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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
Jerry D. Perkins
(Photo included in book)
To have given thirty years in the service of his country is a lot which falls to few Americans. Then certainly full credit should be given to this man, hero of three wars (the Civil war, 1861-65; the Spanish-American war, 1898, and the Philippine Islands, 1902), in service all over our country and in all our dependencies; one of the regulars, those men who can be depended on in every fight, whose business it is to fight, for which they often fail to get the glory which the volunteer receives; those regulars who bear the hardest service in war, and yet, perhaps, whose duty in time of peace is most arduous. For them there is no glamour of war, no public recognition of heroism, but just a dull and grinding round of duty, far more difficult to bear than actual campaigning. Honor to the volunteer; more honor to the regular. We cannot say more that is fitting in honor of a soldier whose service in both branches has been as long and as meritorious as this man’s has.
Jerry D. Perkins was born in Walworth county, Wisconsin, December 10, 1849. (See sketch of Mrs. J.T. Gager, his sister.) When but fifteen years old, he enlisted in Company D, Forty-sixth Iowa Volunteer Infantry, of which Col. D.B. Henderson was colonel and A.J. Smith was general commanding. Their old captain, Leonard T. McCowan, of Taylor county is still living, and Rev. Frank M. Robertson, of Fayette county, was in the same company. From 1871 to 1881, Mr. Perkins was engaged in the cattle business in Texas. On January 12, 1881, he enlisted at San Antonio in Company F, Twenty-second United States Infantry, for five years, and served at most of the posts on the plains. He was discharged January 11, 1886. On April 27, 1886, he had re-enlisted in the Fourteenth United States Infantry at San Francisco and was sent to Vancouver Barracks, Washington, where he served for two enlistments, being discharged April 26, 1891, and re-enlisting the following day in the same company and regiment. He was discharged in 1896 with the rank of sergeant. His next enlistment was on May 2, 1896, for three years in Company A of the Eleventh Infantry, and he was sent to Fort Apache, Arizona, and in the spring of 1898 to Jefferson Barracks, at St. Louis, and then to Camp Alger, at Mobile, Alabama. At the beginning of the Spanish-American war he was sent to Tampa, Florida. In June he was transferred to Company I, same regiment, and on July 23d boarded the transport “Grant” for Porto Rico and was in the engagement with the Spanish troops, following them to the Rio Bravo, where the Spanish troops scattered. He was at San Juan at the surrender. His company remained there until November 22, 1900, when it was sent back to the old Arsenal at Washington, D.C. Mr. Perkins re-enlisted in Company I May 2, 1899. The company was sent to the Philippines on the “Kilpatrick” from San Francisco, reaching Manila in May 1901, and remained in the islands until March 1904. Mr. Perkins was discharged May 1, 1902, and on May 25th re-enlisted for three years in Company B, Eleventh Infantry. In 1904 he returned to San Francisco on the transport “Thomas” and was assigned to Fort D.A. Russell, near Cheyenne, where, on January 1, 1906, he was retired on account of his thirty years’ service. In all his discharges he was recommended by his superior officers for his bravery, honesty and fidelity to duty.
Mr. Perkins had secured a tract of
land in the state of Washington, but sold this, and in April 1908, he
retired to Alpha, Fayette county, Iowa, where he now lives, with his
sister, Mrs. Eliza Rogers, as housekeeper. She is the widow of Joseph C.
Rogers, a soldier in Company F, Thirty-eighth Iowa Regiment, in the
Civil war, who died January 17, 1907, at Alpha. Her life has been spent
at Alpha since the age of twelve years. Of four brothers in the Civil
war, Jerry alone survived the war. George H. Perkins, of Company F,
Third Iowa, was shot at Jackson, Mississippi, July 3, 1863. William F.,
of Company F, Thirty-eighth Iowa, died in a hospital. Charles W., of the
same regiment and company, was reported missing and never heard of,
being supposedly killed by bushwhackers near New Madrid. They were
indeed a family of fighters and loyal to their country to the full
extent of giving their lives in her defense. Jerry Perkins is now living
quietly, much esteemed by his fellow citizens.
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