John Fuller Cram; biography
rww rev 3/28/2014
John Fuller Cram born 19 Feb 1831, Franklin, Pennsylvania killed in action Civil War, 21 May 1864, Milford Station, Virginia
Ruth Duffield, wife born 12 Jan 1838, Franklin, Pennsylvania died 7 Jun 1926, Youngstown, Ohio
John Fuller Cram was born Feb 19, 1831 in Franklin, Venango Co, PA. to parents Reverend Abiel Cram Jr and Sarah Midlam (children were; Mary, John Fuller, Horace Russell, Sarah, Hannah Eaton, Nancy J.) John Cram's middle name came from his great grandmother, Susanna Fuller (b 1747) plus his grandfather Abiel had a brother named the same - John Fuller Cram
Ruth Duffield was born Jan 12, 1838 in Franklin, Venango Co, PA. to parents Armstrong Duffield and Elizabeth Gilmore (children were; James, John Gilmore, Brice, Nancy A., Elizabeth, William, Jane, David, Ruth, Robert Armstrong, Charles).
Millard Fillmore is elected 13th President of the United States on July 10, 1850.
The 1850 Pennsylvania census for Clarion Co Washington Township (Orlando roll #767 family 822 page 228) recorded the Abial (spelled ABIAL) Cram family; Abial age 47 a teamster born in New Hampshire, Sarah age 42 born in PA, John 19 a laborer PA and Sarah 14 PA. Clarion County is adjacent to Venango in Pennsylvania.
The 1850 census for Venango Co. listed the Duffield family; Armstrong age 63 born PA and Elizabeth 53 PA with children James 28 PA, Brice 24 PA, Nancy 21 PA, Wm 19 PA, Jane 17 PA, David 15 PA, Ruth 13 PA, Robert 11 PA and Charles 9PA. Son John age 26 is found married and living next door to the family. For reasons we do not find recorded, Armstrong, age 64, and wife Elizabeth, age 54, both died one year after the census on the same day - Sep 12, 1851. Also to add to the puzzle, daughter Jane had died only two weeks earlier at age 17 and son Charles died only one week earlier at age 10. Cholera is suspected. Ruth, at age 13, survived.
From the Venango Spectator on August 14 1851 - Cholera; That there has for sometime been and is cholera in this neighborhood, no doubt exists. In addition to the cases we noticed last week, we have to add the death of John Anderson, who died on Saturday after a few hours of illness. To our people generally, we would say, be careful in both eating and drinking: purify your premises and live soberly and righteously - at least during the warm weather.
Cholera By John B. Osborne; The cholera epidemic provided a catalyst for transforming health and hygiene standards. It was carried to North America in 1832 aboard immigrant ships, breaking out in Philadelphia in July of that year. The epidemic years were 1832,1849, and 1866. The disease is characterized by extreme pain and dehydration from violent diarrhea and vomiting, often leading to death.
Franklin Pierce is elected 14th President of the United States on March 4, 1853.
On Oct 24, 1855 mother Sarah Midlam Cram writes a letter to her sister Elizabeth. She writes; "we received Josephs letter wich informd us of the death of our sister". Also, "you informed us that Joseph has another wife and that you think she is a nice woman". She is speaking of sister Susan and husband Joseph Barnes. She mentions, "Abiel and I are by our selves John and Horace are about 40 miles from home to work they are working at a steam sawmill I expect they will be away all winter".
Two Cram brothers married two Duffield sisters. John Cram and Ruth Duffield were married by Rev Robert Glenn of the Mill Creek Presbyterian Church at the home of Ruth's late father and mother, on Jan 24, 1856. One year later, in 1857, his brother Horace Cram married Nancy Duffield, Ruth's sister. Nancy is the mother of Liz (Cram) Hain and William Archer Cram. In 1880, the son of Horace Cram, William Archer, married Liz Millikin, the sister of Thomas Jefferson Millikin. Then, the two daughters of John Fuller Cram married two Millikin brothers. Hannah Jane Cram married Thomas Jefferson Millikin in 1881 and four years later in 1885, Harriet "Aunt Het" Cram married James T. Millikin.
First child, Charles F. is born May 3, 1856 in Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania.
Second child, Hannah Jane (ancestral grandmother) is born Aug 27, 1857 in Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania.
James Buchanan is elected 15th President of the United States on March 4, 1857.
The 1857 Venango Co township property map shows the "A. Cram" parcel on the south side of French Creek, midway between Utica and Franklin. Adjacent properties were owned by the Duffields, Runningers and the Cummings.
