Shelden E Otis
Shelden E Otis name: Otis, Shelden E
Branch: U.S. Army 
Regiment: US War with Mexico
Cemetery: Oakhill Cemetery, Janesville, Rock, Wisconsin 
Service: -
Birth: 1828 Saybrook, Connecticut
Death: 12/22/1902 Rock, Wisconsin
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Selden E Otis a farmer residing on section 10, Rock Township, is a native of Saybrook, Conn., born in 1827, and a son of Israel and Darbara (Babcock) Otis, both of whom were natives of Connecticut, and were descended from old New England families. The father was born of English ancestry, while the mother was of Welsh descent. He engaged in the occupation of farming throughout his life, and was a man who took great interest in political affairs, yet never sought or desired public office. He was a supporter of the Democratic party, and his death occurred in 1868, at the age of seventy-four years. His wife died in 1872, when seventy-two years of age. She was a member of the Episcopal Church.

The subject of this sketch was reared to farm life, and in the common schools of his native State received his education. At the age of twenty years he left the parental roof and went to Long Island, where he took charge of a farm of 500 acres belonging to Judge S. B. Strong, which he managed for a period of two years. At the expiration of that time he became an agent for the Pennsylvania Coal Company, and for three years was in that employment, with headquarters at New York City. In 1855 he made his first trip to the West, and chose for his future home Rock County, Wis. In Harmony Township he rented a farm until 1863, when he purchased 200 acres of land on sections 14 and 15, of Rock Township, but at the end of the year sold out to F. S. Eldred, of whom he rented land for the succeeding twenty-three years. During that period he conducted a dairy. In the spring of 1888 he again became the owner of a farm, purchasing sixty acres of land located on sections 10 and 11, Rock Township, where he now carries on general farming.

In 1849 Mr. Otis was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Miss Mary Cargill, a native of Long Island, and a daughter of John and Elvira (Hart) Cargill. Her father was a native of Scotland, and during most of his life worked at the tailor's trade, his death occurring 1845, at the age of forty-one years. Her mother is a native of the Empire State, and still resides in Long Island.

Mr. and Mrs. Otis have been the parents of seven children: Mary R., who is the wife of John C. Burt, Business Superintendent of the Kankakee Insane Hospital; George S., a resident farmer of Rock Township; Lillian, who wedded Frank C. Eddy, a bookkeeper of La Crosse, Wis.; Jessie E., wife of William R. Kilmar, a baker in the employ of the Hospital for the Insane, at Kankakee, Ill.; Frank, a farmer, residing at home; Harriet N., who is yet with her parents; and Charles C., who died in 1867, at the age of two and one-half years. Mr. Otis is numbered among the leading citizens of Rock Township, and has been honored with various offices of trust. Several terms he has served as Justice of the Peace; is now for the second time occupying the position of County Supervisor, and for twenty years was Clerk of the School District. In political matters he has always taken a deep interest, has been an ardent supporter of the Republican party since its organization, and is a man well informed on all matters of public interest, both State and National. He has done much toward advancing the cause of education in the community, and by his honest and upright course of life has won the confidence of all, and is held in high regard by a large circle of friends.

source: ''The Portrait and Biographical Album of Rock County, Wis.'' (c)1889, pp. 326-327

  US War with Mexico1

"The war with Mexico constitutes an episode, and by no means an unimportant one, in the history of the American Union. Its brilliant scenes and stirring incidents have long attracted unusual attention, and they must long continue to be remembered."

- Historian John S. Jenkins,1850

Many people hear "War with Mexico" and think "The Alamo". Actually that was another war, a war that created the independent country of Texas.

The U.S. - Mexican War began on April 25, 1846. It ended when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed on February 2, 1848. However, fighting between Mexican guerrillas and U.S. troops continued for several months afterward. The last American troops left Mexico on August 2, 1848. Soldiers from every state in the Union served in this war.

In 1845 Texas was annexed by the United States. Mexico objected because they still considered Texas to be their land. On April 25, 1846, a band of Mexican soldiers crossed the Rio Grande into Texas and ambushed American soldiers. This was the opening salvo of the war with the American troops lead by General Zachary Taylor.

The war broke out while Wisconsin was still a territory which may explain why the state has no records of Wisconsin men who served. According to the WSHS, 477 soldiers from Wisconsin fought in the war. Many of them were army regulars already stationed at Fort Crawford in Prairie du Chien when hostilities broke out. Two more units, of 77 and 69 soldiers, were mustered in later but never saw action. There are many graves at Oakhill erroneously marked as GAR burials. It's possible some of these are veterans of the US- Mexico war. These would be men born prior to ~1826.

Nearly 11,000 U.S. servicemen of the US-Mexican war lie in graves with no service markers and nationally there are only a handful of states with memorials to these brave men.

Free veteran grave markers (headstones) for the unmarked grave of any American veteran can be ordered from the U.S. Veterans Administration. They are available in a variety of types and are made from marble or bronze. Any person can order a marker. It is not necessary to be a descendant or relative.

A printable copy of the application form and instructions are available on the VA Web site at VA Form 40-1330 and application information may be obtained from any VA regional office or national cemetery or by calling 1-800-827-1000. Completed applications and documents may be faxed toll-free to 1-800-455-7143 or mailed to:

Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903

Government-furnished headstones and markers are shipped free of charge. Cemetery staff in national or military cemeteries will set the headstone or marker at no cost to the applicant. However, some state veterans’ cemeteries and most private cemeteries charge a fee for setting a government headstone or marker. That expense is not reimbursed by the government. Government headstones and markers may be replaced at government expense when badly deteriorated, illegible, vandalized or stolen. The government will also replace a headstone or marker if it is damaged; the material or workmanship are of poor quality; it contains inscription errors; it is different from what was requested on the application; or it is not permitted by the cemetery. If cemetery personnel damage a government headstone or marker located in a private cemetery, it should be replaced at the expense of the cemetery.

1 Source: National Park Service, Soldiers and Sailors System; "A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion" by Frederick H. Dyer,Cosmas; An Army for Empire : The United States Army in the Spanish American War by A. Graham, (Shippensburg, PA: White Mane Publishing Co., 1993).

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