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Excerpt from "Mr. Lincoln's Army", Bruce Catton
John A. Bachelder

Antietam: 17th of Sept 1862

Late that afternoon there was one final flare-up. The 7th Maine was detached from the front line and sent forward to drive Rebel sharpshooters out of the Piper farm buildings, down where Richardson's drive had reached high-water mark a few hours earlier. The little regiment got to the farmyard, chased the sharpshooters, found itself surrounded in an orchard, cut its way out and came staggering back to the lines with sixty-eight men around the colors- it had set out with 240. A Vermont brigade which had watched the whole performance stood up in the lines and cheered as the exhausted soldiers came back. (p. 178)

Military Pension data from the National Archives and Records Administration (October 10, 2003)

In 1891 John A Bachelder applied for a pension and provided the following deposition to support his claim. The spelling and punctuation below have been transcribed exactly as written by John Bachelder.

Answer to Call No. 13

I resided in Old Town Maine (occupation mechanical) until 1867. I came to Sanfrancisco, Calafornia I resided in Howard Street between 2nd an 3rd I hav forgotten the number. I worked in a sash doors blind manufactory. It was in this place that I had my left hand cought in the machinery that I was operating, and so badly jamed that it was nessesary to amputate three fingers, the fourth (the little finger) is stiff and crooked. I was tended by Dr. Stewart. I do not know where he is he moved away from Sanfrancisco. I left Sanfrancisco in April 1870, came here to Santa Cruz and hav remained here since. Ocupation rancher. I live in the foot hills five miles from Santa Cruz Post Ofice. Grannet Creek is where I am located.

My First attack of the Rheumatism I had was in March 1862 we marched from camp near Chain Bridge VA to Alexandra VA it was a very; rainey and coald day we camped on ground that was nearly covered with watter. I did not go to eney hospital I keped with my company, each exposure would increase the attach of the Rheumatism of late in the winter. I hav ben obliged to use a crutch in orde to get a round.

Dr. P.B. Fagan attends to me when I kneed any medical assistance he resides in Santa Cruz his address is Santa Cruz Calafornia for the last eight years I hav ben failing at present I am incapable of doing eney work that is eney laborious. I am 68 years old.

I hav answered the questions to back No. 13 as I understand them hoping they will be satisfactory.

Very Respectfuly
John A Bachelder
Santa Cruz Calafornia

Santa Cruz Surf (October 29, 1885)

Capt. J. A. Bachelder was arrested last evening by constable walker at Waddell's Gulch, charged with misdemeanor in setting fires. He was allowed to go on his own recognizance to appear before Judge Davenport for examination today. [Editor's Note: The trial was postponed several times and no decision could be found in the Surf.]

Santa Cruz Sentinel (May 27, 1886)

Wadell Gulch

Capt. J. A. Bachelder, whose ranch adjoins that of his brother (C.P. Bachelder), by hard work has made his place rank among the first in the country. The back portion of the residence is sheltered from the sun's rays by a cluster of trees that form a small grove, while the front commands a good view of the flowing brook and hillside. A seventeen year's residence on this spot has given Mr. Bachelder ample time to set out an orchard and vineyard equal to any in the State. It was from his orchard that the belle fleur apples were produced which took first prize at the recent Agricultural Fair held in this city. The peach trees in this orchard are looking much better than those in other parts of the country. Fifteen acres are in the vineyard, and the outlook for a bountiful harvest is promising. In conversation with a Sentinel representative, who visited his ranch last Monday, Mr. Bachelder spoke of an experiment tried with success in extracting stumps by the use of dynamite. He says that it works wonderfully, and if the use of dynamite is employed in this work great saving of labor will result. The Captain, by the way, is a whole souled gentleman, and an enthusiastic member of the G.A.R., having enlisted in the Union army in '61, and served under Generals McClellan, Pope, Hooker, Burnside, Meade and Grant, and in the many engagements escaped serious bodily injury, though receiving a slight flesh wound from a passing bullet. He has in his possession numerous relics of war times, among them being a facsimile copy of the Vicksburg (Miss.) Daily Citizen, printed on the back side of wall paper, the only paper that could be obtained at that period of the war.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (August 31, 1886)

