Washington county, Pennsylvania, and located in Steubenville, Ohio. There he became a blacksmith’s apprentice, and as the years passed he grew in skill, but was not satisfied with his trade and abandoned it in favor of a mercantile career. He was sixteen years of age when he came to Steubenville, and from the time he quit blacksmithing [late 1860’s] until his death in 1892, he conducted a grocery store. He was a man of strong character, independent and resourceful, self-reliant and a man of integrity. In politics, he followed no party, and in religion was a member of the Methodist Protestant church. He married Lydia Giles, born in Dexter, England, who died in Steubenville, Ohio, at the age of sixty-two. She was an Episcopalian. She was buried with her husband in Union Cemetery, Steubenville.
Alexander and Lydia (Giles) Hebron were the parents of eight children: Hanson, deceased; John L. [see biographical sketch]; Mary, married William Kenyon; Charles, a Union soldier during the Civil War; Edith, married David Mellor; James, Lucy and Damaca, all deceased.” [Source: American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Volume 11 by William Richard Cutter (1922)]
John L. Hebron’s Siblings Mentioned in the Letters
John’s letters frequently refer to a relative he calls “Sis” but does not name. I believe she was Maria S. Whellier (or Whillier) who was erroneously enumerated as “Maria S. Whillico” in the 1850 US Federal Census in the Hebron family household at Steubenville. Various genealogical entries give John’s mother’s maiden name as “Wheeler” which I believe to have been a derivation of Whillier. It is my hunch that John’s mother, Lydia Giles, married a Whillier, and was the mother of the child Maria, born 1836 in Ohio, before she took Alexander as her second husband. Maria married Levi Matthew Neas (1833-1912), the son of Samuel M. Neas (1812-1880), on 22 June 1856 in Jefferson county, Ohio. In both the 1860 and 1870 US Federal Census, Levi and Maria were enumerated in Morgan, Butler county, Ohio. Levi served in the Ohio militia which was activated during the summer of 1864. [see Letter of 15 August, 1864, for example]. Service records indicate that Levi “Nease” enlisted on 2 May 1864 as a corporal in Co. B, 167th Ohio Infantry and that he was mustered out on 8 September 1864 at Hamilton, Ohio. This couple relocated to Sigourney, Keokuk county, Iowa, about 1871 where Levi engaged in the trade of brick and stone masonry. Maria died in Iowa in 1909. I believe a brother of Levi’s named John Neas (b. 1839) served with John in Co. G, 2nd OVI. John Neas was wounded and taken prisoner by the Confederates at the Battle of Chickamauga in Georgia on 19 September 1863 [see: Letter of 26 September 1863] but survived the war, mustering out of the service in July 1865.
On-line genealogical records suggest that Hanson (“Hans”) Hebron was the oldest child of Alexander Hebron and Lydia Giles. Hans was born in July 1839 in Steubenville. He appears to have followed in his father’s footsteps learning the blacksmith trade and then becoming a grocer. It seems he was married in 1864 to Mary Black (1844-1926). John’s letters never indicate that Hans ever served as a soldier in the Civil War although he probably served the government as a blacksmith in a civilian capacity. He appears to have been drafted in 1864 but may have gotten an exemption or a substitute.
Mary E. Hebron was born in 1845, some two or three years younger than John. She is mentioned frequently in his letters as “Mary.” She was married on 31 December 1863 to William Andrew Kenyon [see letter of 5 January 1864]. It appears that the young married couple lived with the Hebron family in Steubenville initially but a conflict of some sort arose between Mary and her mother which caused the couple to strike out on their own — an event which angered John and caused a suspension in his correspondence with Mary.
Next in age, born in September 1847, was Charles R. Hebron, or “Charley.” Early in the war, from John’s letters we learn that Charley was working in Pittsburg — perhaps learning a menial trade. John’s letters suggest that Charley had a limited education as his writing and spelling was very poor. Though John repeatedly advised his younger brother to stay out of the war, Charley enlisted in the 13th Ohio Cavalry at the age of sixteen. “It will make a man out of him or kill him,” wrote John to his mother. Though attempts were made by the family to get the enlistment annulled, Charley persisted in his determination to go and eventually went with the unit to the battlefront in Virginia where they were utilized as infantry rather than cavalry. Sometime after the Battle of Cold Harbor, Charley contracted typhoid fever and died at a hospital at City Point on 17 July 1864 — just weeks before John’s term of service ended with the 2nd OVI. Enlistment records for Charles Hebron state that he stood 5’6″ tall, had a light complexion, grey eyes, and dark hair.
