Charles A. Monks
Morris Co. Up

Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.

An honored veteran of the Civil war, and a well known resident of Newfoundland, Morris county, Charles A. MONKS was born in Passaic county, New Jersey, on the 3d of April, 1842. His grandfather, a native of England, founded the family on American soil, and, noting the growing oppression of the British government in their treatment of the colonies, he became imbued with the idea that America should be a free and independent nation, and when the war of the Revolution was inaugurated he valiantly aided in the struggle for liberty. This Revolutionary patriot had three sons:

  • James, who located in the state of New York;
  • John, who took up his residence at Monksville, New Jersey; and
  • William, who became a resident of Passaic county.

The father of our subject also bore the name of William, being so called in honor of his father. He was born in 1803, learned the blacksmith's trade and followed that pursuit throughout his entire life. He wedded Miss Mary T. FLEMING, daughter of James FLEMING. Her death occurred in 1846, and Mr. MONKS passed away in 1873. Their children were

  • Sidney, who was killed in battle during the Civil war;
  • James, also deceased, and
  • Charles A.

In the common schools near his home Charles A. MONKS acquired his education, and alternated his work at his books by his labor in the fields, thus aiding in the cultivation of the home farm. In his youth he learned something of mechanics as a practical machinist, but without completing the trade, having decided to become a house painter. He served an apprenticeship at the latter calling and was working along that line when the attack of the south upon the north aroused his patriotic nature and he offered his services to the government in protection of the Union, which his great-grandfather had helped to establish. He enlisted first at Paterson, in Johnson's company, but for some reason that command was not equipped and started to the front within a reasonable time, as he thought, and his impatience at the delay and anxiety to get into the field led Mr. MONKS, together with six others from the same neighborhood, to desert the Johnson organization and enlist in Captain H. C. Bartlett's company of the Seventh New Jersey Volunteers. The command left Trenton for the field in the autumn of 1861 and took part in the Peninsular campaign, which continued until the spring of 1862. Company C participated in all the battles of the army of the Potomac from Bristow Station and Second Bull Run to Appomattox, except the battle of Antietam, and Mr. Monks was with his company in every engagement. On the expiration of his three-years term he re-enlisted as a veteran and served until the stars and stripes floated victoriously over the capital of the southern Confederacy.

In July, 1864, while endeavoring to escape capture, he was severely wounded, but otherwise escaped uninjured and enjoyed good health during the greater part of his service, but only he and H. S. CONDIT, of the seven who enlisted at Caldwell, lived to see the surrender of Lee, the others having deserted or were wounded or killed. He entered the service as a private and left with the rank of first sergeant of his company, was always found at his post of duty and endured all the hardships and privations of war, with the exception of the horrors of a rebel prison, and to avoid that experience he resolved to ask no quarter of the enemy and either escape capture or die in the attempt. The Seventh New Jersey was one of the regiments that suffered great losses on the battle-field. It was well drilled, and made up of men of great courage and bravery, and at the battle of Chancellorsville it took five stands of colors, single-handed, and captured more prisoners than there were men in the regiment.

When the war was over and the country no longer needed his services, Mr. MONKS turned his attention to agricultural pursuits, which he followed during the greater part of the time until 1893, when he engaged in the hotel business in Newfoundland. In the early '70's he went to Nebraska and saw much of the "wild west " that is now only a matter of history, owing to the rapid encroachments of civilization. In 1892 he crossed the continent to the Pacific coast, visiting Seattle, Tacoma and other cities, with some view of locating in that part of the country; but upon more mature consideration he decided to remain in New Jersey, and Morris county, therefore, still numbers him among her prominent, influential and representative business men.

In 1866 Mr. MONKS was united in marriage to Miss Susan BIGELOW, and to them have been born eight children:

  • Luella, wife of William BROSS;
  • Elmer, who married Susie LITZ;
  • Mary E.;
  • Annie;
  • Milton, who was born June 28, 1877, and who died May 8, 1898; and
  • Charles G.,
  • Lena and
  • Etta, all at home.

Mr. MONKS has given his attention principally to the interests of his home and business, yet has never failed in the faithful performance of his duties of citizenship, and has capably served in the offices of coroner and constable of Passaic county. His political support is given the men and measures of the Republican party, and to every interest or measure which he believes will prove of public benefit he gives the same earnest service and loyal devotion that characterized his career when on southern battle-fields he followed the stars and stripes to victory.


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