On Sunday afternoon Captain J.A. Bachelder and wife were given a surprise party at their residence in Wadell Gulch by friends from Santa Cruz, the occasion being the fourteenth anniversary of the Captain and Mrs. Bachelder's wedding. During the afternoon a collation was partaken of and vocal selections rendered by the Misses Sutphen, Lida Moore and Maud Hohmann. The following were among those present: Mr. and Mrs. J.A. Bachelder, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Bachelder, Mr. and Mrs. C.T. Sutphen, Mr. and Mrs. Bart Burke, Mr. and Mrs. Weymouth, Mr. and Mrs. J.W. Jarvis, Mr. and Mrs. S.C. Hohmann, Mr. and Mrs. Capt. Austin, A. Simons, Mrs. G.M. Hubbard, Mr. Madeira; Misses Maud Hohmann, Florence and Mamie Sutphen, Lida Moore, Lulu and Allie Sutphen, Lange, Nettie Jarvis, Ida and Gertrude Austin; Eddie Sutphen, Charles Bachelder, Jr., Josiah Hargrave and Lisle Austin.

Santa Cruz Surf (April 28, 1892)

Tobacco Culture: Experiments on a Liberal Scale to be Made This Season
Possibility of Developing a Very Important and Profitable Industry

Those who traveled the Blackburn Gulch Road last year observed some very thrifty tobacco plants in a field just above the Call Brick Yards, and as the season advanced those familiar with tobacco culture in other sections were astonished at the thrift of the plants and their splendid growth. Altho' Mr. Haas, the grower, had no scientific knowledge concerning the care and curing of the crop, yet cigars manufactured from this tobacco have been highly praised by local experts.

About eight acres have already been planted on the DeLaveaga Ranch, and a like amount of land engaged of Capt. J.A. Bachelder, whose ranch is in the same Waddell Gulch, a tributary to the Blackburn Gulch, at a little higher elevation.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (June 1, 1892)

Captain Bachelder, of Blackburn Gulch, brought to the office a sample of the growing tobacco. To the inexperienced it has the appearance of being a first class article. The Captain says it is, and we hope it is and shall watch its harvesting and curing.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 9, 1897)

DIED: BACHELDER- In Granite Gulch Feb 9, 1897, Mathilda, wife of Capt J. A. Bachelder, a native of New York aged 65 years.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 10, 1897)

The Funeral of the late Mrs. Mathilda Bachelder took place Tuesday from Calvary Episcopal Church. The pallbearers were Chas. Craghill, H.J. Stone, C.S. Hohmann, E.L. Williams, U.S. Nichols, and J.F. Cunningham. The remains were interred in Evergreen Cemetery.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (August 3, 1898)

Died: On Granite Creek August 2nd Capt. J.A. Bachelder
A native of New Hampshire aged 75 years

Capt. J. A. Bachelder died suddenly Tuesday morning in an outhouse on his place on Granite Creek. For some years he had been a sufferer from chronic rheumatism and heart trouble. He arose Tuesday morning feeling rather good. Soon afterwards his body was found on the floor by his adopted son. Deceased had been a resident of this county for many years. He was a veteran of the Civil War.

The funeral of the deceased will take place tomorrow, Thursday at 11 A.M. from Calvary Episcopal Church. Friends and acquaintances are invited to attend.

