Judge/Gen. Josiah Given

Funeral services Feb 6th, 1908, Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, IA.

From the notebook of Bonita Jane Given.
Transcribed by her son, Paul Ingels

Josiah Allen Given, Brig Gen. Comrade Given was born in western Pa, August 31, 1828. Ten years of infancy and young childhood were passed in his birthplace. In 1838, the family moved to Millersburg, Oh, which was his home till after the civil war. There he grew into a merry-hearted, quick-witted, intelligent young man.

The war with Mexico set his pulse throbbing high when he was 17 yrs old. He enlisted as a drummer, but was rejected because of his youth.

Later he enlisted and served through the last year of the war as a corporal in Co. G, 4th Ohio Infantry, with courage and credit.

Home from the war, popular as a soldier lad who could take to fine advantage the stories of marches and battles; hailed by the young as their hero-comrade, he was soon responsive to the call of love and when he was 23 years old became the husband of Miss Elizabeth Armour, who past out of our sight 12 years before his translation - a gracious woman loved by all who knew her - leaving four sons and a daughter.

The young soldier entered upon the study of law directly after his return to Millersburg and was admitted to the bar with the motion of E.M. Stanton, Lincolns great War Secretary. Forming a partnership with Mr. Barcroft (afterwards Judge Barcroft of Des Moines) the firm located at Coshocton, Co seat of the county of the same name, and continued partnership practice for ten years.

Then came 1861 and the war of the guns in Charleston Harbor echoed in the court room where Given was prosecuting in a legal battle. At once, he was again a soldier. The honor of the flag was to be maintained and the Union defended. The call came and he was ready, saying in effect with Coriolanus (???), "I love my country's good, with a respect more tender,more holy and profound, then mine own life."

He raised a company, which became Co. K, 24th Ohio Volunteers and was soon in the field, serving for three months in Virginia, and then was assigned to the Army of the Cumberland where he was made Lieutenant Colonel of the 18th Ohio and served in Kentucky and Tennessee until the stress of the strife had removed further south.

In June 1863 he was promoted to the Colonel of the 74th Ohio and in that position went thru the Atlanta Campaign, though for a part of the time commanding the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Div, 13th Army Corps. His service was most active and strenuous. He seemed to be always on duty, always at the front, as Sherman, through fire and death, pushed down to Atlanta. He fought in 22 battles unhurt save once, having been wounded in the desperate fight at or near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

After the fall of Atlanta in 1864 he sheathed his sword and come home with an enviable reputation as a great and skillful soldier.

The firm of Bancroft and Given, in Iowa now resumed practice, 5 years after the close of the war.

It was expected that with his military knowledge and spirit, he would be interested in and for the veterans of the wars, and studious to promote their welfare. He delighted to meet the "boys" of 61. A campfire was brighter and warmer when he was in it. He was the 1st commander of Cocker Post G.A.R. and as a member of the Iowa Legislature of 1876 he sought and secured legislation favorable to the men "who served."

The martial fire never died in his breast. He was the 1st in Iowa to volunteer for the war with Spain, when 70 years old, with two wars behind him. He was identified with the best citizenship of Des Moines for 40 years caring for the welfare of the city.

His legal ability was soon recognized after coming to the state. In 1880 he was elected Circuit Judge and served on the bench of that court and of the District Court for some 12 years. Then followed 13 years of service as one of the Supreme Court Judges of the State.

He was a man whom it was good to know. Intelligent, courteous, patriotic, serving his time and his county by the constant exhibition of a noble character. An optimistic, high-toned Christian gentleman. He will be remembered by his neighbors not so much as a soldier with a record or the lawyer with a wide reputation, but as the man Josiah Given, honored and beloved. Of late years, his summers have been passed in his Okoboji retreat, where, while still a judge, he studied and formulated his opinions, and where, when no longer holding office, he could retire from the stir and stress of the time, meet and entertained his friends and enjoyed the quiet beauty of the water and shore.

There, with the years he happily grew old - not ______, not apprehensive, but with bright memories of a varied life, well lived, and with confident hope of what is to be hereafter.

He was a valued member of the Presb. church, ever seeking to know well the foundations of his faith.

After a somewhat prolonged decline, he passed on peacefully, Feb 3, 1908, in his 80th year.

