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Adam A. Wiltrout


Adam A. Wiltrout was born on May 30 or June 3, 1840 at Summit Mills, Somerset County, PA, about three miles west of Meyersdale, the son of James and Eleanor "Nellie" (Younkin) Wiltrout Sr.

He migrated to Indiana with his parents as a young boy. His mother died soon after the move.

Then as a teenager, he moved with his father and stepmother from Indiana to Richland County, WI. He stood 5 feet, 11 inches tall in manhood and weighed 155 lbs. Evidence exists showing that in adulthood, Adam was estranged by his younger half-siblings from his father's second marriage.

Adam resided at Blue River Station, WI in 1860, working for the father of William H. Cooper. He joined the Union Army after the outbreak of the Civil War, enlisting in Blue River on Nov. 2, 1861. He was placed into the 14th Wisconsin Infantry, Company K. During his military service, he was promoted to the rank of corporal.

While at Shiloh/Pittsburg Landing, TN, in April 1862, he contracted diarrhea which his commanding officer, 1st Lt. Henry S. Blackett noted was "exposure incident to camp life -- part of the time the regiment being without tents and in very rainy weather." Camp life included enduring "laying in mud & water," he recalled. The next month, in May 1862, at Corinch, MS, Adam developed hemorrhoids while unloading heavy ammunition and foraging from river streams. Later that summer in July 1862, he was afflicted with sunstroke. He claimed this combination of ailments affected his joints and was the reason for chronic diarrhea and hemorrhoids he endured for years.   

Adam and his regiment are known to have been stationed at Hamburg, TN in July 1862 and Corinth, MS in August 1862. He was treated at Lake Providence in April 1863 and appears to have been away from his regiment until August 1863. The 14th Wisconsin saw action at the battles in and around Vicksburg in Mississippi in May-July 1863. The campaign cost the Union 4,835 casualties but the Confederate Army an astonishing 32,697 killed, wounded and missing. Years later, Adam was named in the 14th Infantry's section of the book Wisconsin At Vicksburg: Report of the Wisconsin-Vicksburg Monument Commission.

He was discharged on Dec. 10, 1863 and re-enlisted the next day at Mazomanie, WI. He remained with his unit until discharge in Mobile, AL on Oct. 9, 1865, following the conclusion of the conflict. 


Civil War battle action at Vicksburg, Mississippi


Adam was twice-wed. His first bride was Martha Jane "Marty" Kennedy ( ? - ? ). Together they bore a son, John Wiltrout. The marriage did not endure, and she sued for divorce. The Circuit Court for Richland County, WI approved her petition on April 13, 1869. 

After the divorce, Adam made his home in Monona, IA, while Martha allegedly married again to (?) Morgan ( ? - ? ).

On the Fourth of July 1871, at the age of 31, Adam was joined in wedlock with 15-year-old Mercy Elizabeth Clark (1856- ? ), a native of Pennsylvania but at the time a resident of Monona, IA and/or Crawford County, WI. The couple was 17 years apart in age. Their nuptials were held in Prairie du Chien, by the hand of justice of the peace Ira B. Brunson. Among the witnesses were Cornlia M. Batchelder and Cary B. Batchelder.

Mercy could not read or write and signed her name with an "X" on official documents.

A dozen children were produced by the couple. The known names were Rosa R. Wiltrout, James Wiltrout, Charles Wiltrout, Bertha B. Wiltrout, Jacob Samuel Wiltrout, Mary Elizabeth VanGorden, Benjamin Franklin "Bennie" Wiltrout, Roland Wiltrout and Zeefa Wiltrout. Grief blanketed the family when their one-month-old daughter Zeefa died in Marietta, WI on Jan. 18, 1899.

The Wiltrouts made a home in Wisconsin immediately after Adam's return home, including on the farm of Jonathan Starner from May 1866 to February 1867. Then in March 1870 they pulled up stakes and migrated to Iowa. The family returned to Wisconsin in the fall of 1877, after being away for more than seven years. Friend Thomas Jones of Viola, WI knew Adam during these years and employed him at different times, reporting that Adam was not an able-bodied man after the war. Hiram W. Ambrose, a lifelong friend, also hired Adam to provide work in the 1865 to 1875 timeframe.

Bird's-eye view of Viola, Wisconsin

Many years later, Adam was awarded a military pension for his wartime service. [Invalid App. #483.994 - Cert. #326.785] He claimed that he was in constant pain in the head and at times all over the body, especially in hot weather and before a storm. Two to three times a year, he said, he had attacks of loose bowels and that his hemorrhoids bled freely, and that he had lower back pain and dizziness. 