Santa Cruz Surf (August 5, 1898)

The funeral took place on Tuesday August 4th at 1:00 at Calvary Episcopal Church and was conducted by Rev. Mr. Adams. The members of the G.A.R. preceded the hearse and the dead march was played by drum and fife. A firing squad fired a salute over the grave. The pall bearers were S.C. Hohmann, Charles Craghill, O.J. Lincoln, John Copp, J.D. White and W. Lane.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 2, 1899)

Capt. Bachelder's Son: An Heir to an Estate heard from
An Unwritten Chapter in the Life of an Old Resident of This County

Shortly after the close of the Civil War Capt. J.A. Bachelder located in this county. Before taking up arms in the defense of his country he was a seafaring man, and it was through being master of a ship that he derived the title of Captain. He located on a ranch on Granite Creek, known in early days as Waddell Gulch. Before his marriage some five years before his death, he was known as a confirmed old bachelor. He never appeared to be fond of the fair sex, so the women, who had ever entertained any idea of ensnaring him in the meshes of matrimony, ceased to smile sweetly on him. But at last when the afternoon of old age was creeping upon him he decided to become a married man. The woman whom he made his wife departed this life a year before he left the land of sunshine and flowers for another and presumably, a better world. Mrs. Bachelder bequeathed to her husband a business building in Vallejo, yielding a monthly rental of $60.

Capt. Bachelder died on Aug. 2nd of last year. Before his death he deeded his ranch to Josiah Hargraves, who had lived with him for many years. Nothing is known here as to what had become of the Vallejo property. It is not included in the appraisement of the estate, the value of which the appraisers fixed at $1,249.75, consisting of personal property on the ranch.

In due time letters of administration were granted to Hargraves, who proceeded to administrate on the estate. The only heirs, as far as the administrator could learn, were the children of the Captain's deceased brother. It was thought that all would be smooth sailing, and there would not be any trouble in the distribution of the estate. But it now appears that there was an unknown chapter in the Captain's life, a chapter which he never revealed to his most intimate friends in Santa Cruz. Not even did he tell it to Judge Smith, who was Bachelder's attorney for years. The first inkling came in the nature of a dispatch to the Judge requesting him to delay further proceedings in the settling up of the estate. The reason for the request was apparent when the Judge received a letter from an attorney of Clinton Iowa, under date of Jan 27th. The letter stated that F.E. Bachelder of Clinton is the son of Captain Bachelder and did not learn of the latter's death until a few days prior to the date of the letter. The attorney is familiar with the proceedings in the matter of the estate, for he had learned that Hargraves had been appointed administrator. It is claimed by the attorney that F.E. Bachelder is the only heir, and arrangements will be made to prove him such. Delay in the distribution of the estate is requested until the son can be legally represented.

Judging from the tone of the letter another contest is in prospect. The fact that Bachelder had a son will come in the nature of a surprise to all who knew the deceased. When the son arrives the matrimonial chapter of the Captain's life before he came to California will be revealed.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (February 14, 1899)

The Bachelder Estate: Some Information Regarding the Claimant to the Property
He is a Resident of Clinton, Iowa and Stands Well Among His Acquaintances

Since the Sentinel published the story about the late Capt. J.A. Bachelder having a son in the East much interest has been awakened among the many people who were acquainted with the deceased regarding the son. The news that the Captain had a family in the East before coming to California came as a surprise for he had never revealed the fact to his best friends. F.E. Bachelder, the son, proposes to make a legal fight for the possession of the estate claiming to be the only heir. He has already engaged an attorney to attend to his interest. His first step has been to announce his appearance as claimant to the estate.

As to Fred C. Bachelder the Sentinel is enabled to tell who he is, the information coming from people who are well acquainted with him. For some years Mr. Bachelder was the city editor for the Daily News of Clinton, Iowa his present home, where he now holds a responsible clerical position in the office of the Chicago and Northwestern R.R. The reason he was not aware of the death of his father at an earlier date and why it was possible that the Captain's friends were not aware of the existence of the son is explained in the following:

It seems that directly after the war, Captain Bachelder and his wife did not live happily together. Their difference grew and in a short time they separated. The feeling between them it seems was very bitter. The son took the part of his mother and this resulted in a very bad feeling growing up between himself and his father. The mother lived with Fred until she died in Clinton some years ago. Fred visited his father in 1873 when he was engaged in lumbering near Santa Cruz. His father received him cordially, but at the same time the result of the visit was that it was understood between them that the estrangement would be permanent. From that time to the present there has been no communication between them. At intervals Fred had heard through some other member of the family some mention of the father but nothing direct.