      A. L. Frisbie
      R. W. Terrell
      W. R. Manning
  From Journal of proceedings
  Thirty-Fourth Annual Encampment
  Department of Iowa G.A.R.
  Cedar Rapids, IA Jun 9, 10, 11, 1908

(From the Annals of Iowa, Vol. 8)
Josiah Given was born in Murrysville, Westmouland Co., PA. Aug 31, 1828. He died in Des Moines, Iowa Feb 3 1908. His parents were John and Jane Clendenning Given and they were from Ireland. In the spring of 1838 the family moved to Holmes Co., Ohio. In 1847 Judge Given enlisted in the Mexican War, becoming a member of Comp G, 4th Ohio Infantry and before the close of that conflict he was made a corporal. At the conclusion of the war, he returned to Ohio and became a student of the law, in the office of his older brother Judge William Given and his partner J.R. Bancroft, at Millersburg, Ohio. After two years of reading, he was admitted to the bar in Stark Co., Ohio on the motion of Edwin M. Stanton. The next year he was elected prosecuting attorney of Holmes Co., serving in that capacity for 2 terms. In 1865 he removed to and opened office in Coshocton, and very soon secured a satisfactory practice. While attending court in that county, news came of the firing on Fort Sumter and when finishing the case then on trial in which he was engaged, he left the courtroom and did not return until the end of the Civil War. He immediately raised a company known as "K" 24th Ohio Volunteer Inf., and was commissioned its Captain. The summer of 1861 was spent with his company in the mountains of West Virginia. In the fall of that year he was transferred and promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of the 18th Ohio Volunteers. While serving in that capacity, he was severely wounded at the Battle of Stone River, and by reason of conspicuous bravery was made a Colonel of the 74th Ohio Inf, his commission ensuing in the year 1863. He participated in 22 battles during the Civil War, for part of the time commanded the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Div., of the 14th Army Corp., and retired a Brig. Gen. After the fall of Atlanta he resigned on account of rheumatism contracted in the service. He was the first to offer his services to Gen. Shaw at the breaking out of the late war with Spain, but on account of his extreme age his enlistment was not accepted. He was the first commander of Crocker Post and the Commander of the Iowa Dept. of G.A.R. in the year 1886. Few men have such an army record as had Judge Given; and he was never happier than when attending Grand Army meetings of Old Soldier reunions. His affection and love for "his boys" was extremely touching. At the close of the war he was almost immediately elected Postmaster of the House Of Representatives of the 39th Congress, largely thru the instrumentality of James A. Garfield, then a member of the house.

Shortly after that he came to Des Moines, where he formed a partnership with his old law preceptor Judge J. R. Bancroft. Here his eminent fitness for official duties was soon recognized and in 1871 he was elected District Attorney of the district of which Polk Co. was a part; and in 1876 was elected to the State Legislature from Polk Co. serving in the committees of Judiciary, Appropriations, Compensation of Public Offices, City and Towns, and Judicial Districts. Before election to the District Attorneyship he was appointed by General, then President Grant, Deputy Revenue Commissioner, resigning that position when elected to the attorneyship. In 1880 he was elected Circuit Judge of Polk Co. district then District Judge in 1886 and served in that capacity until appointed the Supreme Court bench by Gov. Lanabu in Feb 1889, to fill the vacancy occasioned by the resignation of Judge Reed. He was twice elected a Supreme Court Judge and Thrice served as Chief Justice, assuming that position upon his appointment by the Governor. Upon his retirement from the Supreme bench he was appointed to fill a vacancy upon the district bench of his county.

Judge Given was married at Millersburg, Ohio Oct 6, 1851 to Elizabeth Armor. She died 12 years ago. The surviving children are Welker, Josiah Jr., William H. Given, and Mrs. Joseph Gardner all of Des Moines, and Frank and Thomas Given of Spokane, Washington. Few men have had greater personal popularity than Judge Given. He had that sweetness of disposition, that kindness of heart, and that sympathy for and thoughtfulness of others which endeared him to all. A quickness of comprehension and an almost intuitional divination of the very right in controversy, made him an exceptionally strong trial judge; and when promoted to the supreme bench he brought to it years of experience both at the bar and at the bench making him a valuable member of that body. He never betrayed a friend or a trust and his ideals were of the highest. No one ever challenged either his character or his motives.

Distinguished as a soldier, eminent as a justice, and conspicuously honorable and just in his private life. Judge Given's service both to the state and nation were inestimable value.

(Info from Robin Elaine Devore)

Chief Justice Iowa Supreme Court
Veteran of two wars.
Held various positions of honor and trust in the state of Iowa.