Third child and last, Harriet R. "Aunt Het" is born May 19, 1860 in Franklin, Venango County, Pennsylvania.
The 1860 Pennsylvania census for Venango Co Frenchcreek Twp Franklin Post Office (#805,189 family #259,262&263 sheet 239&240) recorded the John Cram family; John age 29 a farmer born in PA, H. Cram 27 PA, Charles 4 PA, Hannah 2 PA, Harriet 1 month and W.A.Cram 1 year, PA. Father Abiel and mother Sarah and married sisters Mary Cummings and Sarah Runninger were all living on properties adjacent to each other. The 1860 census listed John living with a 27 year old male "H" Cram which is his brother Horace, but no entry for Ruth Duffield. Also, the census shows a 1 year old boy as "W.A." Cram who is now known to be Horace's son William Archer. Charles, Hannah (grandmother) and Harriet we know from the 1870 and 1880 Ohio census to be John's children. Also strange is that there is no entry for Horace's wife Nancy Duffield.
Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president on March 4, 1861. The Civil War started April 12, 1861 when Confederate forces bombed Fort Sumter.
John Cram enlisted (mustered) to serve three years during the Civil War on February 26, 1864 at Meadville Pa as a Pvt. in the 161st Pennsylvania Volunteers.
John Cram's Military File in 1864 described him as 5 foot 6 inches tall with hazel eyes and dark brown hair. Prior to the Civil War, the family lived on a farm in Frenchcreek Twp, Pa near Franklin. Frenchcreek is the Township in Venango County which was formed in 1775.
In May of 1864 John Fuller Cram's Regiment fought with the Army of the Potomac. The 161st Pennsylvania Volunteers were also known as the 16th Regiment Cavalry.
The objective in May of 1864 was a march on to Richmond from the north with the movement beginning on May 4th. Encounters during this period included Battle of the Wilderness, Block House Road and Spottsylvannia. Records are not clear which encounters included John. Military Muster Rolls state that in March and April, as a recruit he was detached at Camp Stoneman receiving one month's pay of $13 in advance. On the night of May 20th all available detachments of cavalry were grouped under Brig. Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert from the First Cavalry Div.
General Winfield Hancock’s Union Second corps left Spotsylvania Court House after sunset on May 20, 1864. On the morning of the 21st they moved out to scout for Hancock's troop movement. About 10:00 A.M., Torbert rode into Milford Station, to find a small force of Confederate infantry dug in across the line of march. A quick assault drove this detachment across the Mattapony River capturing 66 CSA prisoners and both the wagon-road and railroad bridges.
The Military File Casualty Sheet documents that John Cram, now transferred to Company "D", was killed in action at Milford Station, Virginia on May 21, 1864, at 33 years of age and only three months after enlisting. The Military File Casualty Sheet records "This man was killed in an engagement near Milford Station Virginia. No personal effects are known to have been left." The Certificate of Death records the cause of death as "gunshot wound".
From the 1907 Millikin Family History Book pg 324; Hester and Archie Cram are cousins, brought up in one household. Their fathers went into the army during the Civil War with the understanding that if either should fall, the survivor should care for and bring up the orphaned family. Hester Cram's father (our Grandfather John Fuller Cram) fell in battle and Horace, his brother, returning home, performed the double duty.
After John was killed in 1864, Ruth and the kids; Hannah, Charles and Harriet (Het) moved to Johnstonville OH in Trumbull Co, Johnston Twp with "sister" Nancy and her husband Horace Cram the "brother" of her late husband John "sisters marrying brothers". Six years after John's death the 1870 Ohio census recorded the two families living next to each other, probably on the same farm. Ruth Cram later lived in Cortland and then Youngstown.
Ruth Cram received a pension from the US Government, following John's death in the Civil War, of $8 monthly starting the day of his death May 21, 1864 plus $2 for each of the three children commencing July 25, 1866. Commencing Sept 6, 1916 Ruth will receive $20 per month. Witnesses for her pension application in 1865 were sister Nancy and brother-in-law Horace Cram and also brothers David and Robert Duffield who were present at her wedding ceremony with John Fuller Cram.
The Civil War ended April 9, 1865 when Gen Lee surrendered to Gen Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.
Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater on April 14th, 1865 and died the following day. Vice President Andrew Johnson became the 17th President of the United States.