A number of neighbors and friends gave written testimony to back his claim. These included Robert P. Guthrie and Samuel T. Wayne of Marietta, WI, who said they saw Adam "very often, most every day." Others were John P. Crouse of Watterston, WI and Milton Hungerford of Blue River, WI and James Reed of Watterstown, who reported that the soldier had been "almost helpless during the time since 1892." W.H. Cooper of Eagle, WI testified that he had known Adam since the age of 12 and that they were in same regiment and company during the war.

When the federal census enumeration was made in 1880, the Wiltrouts dwelled on a farm in Forest Township, Richland County, WI. They remained there as of 1885 as depicted in the Wisconsin State Census, but around that time also made a home in Manston, Juneau County. In 1889, friend William H. Clark wrote that "his family is large and in need of his labors. I have seen him sick for months at a time and he would complain of his head aching in the back part of his head and through the back... I feel sorry for him." Friends Thomas H. Brewer and George Blozer noted that Adam would self-medicate with patent medicines, roots and herbs and claimed that he spent money on doctoring when the funds were needed more by the family.

Adam once wrote that "I am an Enemy to liquor." 

Circa 1892 they were in Rockton, Vernon County, WI. Then when counted in the special state census of Civil War soldiers and sailors, in 1895, Adam and the family resided in Muscoda, Grant County. 

His monthly pension check in 1892 was in the amount of $4.00 and in 1895 was $6.00. He filed for an increase, but it was rejected on the grounds that his disabilities did not prevent him from earning a living through manual labor.

The Wisconsin Census of 1905 lists the family as farmers in Marietta, Crawford County, WI.

Burdened with pneumonia, as well as kidney and heart disease, the 67-year-old Adam succumbed to death in Marietta on Feb. 11, 1908. Burial of the remains was in Christ Cemetery in or near the town.

After Adam died, Mercy in 1908 was awarded his military pension. [Widow App. #885.839 - Cert. #666.472] Among those providing written affidavits in support of her claim were 76-year-old George B. Painton of Calmar, Winnesheik County, IA, who said he had known Mercy her entire lifetime, and Sara Brewer of Watterstown, Grant County, WI, who was present in 1893 at the birth of Mercy's son Roland. Others included Ellis H. Clark of Viola, WI who said he had known Mercy since she was 15 years of age, and Mary M. Comstock of Boscobel, WI who had known the soldier before the war and thus was acquainted with both of Adam's wives..

The widowed Mercy then went to live in the household of her married son Jacob in Marietta. The 1910 federal census shows her in the home, along with her sons Benjamin and Roland.

Mercy eventually migrated with her sons James and Benjamin to Arkansas. After James' wife died young, leaving four mouths to feed, Mercy resided in their home to help with child-raising. They are shown together in the 1920 U.S. Census of Dota, Independence County, AR. Her final pension payments were $38 per month.

Mercy passed into eternity on Oct. 22, 1934 in Sulphur Rock, Independence County, AR. Her remains were transported back to Wisconsin to rest for all time in Pleasant Mound Cemetery in Easter Rock, Crawford County.

This family appears to be spelled out in the 1977 book by Dale E. Wiltrout, entitled The Wiltrout Genealogy, and in the 1979 book Early Families of Richland County, Wisconsin.

~ Son John Wiltrout ~

Son John Wiltrout ( ? - ? ) was born to the first marriage. 

His mother was awarded custody during the divorce of 1869 in Richland County, WI. 

His whereabouts after that time are not known.

~ Daughter Rosa R. Wiltrout ~

Daughter Rosa R. Wiltrout (1871- ? ) was born on Feb. 12, 1873 in Iowa.

Nothing more about her life is known. 

~ Son James Giles Wiltrout ~

Son James Giles Wiltrout (1874- ? ) was born on March 15, 1874/1875 in Iowa. 

At the age of 20 in 1905, unmarried, James boarded on the farm of widower David F. Hubbel next door to James' parents in Marietta, Crawford County, WI. 

He married Elsie Mae Hubble ( ? - ? ). 

They were the parents of four known offspring -- Tressia Wiltrout, Adam James Wiltrout, Lita Wiltrout and Elsie Wiltrout. 

