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California Genealogy and History Archives

Civil War Veterans


Obit #1

LaBREE: SGT: Thomas Prince LaBree of the 8th Maine Infantry of Company D. buried at IOOF Garden of Memories Memorial Park in the GAR Plot in Salinas,Ca. He was the last member of the James Blair Steedman GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Post #56 to answer Final Muster. His wife is buried in the Calvary Catholic Cemetery. 

(Salinas Index Journal Jan 2, 1938
G.A.R. Veteran Dies 
Death Takes Thomas LaBree 
Lived Colorful Life 
By Jack O’Mera

Phantom legions of the Grand Army of the Republic had made room in their ranks Monday for a former comrade of the stirring days of the Civil war when Mr. Thomas Prince LaBree, 94 year old veteran, who died at his home here Saturday.

And as ranks of the dead boys in blue gained a recruit Salinas lost its last Civil war veteran, and probably its oldest resident.

Where four years of constant danger at the front in numerous battles of the Civil war failed to touch him, it remained for old age and illness finally to take Mr. LaBree from the swiftly dwindling ranks of the Grand Army. He succumbed to a long illness at his home, 22 Villa Street, New Year’s Day.

Although he enlisted at the outset of the Civil war in the 8th Maine regiment as a private from Parkman Maine, his home at the time, Mr. LaBree went through the conflict without suffering a wound. He had taken part in some of the major clashes between the blue and the gray.

He was captured once by the Confederates in a battle during the closing stages of the war when the federal army of the Potomac under General U.S. Grant was approaching the southern capital at Richmond, Virginia.

Taken prisoner while carrying dispatches to headquarters, Mr. LaBree was disarmed by his captor. Subsequently they became lost in a fog in a thick forest and the timely arrival of a Union officer freed Mr. LaBree.

During the early stages of the conflict, Mr. LaBree was stationed with a blockading force on an island off the South Carolina coast.

He was mustered out of service after the surrender of General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox and it was there that he got his only trophy of the war, which he brought to Salinas- A cavalry carbine repeater which he picked up in the grass at the historic surrender scene. With this gun he shot many deer in Monterey country after bringing it to California by; way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1866.

Mr. LaBree worked on a ranch and as a dairyman, and invented a potato planter. When he first made his home here, Salinas except for a few buildings with a road running through fields of tall mustard, did not exist. Mr. LaBree, after coming to California lived the entire time in this vicinity. After residing for a time in Castroville, he came back to Salinas to make his permanent residence here 33 years ago.

During an interview on Decoration Day, 1934 he declared he had no formula for longevity except, possibly to do as he pleased. He smoked several cigars and more that a package of cigarettes daily then and ate what he desired. At that time, when he was 91 years old, Mr. LaBree would read newspapers without the use of glasses and drove and automobile. Each Memorial day he rode in the patriotic parade here.

Funeral service will be held at 10 o’clock Tuesday morning from the Salinas Funeral parlors, with interment following in the I.O.O.F. cemetery he was a member of the Castroville F. and A. M. lodge and was a member of the G.A.R.

Besides his widow, Mrs. Ida LaBree, he leaves a daughter, Mrs. Maggie Collins of King City; two sons, Mr. John I. LaBree of Lower Lake, and Mr. Charles LaBree of Los Angeles. He outlived 10 of his 13 children. There are also seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Obit #3

LaBree Rites Are Conducted 
In the presence of a large number of friends and relatives, funeral services were conducted Tuesday morning from the Salinas Funeral parlors for Mr. Thomas Prince LaBree, 94 year old Civil war veteran who died at his home here Saturday. 

Officer and members of the Castroville lodge, F. and A.M. were in charge of the services and organ selections were played by Mr. Milton Hartnell. 

Interment was made in the I.O.O.F. cemetery, were the officers and members of Salinas post No. 31, American Legion, were in charge of graveside rites. Acting as pall bearers were the following: Mr. Seba Bronson, Mr. Louis IOOF’s, Mr. W.J. Beatty, Mr. Albert Barretto, Mr. Harris B. Sproles and Mr. Joe Feliz.

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Obit 1 Obit 2 Obit 3  
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Obit of Katherine, wife


Researched and Compiled by : Timothy P. Reese, PCC of Salinas , CA. & Robert L. Nelson ,PCC. of Santa Cruz.CA. Both members of the “Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War”. Department of California & Pacific. Camp Abraham Lincoln # 10. The Reese-Nelson CWV-MC Data Base