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LEWIS A. GATTON of the 12th Missouri Calvary, Company E
Civil War Veteran of Monterey County

Lewis A. Gatton was born Canton, Illinois on December 14th, 1848. During the Civil War, in 1863 he enlisted into the 12th Missouri Calvary, of Company E, he was mustered out in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1865. He married Melissa Hicks on January 14, 1878. They located them selves to Monterey at one point, then to Watsonville, Castroville and then later in 1903 to the Salinas Valley. On May 12th, 1908 - Lewis A. Gates died near the small town of Spreckels of paralysis, just a few miles south of Salinas near the Salinas River. He is buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Salinas, California.  Mr. Gatton was a member of the James Blair Steedman GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Post # 56, based out of Salinas, Ca.


The following is a biographical sketch and obituary from the Salinas Daily Index Newspaper.

GATTON, LEWIS A (1848-1908) IOOF Cemetery, Salinas
 (History of the State of California and Biographical Record of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey and San Luis Obispo Counties by Prof. J.M. Guinn, Chapman Publishing Chicago, 1903 Page 616-617)

Lewis A. Gatton

Monterey county and the Salinas valley lost a devoted citizen when, on May 12, 1908, Lewis a Gatton passed away at his home.  A native of the middle west, he was born in Canton, Ill., December 14, 1848, the son of Lewis A. and Lydia (Keeling) Gatton, natives respectively, of Zanesville, Ohio and Illinois.  The parents of Mrs. Gatton were natives of Scotland, who came to this country and settled in Illinois in an early period in its history.

Lewis A. Gatton, Jr., was educated in the schools of Canton, continuing his studies up to the age of fifteen, when his thoughts were so absorbed by a desire to enter the army that learning from text books was no longer possible.  His parents, however, were greatly opposed to this on account of his youth, so he ran away from home in order to carry his point.  Going to Missouri, in 1863, he enlisted in Company E. Twelfth Missouri Cavalry, for three years’ service, and after the war was ended he continued his term of enlistment.  Immediately afterwards he was sent with his regiment to the frontier in Montana to fight the Indians, and a little later he did similar service in Idaho.  After a service of about three years he was honorably discharged and mustered out at Fort Leavenworth, Kas., from there going to his home in Illinois.  He remained there but a short time, however; instead, he went north, and after purchasing a team engaged in construction work on the Northern Pacific railroad, from there he went to New Mexico and engaged in the cattle business near Mimbres.  It was while located in the latter town that he was united in marriage, January 14, 1878, to Miss Melissa Hicks, who was born in Missouri, the daughter of James Hicks.  He was one of the pioneers to California during the year 1849, at which time he bought with him considerable stock.  After a time spent in the state he started on the return trip on board the Yankee Blade, but the boat was wrecked off the coast of Santa Barbara and he remained in the state until the following year.  On account of the climate and other advantages which New Mexico offered he determined to locate there, and the success with which he met as a stock raiser more than met his expectations.

After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Gatton settled on the ranch which Mr. Gatton had previously purchased near Mimbres, N. Mex., and was fairly well satisfied with results until overtaken by the three dry years, when he determined to come to California.  He located in Monterey county and began farming on property which he had purchased, but as the methods of agriculture were so different from those prevailing in New Mexico his progress was slow and not altogether satisfactory, until, after a trip to Nome, Alaska in 1903 he returned to the Salinas valley and remained here contentedly throughout the rest of his life.  Leasing land, he engaged in raising beets, commodity which produced abundantly in this locality and for which there was a strong demand.

While a resident of the Castroville district Mr. Gatton was made a mason, and with his wife he was a member of the Eastern Star.  He was also a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and as a partial reward for the services which he rendered his country he received a pension.  Politically he was a believer in Republican principles.  Personally Mr. Gatton was a man who stood high in the opinion of those about him, and his greatest happiness lay in doing kindness to his fellow man.

While Mr. and Mrs. Gatton were living in New Mexico two children were born to them, Joseph A. and Lulu, the latter passing away in New Mexico in 1892.  The son is now in charge of a ranch in the Salinas valley, making a specialty of growing beets and the success which he has thus far achieved in his agricultural enterprises give reason to believe that he is destined to take his place among the successful and well-to-do ranchers of Monterey county.

(Salinas Daily Index May 13, 1908)
Louis A. Gatton
Well-Known Farmer Passes Away at the Age of Sixty-one

Louis A. Gatton, a beet farmer, died near Spreckels yesterday afternoon of paralysis.  He had been ill for quite a long time.  The deceased was born in Canton, Ill., in 1847.  In 1863 he enlisted in the Twelfth Missouri Cavalry and served the term of his enlistment, the latter part of which was spent in the Bad Lands in a campaign against the Indians before Custer was sent out to subdue them.  Subsequently he lived for eighteen years in New Mexico, where he had a cattle ranch.  He came to California about fifteen years ago and lived at Watsonville, Castroville and in the vicinity of Spreckels, and engaged principally in raising beets.  he was a member of Confidence Lodge, F. & A.M., at Castroville and of the Grand Army of the Republic.  He leaves a widow, Mrs. M.J. Gatton, and a son J.A. Gatton, aged 28, who will carry on the business as before.  The funeral will be held tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. from Muller’s undertaking parlors.  Interment will be in the Odd Fellows cemetery.


Compiled and Submitted: by Tim P. Reese, PCC

Camp Abe Lincoln #10 based out of Santa Cruz, Ca

Dept. of Calif. and Pacific

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

P. O. Box 1641, Monterey, Ca. 93942-1641


Sep 2009


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