Circa 1910-1911, the Wiltrouts migrated south into Arkansas, where their daughter Elsie was born in 1911. Sadly, James' wife died during the 1910s. The federal census enumeration of 1920 shows the Wiltrouts in Dota, Independence County, AR, with James' widowed mother in the household. The mother remained in the home until her death in 1934.

Daughter  Tressia Wiltrout (1905- ? ) was born in about 1905 in Wisconsin. 

Son Adam James Wiltrout (1906-1974) was born on Jan. 31, 1906 in Boscobel, Grant County, WI. When he was 23 years old, on Aug. 12, 1929, he was joined in marriage with Gladys Marion Cook (April 8, 1912-1988). Their wedding was held in Bemidji, Beltrami County, MN. The couple's brood of offspring included Ellen Gladys Holloway, Thomas Adam Wiltrout, Elsie L. Wiltrout, Eileen Barbara Girtman and James David Wiltrout. The federal census enumeration of 1930 shows Adam married but boarding in the house of Grover and Emma Snyder in Eagle, Richland County, WI, working as a day laborer on a dairy farm. Evidence suggests the children all were born in Richland Center, Richland County, WI. The couple migrated to Arkansas and put down stakes in or near Shirley, Van Buren County. Sadly, Adam died in Shirley on Dec. 14, 1974. Gladys survived him by 14 years and passed on Aug. 27, 1988. Their final resting place is in Wood Cemetery in Independence County, AR.

Daughter Lita Wiltrout (1909- ? ) was born in about 1909 in Wisconsin.

Daughter Elsie Wiltrout (1911- ? ) was born in about 1911 in Arkansas.

~ Son Charles Wiltrout ~

Son Charles Wiltrout (1877- ? ) was born on Jan. 22, 1877 in Wisconsin.

~ Daughter Bertha B. Wiltrout ~

Daughter Bertha B. Wiltrout (1878- ? ) was born on Oct. 13, 1878 in Wisconsin.


Main Street in Boscobel, Wisconsin, early 1900s


~ Son Jacob Samuel Wiltrout ~

Son Jacob Samuel Wiltrout (1884- ? ) was born on April 20, 1884 in Wisconsin. 

In 1908, at the age of about 23, he entered into wedlock with Jane Simons (1877-1953). 

Together, they bore a brood of five -- William Albert Wiltrout, Ernest Wiltrout, Hester J. Leffler and Blanche K. Rose. Sadly, they also lost an infant son in 1921. 

The 1910 federal census enumeration shows the couple in Marietta, Crawford County, with Jacob's widowed mother and younger brothers Benjamin and Roland under their roof. He later moved to Boscobel, Grant County, WI. 

Death swept away Jane in 1953. Jacob died at the age of 82, on Nov. 13, 1966, in Boscobel.

Son William A. Wiltrout (1909-1984) was born in about 1909 in Marietta, Crawford County, WI.

Son Ernest Wiltrout (1910-1929) was born in 1910.

Daughter Hester J. Wiltrout (1915-1981) was born in 1915. She wedded (?) Leffler.

Daughter Blanche K. Wiltrout (1920-2012) was born in 1920. She married (?) Rose.

~ Daughter Mary Elizabeth (Wiltrout) VanGorden ~

Daughter Mary Elizabeth Wiltrout (1886-1922) was born on March 28, 1886/1887 in Richland County, WI. 

In 1904, when she was 18 years of age, she was united in the bonds of wedlock with George McClellan VanGorden (1868-1957). 

They appear to have made their residence in Marietta, Crawford County, WI. 

Sadly, at the age of 36, Mary Elizabeth died on June 28, 1922 in Marietta. The remains were lowered into the sleep of eternity in Wayne Cemetery in Marietta. 

George survived his bride by 35 years. He passed at the age of 89 on Nov. 1, 1957.

~ Son Benjamin Franklin Wiltrout ~

Son Benjamin Franklin "Bennie" Wiltrout (1891-1913) was born on June 9, 1891 in Wisconsin. 

 At the age of 19, in 1910, he lived with his older brother Jacob in Marietta, Crawford County, and earned a living as a farm laborer. Within a year or two he may have moved to Boscobel, Grant County, WI. 

In 1911, Benjamin and his brothers and widowed mother relocated south into Arkansas, settling in Sulphur Rock, "where he lived the rest of his days," reported the Batesville (AR) Daily Guard

At the age of 21, he was very ill and knew he was dying. He asked that the Christian hymn Glory to His Name be played so that he could hear it one last time. 

