Greene County Mexican War Article

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Source: Carrollton Patriot


Transcribed and Submitted by: Allen Handling


John Welker, Daniel Pope and A. L. Steelman Also Greene County Mexican War Survivors.


Last week's Patriot stated that Squire J. G. Herron, of Carrollton was the only survivor in Greene county of the Mexican war of 1846-48. The Patriot also published the picture of Mr. Herron in connection with an interview with him. It was all very good as far as it went, but it did not go far enough. While it is an honor for Mr. Herron to be a survivor of the Mexican war, he cannot claim all the "glory," as there are at least three others in Greene county, who, no doubt, can share equally with him the honors. They are John Welker and Daniel Pope of White Hall, and Ashley L. Steelman, living west of Roodhouse. Mr. Steelman recently celebrated his 90th birthday anniversary, the same being held April 19th. The age of John Welker dates from February 4, 1829, and Daniel Pope's from December 16, 1824.

In interviews with Messrs. Welker and Pope we learned many interesting things concerning the Mexican war of 1846-48. While Mr. Welker's mind is not as active as in days gone by, he has a fund of information for those interested in the present engagement between the United States and Mexico. Mr. Welker says he has no desire to cross the border even though he were young enough and able to go. He thinks that the time he spent in worthless Mexico while serving Uncle Sam, together with the time spent in the Civil war of 1861-65, ought to be sufficient. He served under Gen. Taylor, while Mr. Pope fought with Gen. Scott. Mr. Welker stated that the Patriot is decidedly wrong; that he has often visited Mr. Herron and that Herron his visited him; that they have attended reunions of Mexican veterans together, three years ago at Kampsvile, where he and Herron roomed together; at Alton two years ago, they were at the Mexican reunion, and he came up from that city in the same car with Herron.

Mr. Welker enlisted in Ohio, a member of the 4th Ohio regiment, Volunteer infantry, and served a little over a year. A man by the name of Rufus Cleveland, who now resides at Galesburg, was with Mr. Welker.

Below we give a brief sketch of a diary kept by Mr. Welker, which is self-explanatory:

"The first blood was shed in a conflict between a band of Mexican troops that had crossed to the eastern side of the Rio Grande and a company of American soldiers on the 25th of April, 1846.

"Gen. Taylor defeated the Mexican troops at Palo Alto, May 8th, 1846, at Resaca de la Palma, May 9th, captured Matamoras on May 18th.

"On the 24th of September, after four days' siege, he entered Monterey. Taylor's most famous victory was won at Buena Vista, February 23, 1847. Gen Scott gave orders which unfortunately fell into the hands of Santa Anna for Gen. Taylor to send some nine regiments to aid Scott in his proposed attack on Vera Cruz. Santa Anna at once marched his whole command against Taylor expecting to crush him in his weakened condition. It was twenty thousand men against about five thousand. But Taylor, by skill and pluck of his men, won the great victory.

"Gen. Scott invested Vera Cruz and captured it March 27, 1847.

"On the 18th of April, he captured Cero Gordo; on the 19th Jalapa; on the 22nd Perota. On the 15th of May he he entered the city Pueblo. On September 8th he captured Molina del Rey, and fifteen days later the victory of Chaputtepec gave him the City of Mexico, which he entered on the following day with only 6,000 men, and the war was practically over.

"The war with Mexico was peculiar from the fact that one side was victorious in every engagement, and the other as uniformly, of course, met defeat. Yet it is a matter of history that the Mexican soldiers fought with great bravery."

Daniel Pope said he was born Dec. 16, 1824, in Morristown, N. J., and enlisted in New York City early in 1846 and served two years, being honorably discharged at Old Port Comfort, Va. Leaving New York his regiment was sent to the Government island, sailing from there to Vera Cruz. Under Lieutenant Hill his regiment marched from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, capturing several small towns. "After taking Mexico City," said Mr. Pope, "we were sent into the mountains after the guerrillas, with Lieut. Lane in command. This was not pleasant, either." Mr. Pope said he was in five real battles, but was not quite sure that he remembered the names of the towns where they were fought. He suffered a paralytic stroke about five years ago, since which time he says his memory is not very good.

Asked about the present engagement between the United States and Mexico, Mr. Pope's face brightened with the spirit of '46, and he emphatically stated: "I would go again if I were young enough. It would do me good to go down there and take another crack at the - -. They are cowards; a treacherous set; they will sneak up behind and stick a knife in you."

Another thing that helps make Mr. Pope dislike the Mexicans is the fact that he was courtmartialed once for striking a Mexican over the head with his rifle. He said: "My opinion is that nothing can be done with the Mexicans but lick 'em."

Mr. Pope regrets that he cannot see to read the war news, as he is very much interested in the conflict. He says all that he knows is what he hears from some neighbor that comes in occasionally to tell him about it. His wife, who was Miss Mary J. McGuire, is eighty years old and is also unable to read with any degree of satisfaction to her husband. Just here we might add, a splendid opportunity presents itself for some person who is charitably inclined to drop in and read to these old people an hour or so every day. They would no doubt appreciate it.

Squire Pope, father of Daniel Pope, was a soldier in the war of 1812, and E. A. Pope, a brother, was in the Mexican war.

We did not have an opportunity this week to interview Mr. Steelman, but no doubt he can endorse everything said by Mr. Pope and Mr. Welker, both of whom made the remark that "the United States government is the best government on earth, and treats its soldiers the best." Mr. Welker and Mr. Pope each receive a pension of $1.00 per day as veterans the Mexican war.