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California Genealogy and History Archives

Mendocino County Civil War Veterans
Submitted Sep 2010 by Ronald Cannon, MA



Philo Handy, 3 December 1841 OH-27 November 1923
Sgt., Co. D, 15 IL Inf.
Russian River Cemetery, Ukiah (K-11, Lot 11)
Pension No. 31,105

PHILO HANDY. – The veteran of the Civil war and pioneer of Mendocino county whose name introduces this article claims Ohio as his native commonwealth. Born in Lake county December 3, 1841, his early life passed uneventfully at the old Ohio homestead and nothing of especial interest individualized his history until the opening of the Civil war, when he went to the front as a private in the Union army. Being in Illinois at the time, April, 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Fifteenth Illinois Infantry, and with his regiment he endured all the perils of war and the discomforts of camp life and forced marches. He was first wounded at the battle of Shiloh in 1862 and was seriously wounded in the battle of Hatchie River, Tenn., in 1863. Finally physical disability obliged him to accept an honorable discharge from the army. After he had regained his health he came to California in 1864. For a time he made his home in Eldorado county, where he engaged in the lumber business for four years, after which he engaged in fruit growing in Santa Clara county. About 1869 he became a pioneer stock-raiser in Round valley, where in time he established a large flock of sheep.

With all of his activities Mr. Handy has found time to take a prominent part in local affairs. For a number of years he served as superintendant of the Round Valley Indian reservation. During 1887 he was elected assemblyman to the California state legislature and his service proved helpful to the district. The discovery of gold in the Klondike allured him to Alaska in 1897, after which he remained for a considerable period around or in Dawson, returning to Mendocino county in 1901. The year after his return to Ukiah he was appointed postmaster and filled the position with the greatest efficiency, for two terms, since which time he has been retained as assistant postmaster. As under-sheriff he gave the county capable service for some years, nor was he less capable and trustworthy in the capacity of deputy United States marshal. For years he has been connected actively with the Grand Army of the Republic and the Masons. His family comprises five children, namely: Fred Steward, at the Mendocino State Hospital; Percy W., abstractor, of Ukiah; Ada, Mrs. Ernest Wheeler, of Porto Rico; Florence, of San Francisco; and Hazel, Mrs. Melone, of Santa Rosa. (Aurelius O. Carpenter and Percy H. Millberry, History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, California... [Los Angeles, Cal.: Historic Record Co., 1914], 806-807.)

PHILO HANDY HAS GONE ON – Civil War Veteran And Argonaut Of Alaska In Eternal Sleep – Another civil war veteran and esteemed pioneer of Mendocino county answered the final call when Philo Handy was summoned Tuesday morning, Nov. 27, after an illness of several weeks caused by a fall in which Mr. Handy sustained a broken hip. The end came suddenly and without warning. Mr. Handy appeared in his usual good spirits Monday evening and received several visitors at his bedside in Langland hospital. At six o’clock Tuesday morning he summoned the nurse and made a slight request. She turned away to comply when she heard a faint struggle and returning found Mr. Handy had passed away.

A Native of Ohio – Mr. Handy was born Dec. 3, 1841 at Painesville, Ohio. He was married to Laura Adele Roper April 21, 1864 and came to California in 1865, crossing the plains in a four-horse wagon. He settled first at Placerville, Eldorado county when he mined for gold at Coloma, where gold was first discovered. Later he built a sawmill in the same county, then moved to San Jose and from there to Round valley in Mendocino county, where for a number of years he was general superintendent of the Indian reservation. Mr. Handy served in the state legislature of 1887 as assemblyman from Mendocino county. In 1893 he moved to Ukiah with his family where he served as under-sheriff.

Was In Alaska and Klondyke – He went to Alaska in 1898 during the Klondyke rush and was there three years, part of the time at Nome. Upon his return home he served as postmaster at Ukiah for eight years. Mr. Handy’s war record is a particularly honorable one. He enlisted in the civil war in 1861 and served under Gen. Grant in the 15th Illinois Infantry. He was wounded at the battle of Shiloh during the siege of Vicksburg and during his later years was active in the work of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Mr. Handy is survived by the following children, his wife having preceded him to the grave several years ago: State Senator Fred C. Handy, Percy W. Handy, both of this city, Mrs. Ada L. Wheeler, of New Mexico, Florence M. Handy, of San Francisco and Mrs. Hazel H. Melone, of this city. Grandchildren are Mrs. Dorothy Jepson, of Santa Cruz, Miss Marian Handy of Hayward, and Miss Phyllis Packer of Berkeley. Mr. Handy was a citizen of sterling worth and unquestioned integrity and his death will be mourned by countless friends who are extending sympathy to the bereaved family.

Buried on Friday – The funeral service will be held from the Presbyterian church, Friday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock. The service at the cemetery will be under the auspices of the Masonic lodge and interment will be in the Masonic cemetery. Ukiah Republican Press 28 November 1923.

1910 U.S. census, Mendocino County, California, population schedule, Ukiah, ED 70, p. 372-A (stamped), sheet 10, dwelling 216, family 216, Philo Handy; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 88.