Ruth Duffield Cram dies Jun 7, 1926. She was living in Youngstown, Ohio with daughter Hannah Jane Millikin when she died. Ruth is buried in Evergreen Southside Cemetery, Johnston Township, Trumbull County, Ohio. She has no grave marker and husband John is not with her.
Some "Woburnites" trivia, reference William Addams Reitwiesner; Private John Fuller CRAM and 41st President George Herbert Walker BUSH are double cousins; 1. Sixth cousin 4 times removed (common ancestor: Thomas RICHARDSON & Mary BALDWIN) 2. Seventh cousin 4 times removed (common ancestor: Sgt John TIDD & Margaret GREENLEAF). These families are among the founders of Woburn Massachusetts.
More trivia; On July 4, 1775 Connecticut Brigadier Israel Porter Putnam "Put" is made Major General in the new Continental Army by vote of the Continental Congress. In Apr 1776, George Washington appoints "Put" as his Executive Officer with the Continental Army. Private John Fuller CRAM and Major-General Israel PUTNAM are first cousins 5 times removed (common ancestor: Lt. Thomas PUTNAM). There is a lot of history available concerning "Old Put".
Civil War Battle of Milford Station and John Fuller Cram May 21st, 1864
Utilizing the Civil War sources and summaries as found, we reconstruct the day of the Milford Station Battle as it relates to John Fuller Cram.
Northern Virginia Campaign, Battle of North Anna, March to Richmond
Three months in 1864 - a Civil War timeline for John Fuller Cram;
Feb 26; mustered (enlisted) in Meadville PA for 3 years of service as a Private in the Union Army.
Military Muster Rolls state that in March and April, as a recruit, he was detached at Camp Stoneman, receiving one month's pay of $13 in advance. He was a recruit in the 161st Pennsylvania Volunteers (known as 16th Regiment Pennsylvania Cavalry, Company L), and was given cavalry horse training during these months. Major General George Stoneman, as chief of the Cavalry Bureau was charged to establish six cavalry depots, including this one near Washington. Stoneman selected Young's farm at Giesboro Point. It was established adjacent to the depot to house cavalry troopers as they waited remounts. The camp was located on the Anacostia River, in sight of the Capital Building, and had parking for 30,000 horses.
March 31st; admitted to the camp hospital #275 for reasons we can not identify.
May 20th at 9:00 P.M.; the Confederate Army with General James Lawson Kemper's Brigade of Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett's division, including the 11th Virginia, arrives Milford Station by train from Richmond after cavalry reports of Union movements.
On the night of Friday May 20th; all available detachments of Union cavalry were ordered grouped under Brigadier Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert of the First Cavalry Division. Moving out on that night, Hancock's II Corps men advanced with the three regiments of Torbert's Union cavalry acting as a screen. General Winfield Hancock’s Union Second corps left Spotsylvania Court House after sunset on May 20, 1864. It trudged south along dark roads, headed toward Milford Station on the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac Railroad.
Saturday May 21; Confederate accounts of Sergeant Chas. T Loehr in command of a Company of the 1st Regiment: "Confederate Major Norton, with 500 or so soldiers from Kemper's brigade, ordered the 1st Regiment to the station to deploy around the houses and along the railroad track. Milford Station consisted of a depot, engine-house, a few scattered dwelling-houses, out-houses and shops. I had my company together in an old log blacksmith shop a short distance east of the depot, he explains. The door faced the depot and a wooden shutter opened on the back from which there was an excellent position to fire on the advancing enemy with comparative safety. Our cavalry reported that the Union's cavalry was close to Bowling Green."
Saturday May 21; Hancock's troops reached Bowling Green 7:00AM midmorning which was three miles from Milford Station. Jubilant slaves pranced beside the column, celebrating their newfound freedom. Pressing on to Milford Station, Hancock crossed the Mattaponi and entrenched west of town.
At Milford Station the Union cavalry, screening an infantry corps, caught up with Confederate infantry here May 21 after the stalemate in the lines at Spotsylvania, forcing Lee to move to defend Hanover Junction at the North Anna River. On the morning of the 21st they moved out to scout for Hancock's troop movement. About 10:00 A.M., Torbert rode into Milford Station (RR station), to find a small force of Confederate infantry dug in across the line of march. A quick assault drove this detachment across the Mattapony River capturing 66 CSA prisoners and both the wagon-road and railroad bridges.
