Feature Story

Myron’s Mysterious Monument

Myron A Locklin

A gravestone issued as a memorial for a Civil War soldier was found in a Montpelier back yard several years ago. It had been issued to the widow of Sgt. M A Locklin of Northfield to mark her husband’s grave. She didn’t like it. The young widow set it aside. A second monument more to her liking was commissioned. The newer stone includes her name and the name of their child and his wife.

Myron A Locklin was born in Lyndon, Vermont in 1828, son of Hiram Lockling and Mary William Lockling. He was the grandson of Sergeant Jonathan Locklin, an early settler of that town. Myron came to Northfield sometime before 1853. Census records show that he was a jeweler. On January 28, 1853, being 27 years old, he married Luvia Rich of Northfield, aged 20, in Berlin, Vermont.

The Rich family had come to Northfield about 1820. Brothers David and Jonathan Rich settled near each other, but in different towns. Jonathan’s land was in Northfield Falls near the Cox Brook. David’s land was in Berlin near the Berlin/Northfield/Moretown town lines near the Cox Brook. David had married Sophia Coburn in 1822. They became the parents of nine children, six sons and three daughters. (Julia, Luvia, unknown female child, Alden, Luther, Hollis, Jonathan and two unknown sons). Luvia was born in Northfield in 1833. Jonathan Rich married Prunella Corey. Their family included ten children. The brothers and their families remained living close to each other. Seven of their collective children remained in Northfield Falls. This included three of David’s sons, Alden, Luther, and Hollis, and two of David’s daughters, Luvia (Mrs.Myron LOCKLIN) and Julia (Mrs. SMITH). Two of Jonathan’s children, Eugenia and Anna, made their homes in Northfield Falls.

The young couple, Luvia and Myron, probably began their married life in her parent’s or in the home of one of her numerous relatives. Selling, repairing and making jewelry probably could not support Myron and Luvia. Myron most likely worked with the other family members where they lived to complete the work about the farm. This arrangement was typical for that time. A son, Morris W was born in 1858. Their second son, Hollis Amos was born on April 3, 1861 in Northfield.

Myron volunteered to serve in the United States Army Civil War under Lincoln’s call of July 2, 1862 for 300,000 volunteers. He enlisted on July16, 1862 in the Eleventh Vermont Infantry - First Heavy Artillery. He received a bounty of about $30. Myron planned to serve for three years. He was chosen to hold the rank of Second Sergeant in Company I. At that time officers were elected by their peers. (In mid-December 1862, the battalion was officially redesigned as the 1st Artillery, 11th Vermont Volunteers. This has caused confusion with the remaining records.)

By the middle of August ten companies had been organized, and had reported for duty at Camp Bradley in Brattleboro, Vermont. The recruits were mustered into the U. S. Army on September 1, 1862. The new soldiers left Vermont after having a week of training on September 7 for Washington, D.C. where it remained defending Washington for a period of 18 months. During this period of time, on September 11, 1863 Myron was promoted to First Sergeant. The unit was chiefly used to strengthen the works for mounting heavy artillery. The soldiers mounted upwards of 200 heavy guns and mortars and constructed improved defenses. The unit also provided soldiers to fortify Fort Slocum, Fort Stevens and Fort Totten. The unit garrisoned four other forts and occupied a line of about 7 miles on the front.

The troops experienced few of the real hardships of war during the year 1863 and during the first three months of 1864. They had comfortable quarters and the men enjoyed excellent health. Myron would have been able to write home frequently, if he was so inclined. Perhaps Luvia went to Washington to visit him.

After the terrible losses incurred at the battle of the Wilderness, the 11th Vermont was finally ordered into combat. Myron’s battalion was ordered to reinforce the Army of the Potomac. They reported for duty near Spotsylvania Courthouse as part of the infantry. It became part of the Vermont Brigade and was divided into three battalions. During the severe campaigning which began the 11th Vermont participated in every battle of the 6th Corps from May 1864, to April 1865. This action was part of the Richmond-Petersburg Campaign, which lasted from June 1864 to March 1865.

Brig. Gen. James Wilson and Brig. Gen. August Kautz led their troops to destroy the Staunton River Bridge on June 25. They failed in this endeavor and headed east. During this brief window of time, on June 26, Myron was mortally wounded. The soldiers crossed the Nottoway River at the Double Bridges on June 28, and headed north to Stony Creek Depot on the Weldon Railroad.