He succumbed to the angel of death on April 1, 1913. The Glory hymn was reprised at his funeral service, which was officiated by Rev. Story. Interment of the remains was in Harden Cemetery. His obituary in the Daily Guard said that he "leaves a mother, four brothers and two sisters, besides a host of friends and other relatives."

~ Son Roland E. Wiltrout ~

Son Roland E. Wiltrout (1893- ? ) was born on May 12, 1893 in Wisconsin. Sara Brewer was present at the birth and may have assisted as a midwife. 

In 1910, at age 17, he resided with his older brother Jacob and provided labor on the family farm in Marietta, Crawford County, WI. Then in 1911, he migrated south to Arkansas with his widowed mother and brothers, putting down roots in Sulphur Rock. 

Roland served in the U.S. Army during World War I, holding the rank of private in the Quartermaster Corps. 

At the age of 28, in about 1921, he was united in marriage with 17-year-old Ruth Foster (1904-1988), daughter of Martha Caroline (Duncan) Foster. 

Two known sons were born to this union -- James E. "Jimmy" Wiltrout and Albert Junior Wiltrout. 

Census records for 1930 show the family in Gainsboro, Independence County, AR, with Roland laboring as a farmer. 

Roland passed away at the age of 66 on Oct. 21, 1959. His remains are in honored rest in Lees Chapel Cemetery in Moorefield, Independence County. 

Ruth outlived her spouse by nearly three decades. The spectre of death swept her away at the age of 94 on Dec. 12, 1988.

Son  James E. "Jimmy" Wiltrout (1924-1991) was born on June 13, 1924 in Arkansas. He was joined in wedlock with Emma Gene Treadway (July 29, 1927-2009), daughter of Claud and Ruby Jewel (Tillman) Treadway of Jacksonport, AR. Together, the Wiltrouts bore a family of five -- Edward "Ed" Wiltrout, Albert Wiltrout, Bobby Joe Wiltrout, Betty Gibbs and Freda Hughes. The couple were members of Sulphur Rock Southern Baptist Church. Emma Gene relished cooking for her family, with fried chicken and coconut pies as her specialties. She raised a large vegetable garden and canned its produce. She also loved to take photographs of her family. James succumbed to death on Sept. 3, 1991, at the age of 67. Burial of the remains was in Lees Chapel Cemetery in Moorefield, Independence County, AR. Emma Gene lived on for 18 more years in her residence in Charlotte, Independence County. At the age of 82, while a patient at White River Medical Center in Batesville, Independence County, she was swept into the arms of the angels on Sept. 19, 2009. Brother J.D. Gillmore preached the funeral sermon in the family church. 

  • Grandson.Edward "Ed" Wiltrout (1949-2017) was born on Sept. 11, 1949 in Batesville, Independence County, AR. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. In about 1973, he entered into marriage with Hellen Levena Gillmore ( ? - ? ), daughter of R.J. and Anna Gillmore. Their union endured for 45 years. Three children born to this couple were James Wiltrout, Helen Huff and Amy Cleaver. The Wiltrouts dwelled in Charlotte, Independence County. Edward's hobbies included fishing, hunting and watching old western movies. Edward died at the age of 67 on April 13, 2017. He sleeps for eternity in Lees Chapel Cemetery in Moorefield, Independence County.
  • Grandson Albert Wiltrout married Julia and resided in 2017 in Sulphur Rock, AR.
  • Grandson Bobby Joe Wiltrout wed Nancy and relocated to Missouri.
  • Granddaughter Betty Wiltrout was united in matrimony with Archie Gibbs. Circa 2017, they were in Batesville, AR.
  • Granddaughter Freda Wiltrout was joined in wedlock with Donald Hughes. Their residence has been in Sulphur Rock.
Albert's name, Korean War Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo copyrighted by Grave Hunter, #47976571. Right: Purple Heart medal.


Son Albert Junior Wiltrout (1928-1950) was born on June 29, 1928 in Independence County, AR. He joined the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and was assigned to Company C, 2nd Engineer Combat Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division. While in action on the fateful day of Nov. 28, 1950, near Kunu-ri, North Korea, he went missing. A month later, on New Year's Eve 1951, he officially was declared dead. His remains never appear to have been recovered. Posthumously, he received the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, United Nations Service Medal and Republic of Korea War Service Medal. His name today is inscribed on the National Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC..


Copyright © 2021-2022 Mark A. Miner
Karole (Bertram) Carroll graciously has contributed content for this biography.