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Civil War Flags.jpg Captain J. W. COMBS, Bedford, whose portrait appears in this work is a native of Clark county, Indiana, where he was born November 3, 1833. In the autumn of 1851, he removed to Atchison county, Missouri, where he made his home until the fall of 1854, when he returned to the scenes of his childhood. He again returned to Missouri and in February 1856, was married to Miss Rebecca J. CAGG, a native of Athens, Ohio. They soon removed to Athens, where they made their home until 1858, then went to Portsmouth, same State, thence to Greenup county, Kentucky, where they resided at the breaking out of the war. Up to that time he had been an advocate of State rights and was renting land of a gentleman who had joined the Confederate ranks leaving his lands in charge of a Mr. BRIGGS, an extensive land and slave holder, who made our subject the liberal offer of three years clear rent, three hundred dollars in money and a colonelcy in a Confederate regiment that was being organized, if he would lend his efforts to the Confederate cause. Although possessed of but limited means, he had that spirit of patriotism which is always characteristic in those of Buckeye birth [Ohio], and refused to divorce himself from the right, and defend a cause which he did not think just. He accordingly enlisted in a Missouri recruiting company, and in September, 1861, was assigned to company B., Thirteenth Missouri volunteers and was with his regiment in all its compaigns until after the battle of Shiloh. In April, 1862, he was mustered out of that regiment which was subsequently changed to the Twenty-second Ohio volunteers, and returned to his home, but was soon mustered in again as first sergeant of company A., Twelfth Ohio infantry volunteers. He was with his regiment in all its compaigns, battles, marches, etc., in Kentucky and Tennessee until the spring of 1863. He then received authority, with rank as second lieutenant, to recruit men for the Thirteenth Ohio cavalry, which duty he performed promptly. In July, 1864, he was again commissioned to recruit men for different regiments with quarters at Athens, Ohio. In September of that year he was appointed captain of infantry and was detailed to organize all recruits in camps at that place for his regiment, the One Hundred and Eight-seventy Ohio, but before the organization was completed, his comapny, together with the One Hundred and Eight-seventh Ohio, was ordered to the front and placed in the third brigade, first divisions Twenty-third corps. He was with his company until the close of the war, and was mustered out at Charleston, June 28, 1865, and immediately returned to his home, having served his country for more than four years, during which time he endured the hardships of many wearying marches, braved the blasts of battle and received two slight wounds.

In July, 1865, he came to Iowa, locating in Ringgold county, and in 1868 came to Bedford and now enjoys the comforts of a pleasant home. He is at present engaged in the furniture business and carrries the largest stock in that line in the county. His family consists of six children: Lafayette, Mars B., Jno Wesley, Sherman Bird and Frank.

SOURCE:  EVANS, Lyman Taylor County, Iowa History  Pp. 637 - 638. S.J. Clarke Pub. Chicago. 1910.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, 2008

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