Josiah and Jane (Glendening) Given (sic). Although Robin's records say Josiah and Jane, it should actually be Josiah and Elizabeth. Josiah and Jane are Judge/Gen Josiah's parents) moved the family to Holmes Co., Ohio where Josiah A. beat a drum on the edge of the corn field to keep squirrels from digging up corn seeds. This accomplishment brought him into the service of his country when the Mexican War broke out. He was in great demand to furnish the patriotic music to inspire volunteers. He enlisted Mexican War 1847 as a drummer boy holding the rank of 3rd Corporal.

After the war he worked in the law office and studied law of an older brother William (Judge in Ohio). Read law for two years in Ohio. Admitted to the bar in Stark Co., Ohio in 1850. 1851 elected prosecuting attorney of Holmes Co., Ohio. Served two terms with distinction. 1856 Coghooton, Ohio to practice. Enlisted as a Capt of Company K, 24th Ohio Volunteer Infantry (he organized it).

Summer of 1861 he was in the mountains of West Virginia.

Fall 1861 promoted to Lt Colonel of 18th Ohio. Wounded at Stone River.

Spring 1863 made Colonel of 74th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. As the head of this regiment he went through the Atlanta Campaign.

Commanded 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, and 14th Army Corp, Earned the title of General. After the fall of Atlanta he resigned on account of rheumatism. He was elected Postmaster of the House of the 39th Congress. After the war he arrived in Des Moines and was elected District Attorney of Polk Co., IA Jan 1880 he was a Circuit Judge. Elected District Judge until Feb 1889.

Appointed to the bench (Supreme) and served until 1902. He was commander of the Iowa Dept. of G.A.R. He belonged to the Masonic Fraternity and Presbyterian Church. He was a republican.

Josiah Given was born in western Pennsylvania, on August 31, 1828, and at the age of ten moved to Millersburg, Ohio. When he was but seventeen the War with Mexico excited his military interest, and he enlisted, later becoming a corporal in Company G, Fourth Ohio Infantry. Home from the war, he entered upon the study of law, and was admitted to the bar. In 1861 rumors of war again excited his interest, and he again became a soldier. He helped to organize Company K, Twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteers, served three months in Virginia, and was made lieutenant colonel of the Eighteenth Ohio Infantry. In June, 18,63, he was made colonel of the Seventy-fourth Ohio, serving in the Atlanta campaign. At the close of the war Mr. Given resumed his practice of law in Des Moines, Iowa, where for forty years he was identified with the best civic movements. He was for many years a leader in the Grand Army of the Republic, being the first Commander of Crocker Post, and in 1896 Commander of the Iowa Department. Moreover, as a member of the Iowa legislature in 1876, he sought favorable legislation for the soldier.

For twelve years he was a judge of the circuit and district courts, and for thirteen years he served as one of the Judges of the Supreme Court of Iowa. His career came peacefully to an end on February 3, 1908, he having lived well his four score years.

The following is a sketch of Josiah Given taken from:

CHAPTER XXXVL (pp326-328)
War of the Rebellion-Continued

Organization of Given's Rangers" - Their Assignment to the Twenty-fourth Ohio, and departure to the Field--Sketch of Josiah Given-Organization....

While the two three month companies of Coshocton boys were making their record, the martial element at home was growing more and more formidable. The first three years' company was recruited by Josiah Given. "The Age", of date June 6, 1861, says: "Josiah Given established a camp at his place, and raised a company of volunteers for three years service. The camp is in the county fair grounds, named Camp Burt, and the company is a very fine one. The boys expect marching orders this week. This makes three full companies from Coshocton county. Two of them are now in the heart of Virginia, on the enemy's soil, and the one will give a good account of itself."

A short sketch of Josiah Given, the captain, will be appropriate in this place, in view of active service and rapid promotion. He was commissioned June 12, 1861, as captain of Company K, Twenty-fourth Ohio Volunteer Infantry; August 17, 1861, ranked as lieutenant-colonel of the Eighteenth Ohio, commissioned November 2, 1861. Appointed colonel of the Seventy-fourth Ohio May 16 1863; commission issued June 2, 1863, Colonel Given commanded the Seventy-fourth Ohio from the time of its movement toward Chattanooga, June 23, 1863, participating in the battle of Hoover's Gap, June 24; Dug Gap, Georgia September 11, and Chickamauga, Sept. 19 and 20, arriving at Chattanooga, Sept. 22, 1863.