Myron was eventually sent to Burlington, Vermont to recover from his wounds. He was one of the lucky ones. "In fact, during the Civil War, death from disease accounted for two-thirds of all military fatalities, while only one-third of the deaths were directly attributed to battle wounds, overwhelmingly bullet wounds. If a soldier survived the first few days following a battle injury, he was threatened by a host of secondary potential killers—diseases such as chronic diarrhea, typhoid, and malaria—if he had been lucky enough to escape them in routine camp life."

There is no way to determine how Luvia received word of his injury and his pending return to Burlington, Vermont and the Marine hospital there. The hospital was renamed the General Hospital in April 1863. The facility treated a total of 2,406 men before the U.S. Army closed it in July 1865.

Luvia would have taken the train from the Northfield Falls Depot to Burlington to be with Myron. The hospital was located two miles south of the village of Burlington on ten acres of land off of Shelburne Road. The journey must have taken several endless hours. It must have been difficult for Luvia to see her beloved husband in critical condition and their reunion poignant. In spite of the care of the doctors and nurses Myron did not respond to treatment. He succumbed to his injuries on August 22, 1864. His body was returned to Northfield Falls and interred in the Falls Cemetery.

Luvia disliked the monument provided by the United States Government. Myron’s original marker stood in the cemetery for a time. A replacement was designed that was more to her liking. The new monument included Myron’s name and rank and the years that he lived. The font that had been used to letter the original monument appeared to misspell the name LOCKLIN as LOOKLIN. Luvia’s name and lifespan and the names of their son, M W Locklin, (1858- date not added), and his wife, Clara A Dodge, (1859-1916) were added. The monument was made of Barre Granite. It is a rectangular marker with an arched top. The front lettered area is polished. A recessed panel at the top contains the name “Locklin” in raised block letters. The remaining lettering is a recessed block font. The three remaining sides have a rock pitched texture. Northfield Historical Society member Linda DeNeergaard’s opinion is that this replacement marker was made sometime after 1916, the time of the death of Luvia’s daughter-in–law. Since Luvia had died in 1899 it seems that Morris commissioned the new marker. Perhaps he was honoring his Mother’s wishes.

Luvia never remarried. Her name appears in the Northfield 1883-1884 directory when she was about 50 years old, showing that she was living in Gouldsville, a renamed section of Northfield Falls. It was uncommon for women to be listed in these Directories. She continued to live in Gouldsville for the remaining years of her life.

Luvia’s sons grew to manhood and eventually married. Morris or Maurice (1858-1925) was the first son of Luvia and Myron Morris. Records show that he used both Maurice and Morris as his first name. Morris worked as a spinner in a woolen factory. He married Clara A Dodge from Randolph, Vermont. They made their home on Cemetery Street before moving to St. Albans, Vermont about 1888 or 1889. They had one son, Claude Leonard Lockin, born in 1889 in St. Albans. Clara died in 1916 in St Albans, Vermont. Clara is buried in the same gravesite as Myron and Luvia according to the Falls Cemetery records. Morris died in St Albans in 1925. Morris’ burial place is unknown.

Her second son, Hollis (1861-1947) married Lydia E Bell (1868-1919). He worked as a quarryman. They had one son, Myron A. who lived from 1883 –1887. Census records show that Hollis lived in Northfield Falls until after 1920. He then moved to New Hampshire until about 1935 when he moved to Roxbury, Vermont.

Claude lived in St. Albans, married Eva Fortin and had two children, Alberta and Lawrence. Claude served as a First lieutenant in World War I.

Claude died in St. Albans in 1959. Perhaps Myron’s line continues through Alberta and Lawrence’s descendants.

Her second son, Hollis (1861-1947) married Lydia E Bell (1868-1919). He worked as a quarryman. They had one son, Myron A. who lived from 1883 –1887. Census records show that Hollis lived in Northfield Falls until after 1920. He then moved to New Hampshire until about 1935 when he moved to Roxbury, Vermont.

Luvia could never forget her Myron. She dreamed of replacing the government issued marker. The erroneous spelling of the Locklin name is corrected. It seems that Morris honored her wishes after her death. The Locklin family in Northfield is now part of Northfield’s history. Myron’s original government issued marker found its way back to Northfield and is now on display in the Northfield Historical Society.

The Northfield Historical Society will be open on Tuesdays from 2:00 to 4:00 and on Saturdays from 12:00 to 2:00 beginning May 30, 2015 and by appointment. The Museum is located at 75 So. Main Street. The Society can be reached by telephone (802-485-4792) or by checking our website.

Mary E. Comiskey, Northfield Historical Society