This gentleman, the present postmaster at Bunker Hill, was born at Berwick on Tweed, Scotland, March 2d, 1844. His father, Fenwick Y. Hedley, was a minister of the Baptist church, and for some years the companion of the celebrated Father Mathew in his wonderful temperance campaigns, and with him traveled through England and Ireland, holding mass meetings, and inaugurating the great temperance crusade, which has become a part of history. From exposure incident to these arduous campaigns, he was taken seriously ill, and his death occurred in the year 1847. Susan Hunt, the mother of the subject of this biography, was born at Bristol, England. After the death of her first husband, by whom she had two children, of whom F.Y. Hedley was the oldest, she married Wilson W. Pattison and in the year 1852 removed to America.
In 1854 the family settled at Carlinville. Mr. Hedley obtained his education partially in the public schools of St. Louis, and afterward at Blackburn University. In 1856 he began learning the trade of a printer, in the office of the Carlinville Democrat. He was thus employed at the commencement of the war of the rebellion. On the 24th of August, 1861, he enlisted as a private in company C, thirty-second regiment, Illinois volunteers, commanded by Col. John Logan of Carlinville. His regiment was attached to the old fourth Division of the army of the Tennessee, under General Grant, and subsequently to the Seventeenth Corps, on a different division of the army being adopted. He took part in the battle of Pittsburg Landing, and in the various engagements which marked the Tennessee river campaigns. He was also engaged with his regiment in the movement around Vicksburg.
His original term of enlistment was for three years, but in 1863 he re-enlisted as a veteran volunteer. In the famous Atlantic campaigns his regiment bore a conspicuous part everywhere, acquitting itself with credit. He served as private till 1864, when he was promoted to be first lieutenant and adjutant. The famous march of Sherman to the sea, was the next important movement in which he took part.
Early in the year 1865, on the recommendation of his division commander, Gen. W. W. Belknap, afterwards Secretary of War, and Gen. Frank P. Blair, he was commissioned captain by the president, and assigned to staff duty as assistant adjutant general of the third brigade, fourth division, seventeenth corps. He acted as such during the campaigns in North Carolina, preceding the collapse of the Southern Confederacy, after which he participated in the grand review at Washington, immediately before the final disbandment of the army.
After the close of the war his brigade was detached for duty on the Plains, the outbreak of Indian troubles causing serious apprehensions of danger in that quarter. The brigade was en route for Utah, but on reaching Fort Kearney was recalled, and directed to proceed to Springfield, Illinois, there to be mustered out of service and on the 24th of October, 1865, he became again a private citizen, after more than four years continuous service.
He came to Bunker Hill January 1st, 1866, and was engaged on the Union Gazette, which was first published at that date, and for the first number of which he composed the matter. In February, 1867, in connection with Dr. A. R. Sawyer, he became proprietor of the paper, and after Dr. Sawyer's death in May, 1868, the sole owner. The name was changed to the Bunker Hill Gazette. He has since been occupied in the active management of the journal, except during a brief period, when a lease was made to other parties. Under the direction of Mr. hedley, the paper has been successful, and sustains an excellent reputation as a bright and lively local journal. On political questions, it has held to a fair and moderate course, though it does not disguise its preference for the principles of the republican party. During the agitation of the various matters connected with the building of the court house the Gazette waged a relentless war against the frauds which were being practiced on the people of Macoupin county, and to its utmost ability, exposed the schemes of those interested in unjustly burdening the county with debt. The Gazette was fearless in speaking on this subject when others were silent, and the editor has since had the satisfaction of seeing his course vindicated by the sober, second thought of the people.