John had four younger siblings — Edith (“Edie”), James (“Jim”), Lucy, and Damasca (or Damaca) but only the last named in mentioned on more than one occasion, if at all.
There are a few letters in this archive that were written by John Hardacre who is believed to have been a relative of John’s mother. John Hardacre [or Hardacker] was married to Mary Anne Robinson (1842-1882) on 12 July 1860 in Gloucester, Massachusetts according to State Marriage Records. We learn from the marriage records that John was born in England, the son of William and Margaret Hardachre. We also learn that Mary Ann was born in England, the daughter of James and Betsy Robinson. John gave his occupation as “Carpenter” at the time of his marriage in 1860. Another Massachusetts Record tells us that Mary Ann gave birth to a daughter named Emma Hardacre on 14 March 1861 in Lawrence. [Emma married Hugh Travers in 1880 in Rhode Island.] Mary Ann took a second husband named John Kaye (1825-1899) sometime previous to 1870.
A further search of military records revealed that John Hardacre — whom we know was disgruntled with his regiment (Co. G, 2nd Ohio Infantry) — deserted and traveled to Cincinnati where he enlisted on 4 April in the U.S. 17th Infantry [Regular Army]. His enlistment record tells us he was born in Long Preston, a village in the Craven district of North Yorkshire, England. He stood 5’9″, had grey eyes, black hair and a light complexion. This record also tells us that he deserted from the army on 23 August 1862.
John L. Hebron’s Friends Mentioned in the Letters
There were several acquaintances mentioned from time to time in John’s letters to his family in which he claimed a correspondence. These included:
- Henry (“Hen”) Clay Anderson (1846-1906) was the son of Lewis Anderson (1821-1902) and Eleanor Iams (1823-1893) of Steubenville, Jefferson county, Ohio. Hen married Luella Francis Worthington (1848-1914) in December 1871. Hen and his brothers ran a planing mill in Steubenville.
- Augustus (“Gust”) Dunkerly (1842-1894) was the son of Luke (1810-1879) and Judith (1813-1877) Dunkerly of Steubenville, Jefferson county, Ohio. Both Luke and Judith were born in England. Augustus enlisted at the age of 20 in Co. F, 84th Ohio Infantry. He mustered out of the service in 100 days. After the war, Gus resided in Solano, California, for a time. By 1880, he was back in Steubenville occupied as a “nailer.” I don’t believe he ever married.
- John Gregg Waers (1840-1925), was the son of Sinesa Waers (1816-1853) and Keziah (Culp) Waers (1822-1919). Sinesa and Keziah were married in April 1839 in Jefferson county, Ohio. John’s father died in California while seeking his fortune in gold. John served for a time in the 157th OVI. He married Mary E. Hare in June 1863 and resided in Iowa.
John Hebron’s brother-in-law — Joseph Madison Dalbey
Joseph Madison Dalbey (1828-1863) was born in Steubenville, Jefferson county, Ohio — the eldest child of Joseph Dalbey (1803-1862) and Mary Huff (1803-1878). He was married on 30 March 1856 to Margaret J. Acheson in Jefferson county, Ohio.
The picture at right is a daguerreotype that came with the Hebron collection of letters and claimed by Hebron family descendants to be Joseph M. Dalbey — probably taken at about the time of his marriage.
It is family oral tradition that, “Joseph Madison Dalby was an engineer on the steamer Cahoula, US Navy, and was captured by the confederates. He died as a prisoner in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was buried at the National Cemetery at Vickburg, Grave 3526.” Regrettably I have not found information on-line that would confirm these assertions with the exception that “J. M. Dalbey” died on 10 August 1863 and was initially buried near the lower bend at Snyder’s Bluff, Mississippi (later relocated to the Vicksburg National Cemetery) where a Union soldier headstone was placed on his grave giving his service affiliation as Navy. I can not find any Navy Enlistment records for Dalbey and neither can I find any steamer named “Cahoula.” It is my assumption that Dalbey was the engineer aboard the steamer “Catahoula” which was a privately-owned, commercial steamer that plied the Mississippi river before the Civil War. She was “taken” by Confederates at the outset of the Civil War and not recovered by the Union until 1862 at Memphis when she was pressed into service for transporting troops and supplies. Dalbey may have been working on the Catahoula in a civilian capacity but pressed with the steamer into government service.
Prior to the Civil War, there are a couple of notices in the New Orleans papers for letters awaiting pickup at the post office in New Orleans for J. M. Dalbey. Perhaps Dalbey was working as an engineer on a commercial steamer? Further evidence of Dalbey’s not being officially in the U.S. Navy is the lack of a pension record for Dalbey’s widow.