Saturday May 21; at Milford Station, the Union cavalry including the 16th Regiment Pensylvania, screening the infantry corps, caught up with Confederate infantry. Sergant Loehr said At 10:00 A.M., Torbert rode into Milford Station, to find the Confederate infantry dug in across the line of march. It was the 1st Virginia Regiment in advance and the 11th Virginia later charging in to support the 1st Regiment. "In place of a little cavalry foraging party—as we thought we had come across the bridge to drive off the hill—we were fighting a large advance force of Grant's entire army. There was a full brigade of mounted Federals, two thousand strong screening Hancock's Corps" Over 60 of the 11th Virginia were captured by Hancock's Infantry because they never received the orders to retreat from Major Norton.
July 23; The Army of the Potomic Certificate of Death reports John Cram dies on May 21st of a gunshot wound near Milford Station, the nature of which was not known to report. The Military File Casualty Sheet documents that John Cram, now transferred to Company "D", was killed in action at Milford Station, Virginia on May 21, 1864, at 33 years of age and only three months after enlisting.
Summary and conclusions concerning John Fuller Cram;
On Friday 20th May, the 16th PA Cavalry detachments were ordered grouped under Brigadier Gen. Alfred T. A. Torbert of the First Cavalry Division. John Cram is now transferred from Company L to Company D. They were to screen and flank the 20,000 marching troops of General Hancock's II Corps starting at Massaponax Church. Sergeant Samuel W. Sortore of Company E, 5th NY Cavalry was the first casualty as he was shot from his horse boldly riding toward Guinea Bridge.
The Confederate engagements while marching south to Milford Station involved Confederate Lieutenant George Beale's Cavalry picket soldiers before reaching Guinea Station. Beal had scattered pickets at intervals. Also along the way was Confederate Lieutenant John T. Stewart and the 9th Virginia Cavalry. The strategy was to ambush and retreat. We can not find the 16th Cavalry mentioned until the battle right at Milford Station.
The death Certificate was signed and confirmed by F. S. Meoyru, Surgeon of the 16th PA Cavalry, on July 23, 1864. In it he states that "this man was killed in an engagement near Milford Station before he joined his regiment".
And so we conclude;
John was shot from his horse (as was Sergeant Samuel W. Sortore), approaching Milford Station. His Company D of the 16th PA Cavalry detachment (100 men including the 1st) was just then joining Torbert's Cavalry assembly. He was on the three mile section of road between Bowling Green and Milford Station. We conclude that the 16th did not dismount and position to fire the repeating rifles until the semicircular formation was formed on the road at Milford Station.
He was killed in an engagement with Confederate company's in the area; Confederate Lieutenant George Beale's Cavalry pickets or maybe Confederate Lieutenant John T. Stewart and the 9th Virginia Cavalry. Three companies of the 7th Va were posted in reserve at the bridge and the remainder went out with the 11th Va as skirmishers in front of the town; so that is also a possibility. The 1st Va were posted in the buildings in the town.
It is the morning of May 21, 1864, as the cavalry assembled to screen for Hancock's approach to Milford Station, that John Fuller Cram, now in Company D, is killed in action at the Battle of Milford Station, Virginia.
According to the Casualty Sheet, it is less likely that he died in the engagement with the Confederate 1st Virginia Regiment troops, having been positioned around the town buildings of Milford. It would have occurred on the three mile section of road between Bowling Green and Milford Station sometime after Hancock's 7:00 A.M. rest period at Bowling Green and before the 10:00 A.M. arrival of Tobert's Cavalry in Milford Station.
The location he was buried is still unknown but it is possible that he was buried in a trench at the site of the battle. From Nan Duffield's autobiography; "Ruth's husband, John Cram was killed in the Civil War and was buried in Arlington Cemetery." We did check with different Cemeteries in 2008-13 and find that there is no record of him. From Steven's internet blog; "Most soldiers who died in the area (Camp Stoneman) from 1861 - 1864 were buried either in Alexander, or on the grounds of the old soldiers home. From 1864 on, soldiers started to be buried at Arlington." So we have no closure.
A monument is found at South Park in Franklin Pennsylvania which carries John's name, in Co. "L" of the 16th Cavalry. It is a Venango County memorial to those who served. Inscribed as follows; " Erected July 4th 1866 by the citizens of Venango Co. in memory of the brave heroes of this country who died in defense of the Union in the War of the Great Rebellion."
One outstanding issue remains. John's Casualty Sheet signed April 4, 1875 by Clerk Thomas G. Ash states "John Cram is indebted to the U. S. for Fifteen Dollars and 81 Cents, on account of extra clothing drawn." There has been no bills sent to the family in the past year - so maybe the war is over.
