The death of Henry Bock, which took place March 31, 1903, at his home in Girard, Macoupin County, removed from this locality a man who was valued in business, political and fraternal life. Mr. Bock was born in Hanover, Germany, July 25, 1842, hence was aged 60 years, eight months and six days, at the time of his demise.
Mr. Bock came to America in 1856 and for a few years worked on the farm of Samuel Thomas, east of Girard, and then made his home at Girard with his brother, F. W. Bock. While there, he learned the trade of cooper, and was working at that when the call came for volunteers, at the opening of the Civil War. Among the brave youths who came forward and offered their young lives in defense of the Stars and Stripes, was this German boy, then only 19 years old. Through the years of peril, battle and imprisonment, which followed, his faithfulness never wavered, and to the full extent of his power he did a soldier's duty.
Mr. Bock, on May 25, 1861, was enrolled in Company C, 14th Reg., Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was discharged January 4, 1864, at Camp Cervan, Mississippi, by reason of reinstatement as a veteran volunteer, and, as such, was then enrolled as a veteran private in Company F, 14th Reg. Illinois Vol. Inf., which was then known as the 14th and 15th Illinois battalions. He was discharged from the service of the United States, September 16, 1865, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, by reason of Special Order, No. 26, given by Major-General Pope, and he took part in the grand review in the city of Washington.
Company C, of which Mr. Bock was an honored member, was organized at Girard, Macoupin County, April 24, 1861; rendezvoused at Jacksonville, Illinois, May 11, 1861; joined the 14th Regiment, on its original organization in the State service, and on May 25, 1861, was sworn into the United States service for the term of three years, unless sooner discharged. From that date the history of the company was identical with that of the regiment. Cyrus Hall was colonel and Augustus H. Cornman was captain. In the printed list of members of Company C, the sixth name on the roll is Henry Bock. The regiment was detained at Camp Duncan, Jacksonville, until the latter part of June and then proceeded to Quincy, thence to Missouri, where, with the 16th Illinois, it assisted in keeping down the spirit of rebellion. The Confederate force, under Martin E. Green, was dispersed and Senator Green was captured, but later paroled. the regiment accompanied General Fremont on his memorable campaign to Springfield, Missouri, in pursuit of General Price, and then went into winter quarters at Otterville. In February, 1862, he regiment was ordered to Fort Donelson, where it arrived the day subsequent to its surrender; went then to Fort Henry, embarked on transports and proceeded up the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing. In the sanguinary engagements of April 6th and 7th, the loss in killed and wounded was fully one-half of the command engaged. In the grand charge on the evening of April 7th, which was the consummation of that splendid victory, the 14th Illinois was in the advance and in the official report was praised for its gallantry. The regiment took an active part in the battle of Shiloh and siege of Corinth. It constituted the right wing of Grant's army in the march into Mississippi, through Holly Springs, later went into winter quarters at Lafayette, Tennessee. Early in the following spring, the command was ordered to Vicksburg, where it took part in all the operations there which resulted in the fall of that city on July 4, 1863; went then to Jackson, Mississippi; then to Natchez and formed a part of the body which marched across the swamps of northeastern Louisiana to Harrisonburg, captured Fort Beauregard and then accompanied General Sherman on his Meridian raid. later, as a veteran regiment, it formed a part of the army in its advance on Atlanta. the regiment was a part of the body detailed to guard the railroad communications at and near Ackworth, Georgia, a dangerous duty, as this was the only route by which General Sherman could supply his immense army. It was with General Sherman on his celebrated "March to the Sea." During the long and weary march through North and South Carolina, the regiment was on duty, day and night, and the battalion was the first to enter Cheraw, South Carolina, Fayetteville, North Carolina, and also took part in the battle of Bentonville. After the capitulation of Johnston, the 14th Regiment marched to Washington, D. C., to take part in the grand review. During its four years and four months of arduous service, the regiment marched 4,490 miles, traveled by rail 2,330 miles and by river, 4,490 miles, making an aggregate of 11,670 miles.
Mr. Bock, while he shared in the glory which the achievements of this regiment won, did not escape some of its misfortunes. he endured several terms of imprisonment, being captured at Moon Station, Georgia, and taken to Andersonville. After three months of wretchedness at that awful military prison, he managed to escape and, after many dangers, reached the Union lines and rejoined his company.
In the year following his return from the army, on December 25, 1866, he was united in marriage with Bertha Bajohr, a daughter of Bernard Bajohr. Three children were born to this marriage: Pauline, who is the wife of Jacob Guth, of Girard; Emma, who is the wife of Henry C. Rathgeber, of Girard; and Fred B., one of Girard's leading merchants, whose sketch appears in this volume.
Although the late Mr. Bock never sought public honors, he was so eminently fitted for the same, that his fellow citizens elected him to many responsible positions. He was elected town trustee in 1873, 1874, 1875 and was again in elected in 1878. In 1878 he was elected alderman, and was re-elected in 1884 and served continuously until 1887, and was again elected in 1901 and in 1902. The confidence thus shown was never violated. While he was a man of great public spirit, he was also careful and cautious, and his advocacy of public measures was always tempered by good judgment. Upon the news of his death, the city council of Girard immediately adopted resolutions of respect, one paragraph reading as follows:
"WHEREAS, By the death of Henry Bock, the council and city have lost one of the most honored, valued and esteemed members and citizens, one who has been repeatedly called by public voice and demand, to serve in the same official capacity as held by him at the time of his death, and whose capacity, fidelity and unswerving integrity to the duties of his office and to the citizens, was such as to endear him to the hearts of all."
Mr. Bock was the oldest member of Girard Lodge, No. 192, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and this lodge and branches passed resolutions of respect and esteem. Mr. Bock was also an honored member of Luke Mayfield Post, No. 516, G.A.R., and of Greenridge Local Union, No. 763, United Mine Workers. These organizations took charge of the funeral, and, with the city council, followed his remains to their last resting place in Girard cemetery. In addition to these bodies, the concourse was so great, that it seemed as if almost every dwelling in the city had sent a representative to assist in paying a last token of respect to one who was so universally esteemed.