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  • Writer's pictureGordon Thorsby

The Will of Iron, Mary Farrington

by Gordon Thorsby

The family' contribution for service in fighting for their state and their county goes back over 300 years. Two brothers served in the Narranganset War of 1675. Later descendants served in the French and Indian War and others fought in the revolution.

The female side of the family were those of the Hamlins. Yes, the Hamlins of Hannibal Hamlin (Vice-President under Lincoln) and the line included seven Generals and Colonels.

However, of much greater note than commanding officers is that of the Farrington family who had five children that we should honor most. Five sons enlisted in the Union army and the results of their service were as follows in order of their death during the war:

Byron Hamlen (spelled correctly) was born in 1843. He enlisted on10/20/1861 as private, Co. C, 1st Maine Cavalry, and died in a hospital in the Washington area, August 22 or 25, 1862 of disease.

Horatio Packard: born in1837 and the oldest of the family, enlisted as private Co. A 6th Maine, and the first of the brothers to join up. He was married at the time of his enlistment. On June 1st, 1864, he found himself in a hospital recovering from a severe wound received at Spotsylvania. He died on that day.

Reuben Meigs was born in1845, enlisted on 8/14/1862 as a corporal and promoted to Orderly Sergeant after Gettysburg, in Co B, 16th Maine. He was discharged and sent home to recover from an unknown disease. The disease was too much and he passed away there June 12th, 1864. It was only eleven days after Horatio's death.

Charles Atwood was born in 1839, enlisted and commissioned Second Lieutenant of Co. I 31st Maine. Charles was wounded while fighting at the Wilderness on May 5th. He struggled to recover but infection set in and he succumbed, dying June 20th.; only eight days after Reuben's death.

And finally;

Gustavus (Gus) A was born 1847, the baby of the family. He enlisted at 17 on 11/30/1863 as private, Co. B 2nd Maine Cavalry. He died on October 30, 1864 of disease near New Orleans. He was buried at Chalmette National Cemetery, Louisiana. He also has a marker near family in Maine.

Their mother, Mary, gave up five of her seven children for the cause. It was said that she was a frail but determined woman. It was also said that few had the courage of Mary to be able to endure such a loss. Mary must have had the strength of iron.

Note: no known photo of Gustavus

Source: National Tribune, 1894.

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