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California Genealogy and History Archives

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

 

  

Eri Huggins, 14 February 1849 MA-18 June 1923
Co. G, 6 WI Inf.
Rose Memorial Park, Fort Bragg
Pension No. 941,269

ERI HUGGINS. – The Huggins family is justly proud of the distinction of belonging to fine old New England stock, and each generation has contributed something to uphold the reputation and standing of their forebears. Eri Huggins was born in West Acton, Mass., February 14, 1848, the son and namesake of another Eri Huggins, who was born in Cornish, N. H. The latter was a merchant in West Acton, where he was carrying on a successful business up to the time of the breaking out of the Civil war. Leaving his affairs in the care of others, he enlisted in the cause of the Union in 1861, becoming attached to Company A, Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Infantry, and two years later, when he was only fifty-two years old, he gave up his life in the cause of his country, being mortally wounded in the battle of New Orleans in 1863. Before her marriage the mother was Miss Samantha Burbeck; she was a native of Boston, Mass., and was a descendant of a long line of New England ancestors. At the age of forty-five she was taken from the family by death, leaving three sons and three daughters to mourn the loss of a kind, devoted mother. All of these children are deceased with the exception of Eri, the subject of this sketch. Following in the footsteps of their father all of the sons enlisted their services in the Civil war, rendering valiant service in the cause of their country. John C. was a member of the Second Wisconsin Infantry, known as the Iron Brigade, in which he served faithfully for three years. His death occurred in Oakland, Cal. A. Judson was attached to Company A, Twenty-sixth Massachusetts Infantry, and served throughout the entire period of the war. Although he escaped the assailing shot and shell of the enemy during all of this long and trying period, it was his fate to be the victim of an explosion soon after the war, being killed in a locomotive explosion in Bowling Green, Ky.
On the home farm at West Acton, Mass., Eri Huggins was reared and educated, attending the public schools there until he was about fourteen years old. The fact that his elder brothers had enlisted in the war set fire to his ambition to emulate their example, and he therefore left school and offered his services at the nearest recruiting station, in March, 1862. Naturally, on account of his age, his offer was rejected, but this did not in the least dampen his ardor, and in the hope of finding an opening elsewhere he went to Washington, crossing the long bridge and demanded that he be enlisted in Company B, Second Wisconsin Infantry, known as the Iron Brigade, and on April 1, 1862, his name was placed on the muster roll as a private in that company. His active service covered a period of three years and twenty-four days, and included action in nineteen battles and numerous engagements, among them second battle of Bull Run, Gainesville, Va., South Mountain, Antietam, Fitzhugh’s Crossing, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Mine Run, as well as the Wilderness campaign. After the long siege of Petersburg activities ceased through the surrender of General Lee. At Black and White Station, Va., he was mustered out April 24, 1865, and after receiving his honorable discharge he returned to Massachusetts but he soon removed to Wisconsin, and in Janesville found employment in an uncle’s store. The experience was very beneficial and the proceeds enabled him to enter commercial college and in a measure make up for his break in his grammar school work caused by his army service. After the completion of the college course he went to Chicago, Ill., where he was employed two years as a clerk. In 1870 he went to St. Louis, where he became connected with a wholesale house as a traveling salesman. His territory covered the states of Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Nebraska, Iowa and Indian Territory. His acquaintance with California began in 1883, when he came to San Francisco, and being pleased with the outlook determined to remain permanently in the west. An opening as traveling salesman with an implement house presented itself and for three years he continued in the employ of this house. It was at this time, 1886, that he came to Fort Bragg, the town at that time being little more than a hamlet. With a keen foresight Mr. Huggins saw the future possibilities of the growing town and determined to remain and not only profit financially by its business advantages, but also give a helping hand in its growth and upbuilding. For a time he was manager of the Fort Bragg Redwood Company’s store, then a small concern, which has since been taken over by the Union Lumber Company, and is now a business of large proportions. He was assistant postmaster for a few months, or until he received the appointment of postmaster in 1887. In 1890 he resigned his position with the lumber company to engage in the merchandise business on his own account, his store being on the corner of Main and Laurel streets. The post office was then located in his store, besides which he was also agent for the Wells Fargo Express Company. In 1894 he gave up the position as postmaster and devoted his entire attention to his mercantile business until 1896, when he sold the business and engaged in the writing of insurance until he was once more appointed postmaster, in 1898, a position which he has filled continuously ever since. Altogether he has been in the employ of Uncle Sam as postmaster for twenty-four years.
Since coming to Fort Bragg Mr. Huggins has erected a comfortable home on Franklin street, which is presided over by his wife, whom he married in San Francisco February 28, 1889, and who was in maidenhood Miss Harriet Wilson. She was born in Ticonderoga, N. Y., the daughter of Hiram and Isabelle (Wright) Wilson, both of New York. Mr. Wilson was at one time a lumber manufacturer in the east and later was engaged in the mercantile business. Mrs. Huggins was a graduate of Ticonderoga Academy and prior to her marriage followed the teacher’s profession. For a term Mr. Huggins was president of the board of trustees of the city, was president and director of the Fort Bragg Building and Loan Association, and was one of the first school trustees of the town. He was initiated into Masonry in St. Joseph, Mo., and is a charter member of Fort Bragg Lodge No. 361, F. & A. M., and is also a member of Mendocino Chapter No. 88, R. A. M. He is also identified with Missionary Ridge Post No. 156, G. A. R., at Fort Bragg, of which he is post commander. In the duties of postmaster Mr. Huggins a valued assistant in his wife, whose appointment to the office has covered a period of twelve years. She is a member of Sapphire Chapter No. 260, O. E. S., of which she is past matron. Both Mr. and Mrs. Huggins are communicants of the Episcopal Church, and both lean to Republican principles in their political inclinations. (Aurelius O. Carpenter and Percy H. Millberry, History of Mendocino and Lake Counties, California... [Los Angeles, Cal.: Historic Record Co., 1914], 804-806.)

1910 U.S. census, Mendocino County, California, population schedule, Fort Bragg, ED 67, p. 278-B (stamped), sheet 7, dwelling 151, family 155, Eri Huggins; NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 88. Union Army