Definition of Picket - An advance outpost or guard for a large force was called a picket. Ordered to form a scattered line far in advance of the main army's encampment, but within supporting distance, a picket guard was made up of a lieutenant, 2 sergeants, 4 corporals, and 40 privates from each regiment. Picket duty constituted the most hazardous work of infantrymen in the field. Being the first to feel any major enemy movement, they were also the first liable to be killed, wounded, or captured. And he most likely targets of snipers. Picket duty, by regulation, was rotated regularly in a regiment.
John Fuller Cram research sources;
American Civil War: Battle of North Anna; about.com Military History, by Kennedy R. Hickman, a museum professional and historian who has focused his career on military and naval history, with a special emphasis on the 19th century.
Battle of North Anna: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Civil War Archive, Union Corps Histories, Cavalry Corps (Army of the Potomac) engagements.
Civil War Traveler.com, Central Virginia Civil War, Lee vs. Grant: The 1864 Overland Campaign Tour.
Confederate Veteran, Volume 17, page 319, S.A. Cunningham, 1909 - Confederate States of America.
Dyer, Compendium of Civil War - Regimental Histories,973.7 D996C 1959, at the University of Florida Library sixth floor,John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - Vol III page 1566.
John Cram Military File including Company Muster Rolls, Declaration of Recruit, Volunteer Enlistment, Casualty Sheet and Certificate of Death - total file of 7 sheets copied (National Archives and Records Administration, General Reference Branch, 7th and Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20408), John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - total file.
Letter from Sarah Millikin Cram to sister Elizabeth, Frenchcreek Township Venango Co Pennsylvania Oct 24, 1855, transcribed by Paul J.Midlam, Ashland, Ohio,Sep 1995.
Michael A. Cram, Cram Sourcebook (Heritage Books Inc.,1540E Pointer Ridge Place, Bowie, Maryland 20716 - 1996, Phone1-800-398-7709.), John Fuller Cram (b 1831) - Vol 2, page 419.
MyHeritage Military Records has pioneered smart technologies that enable searching massive databases quickly. Some of the content may be available for free via external resources. MyHeritage is not affiliated with any government or official source.
National Park Service (NPS), www.nps.gov, MAY 21: The armies start for the North Anna River.
Rev. Gideon Tibbetts Ridlon, Sr., History of the Families Millingas and Millanges of Saxony and Normandy comprising genealogies and biographies of their posterity surnamed Milliken, Millikin, Millikan, Millican, Milligan, Mulliken and Mullikin - A.D. 800 to A.D. 1907. (Journal Press, Lewiston, Me. published by the author 1907.), John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - page 324.
Samuel Bates, member Historical Society of Pennsylvania, History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-1865, at the Franklin PA Public Library (B. Singerly, State Printer Harrisburg 1870), John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - Vol IV Pages 769 & 972.
Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 26, Reverend J. William Jones, Ed., The Battle of Milford Station. The Confederate side; Kemper's Brigade of Pickett's division including the 11th Virginia; An Address by Sergeant Chas. T Loehr, before Pickett Camp, U. C. V., August 31, 1896.
Steven The Blogger; at blogger.com, Wednesday, August 17, 2011, Camp Stoneman at Giesboro Point Cavalry Depot, Parking for 30,000 Horses, Steven; Mild-mannered civil servant by day... by night, amateur historian defending truth, justice and the American Way.
The Virginia campaign of '64 and '65: the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the James Google eBook, By Andrew Atkinson Humphreys, C. Scribner's Sons, 1883, Chapter IV, pg 119 - 451 pages.
To the North Anna River: Grant and Lee, May 13-25, 1864 By Gordon C. Rhea, LSU Press, 2000 - History - 505 pages, no-book available - transcribed portions, Chapter VII May 21, pages 197 - 228.
U. S. Military Academy West Point N. Y., West Point Atlas of the Civil War, at Clearwater FL Library - reference section, John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - maps #129,133,134&135.
Virginia in the Civil War Message Board ArchiveRe: Battle of Milford Station By: Barrett Decker Date: 7/29/2003, 11:23 pm, Response To: Battle of Milford Station (Beverly Clark).
War of the Rebellion, series I Vol 36 Pt 2, large series of red books at the St. Petersburg FL Library, John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - pages 106, 115,128, 129, 163. 192 & 931.
William Addams Reitwiesner, Ancestry of George W. Bush.
William Amann, Personnel of the Civil War, at the Clearwater FL Library - reference, John Fuller Cram (b. 1831) - pages 227 &367.
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