He also commanded the Seventy-fourth in the battles of Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, Nov. 23, 24 and 25, 1863. On the 7th of May, 1864, Colonel Given commanded his regiment as it started with the army on the Atlanta campaign. For one hundred days and over, the regiment was under fire almost daily. At Buzzard's Roost and at Resaca the regiment, under Colonel Given, stormed those strongholds with heavy loss, and on the 27th of May received the following commendatory notice from the division commander:


COLONEL JOSIAH GIVEN:--General Johnson desires to express to you his high appreciation of the gallantry exhibited by the noble troops of your regiment in the night engagement of the 27th inst. The admirable spirit displayed by the regiment on that occasion is, above all things, desirable and commendable. Soldiers animated by such courage, and fortitude are capable of the highest achievements.

[Signed,]    E.T. Wells, A.A.

The regiment, still under Colonel Given's command, was engaged in the performance of the most perilous and arduous duties at Kenesaw mountain, Chattahoochie River, Peach Tree Creek, and in front of Atlanta. At the battle of Jonesboro, Colonel Given led the regiment in three distinct charges, on the afternoon of September 1, and shared in the general complimentary notice to all those engaged in that part of the fight, as follows:

Jonesboro, September 1864.

Circular--"The general commanding the division congratulates officers and enlisted men of the Second and Third brigades on the success of their splendid assault on the enemy, September 1, 1864. They charged a strongly entrenched double line. passing over swamps and through thickets under a murderous fire of musketry, dragged the enemy out of his works at some points, and drove them out at others. The troops opposed to them were most celebrated for obstinate fighting of any division of the rebel army. The conduct of all was gratifying to our commanding general, and the day should be remembered and celebrated by every soldier engaged in battle.

"By order of Brigadier General W.P. Carlin.
"(Signed) G.W. Smith, A.A.G."

The Atlanta campaign ending here, Colonel Given resigned, and returning to Coshocton, assisted this county so well in its management of its draft quota that it had them filled with little or no trouble. Colonel Given is now a citizen of Iowa and is engaged in the practice of law.




File contributed to the Ohio Biographies Project by
Jeanne Yoakam
March 27, 2001



Josiah Given* was born in August, 1828, of Irish parents, in Westmoreland County, Penn., where he was reared until ten years of age at which time the family emigrated to Holmes County, Ohio. Here young Given was employed on the farm and in the blacksmith shop carried on by his father and elder brothers, until 1846, when he entered the military service, serving for a time as drummer boy to a recruiting squad of the Fifteenth United States Army Infantry, and later to the close of the Mexican War as private and corporal in Company G, Fourth Ohio Infantry.

After returning from Mexico, he entered the office of Given & Barcroft, where he studied law and was admitted to practice in the court at Canton, Ohio, in 1851, Edwin M. Stanton being chairman of the examining committee. The next year Mr. Given was elected prosecuting attorney of his county, which position he filled for two years, acquiring notoriety by pursuing and capturing the county treasurer, who had fled with the public moneys. The capture was made in Switzerland, and the treasurer was brought back to Ohio and prosecuted to conviction. Mr. Given was married in September, 1851, to Miss Elizabeth Armor, and has seven children living. In 1856,Mr. Given removed to Coshocton County, Ohio, where he continued to practice law until the firing on Fort Sumter. On receipt of the news he left the court-house, and did not return to it until after the War of the Rebellion. During that struggle he served as captain of Company K, Twenty-fourth Ohio, lieutenant-colonel and colonel of the Eighteenth Ohio, colonel of the Seventy-fourth Ohio, and was in the command of a brigade for a time on the Atlantic Campaign. Soon after the close of the war he was elected postmaster of the House of Representatives, XXXIXth Congress, and at the close of his term, in consummation of a purpose entertained before the war, he started for Iowa, stopping for a few months at Wooster, Ohio, to settle the affairs of his deceased brother, Judge William Given, who had died from disabilities contracted in the service. Mr. Given arrived in Des Moines, May 1, 1868, and has continued to reside there ever since, except an absence of three years while serving in the Treasurer's Department in Washington, D.C., as deputy commissioner of internal revenue under Gen. Grant's first administration. Being nominated by the Republicans of his district for district attorney, he resigned his deputyship and returned to Des Moines. After serving a term as district attorney, he declined re-election and resumed the private practice until called to the circuit bench, January 1, 1880, having in the meantime served one term as member of the Iowa House of Representatives. After four years' service on the circuit court bench, he was re-elected, and, when the circuit court was legislated out of existence, he was elected district judge Ninth Judicial District, in which capacity he continued to serve until appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Hon. Joseph B. Reed, chief justice of the Supreme Court of Iowa, which office he now holds.

*contributed by Judge Martin Welker
submitted by Jeanne Yoakam

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