There can be no possible question as to the correctness and genuiness of his claim. He is a man of very high standing in Clinton. He is a Knight Templar, Consistory Mason Shriner, and a member of the Knights of Pythias.

Fred was born in Boston Mass. Jan 1st 1846. He received a common school education at Boston and Oldtown Maine and also attended Norwich University at Norwich Vermont. He went with his father to the front in 1861, and was the latter's assistant after the war. In 1866 he settled in Maquoketa, Iowa where he learned the printers trade. In 1870 he moved to Clinton Iowa which has been his home ever since. In 1876 he opened a job printing office in Clinton which he disposed of in 1880. He went to the Black Hills for a few years. Returning to Clinton he entered the office of the Daily News as city editor which position he was forced to resign by reason of ill health. Fred has the family trait of a very prominent nose which all acquaintance of the Captain will remember was one of his special characteristics.

Captain Bachelder descended from a long line of old New England stock dating back to 1560. He was born in Gilmanton, N.H. Sept. 27th 1823, his father being Samuel Greely Bachelder, who married Lydia Perkins, a daughter of Lieutenant Jonathan Perkins of the Revolutionary war. Samuel G. and family moved to Penobscot Co. Maine, and finally settled on a farm at Pea Cove a few miles above Oldtown. Capt. Bachelder was the oldest of the family and went to Boston when a young man and entered into mechanical pursuits, learning the machinist's trade as well as that of mathematical and surgical instrument maker, including the manufacture of artificial limbs being in the employ of Dr. Phelps located on Tremont St.

He married in Boston Laura C. Merrill, daughter of Dr. A. Merrill the only issue of this union being Fred E. Bachelder.

Captain Bachelder finally engaged in the manufacture of piano hardware and extended his trade to all the manufacturers for pianos in Boston and vicinity. Owing to close confinement in the business he sold out and purchased a farm at Pea Grove Maine near his father's place, but did not remain there but a few years. From the farm he moved to Oldtown and engaged in the hotel business, running the Codman House at the lower end of the town until the Civil War broke out when he closed the house and in August 1861 entered the service as First Lieutenant of Co. C. Seventh Maine Volunteers, serving three years and then being mustered out. About 1862 he was promoted to Captain as various papers in possession of his son show.

After leaving the service he returned to Old town and engaged in the business of mill repairing and blacksmithy, running two shops and quite a force of employees, his son being his assistant and right hand man in the management of the business. After the close of the war, owing to the depression of business in all lines and disastrous fire that badly crippled his working facilities, he decided to change his location to California, which he did by making the move in 1866.

During the few latter years previous to his removal to California differences had sprung up between himself and wife, which resulted in an estrangement and a virtual agreement to disagree, he going to California alone and the wife to Iowa with the son.

In the summer of 1873 Fred visited the Captain at the Soquel Lumber Co. mill and received a very cordial entertainment at his hands and by Chas. Perkins Bachelder, his uncle.

Of the causes that led to the estrangement between husband and wife there were many and it is better at this late date when both have been judged before the last tribunal that the veil of charity and silence be thrown around the circumstance and errors of frail humanity passed into oblivion.

Of the large family of brothers and sisters of Capt. Bachelder numbering ten, only one is now alive, George A. of Oldtown, Maine who was the youngest son of the family and married Lucy Pratt, the only issue of this marriage living being one son Arthur. One of the sisters Mary J. now deceased married Chas. F. Shattuck. Two children survive her, Chas. A. and Celeste J, now Mrs. Harry Belk. Chas. A. is now living in California.

Santa Cruz Sentinel (April 17, 1900)

In the Supreme Court Monday, F. Bachelder was given the estate of John A. Bachelder. Relationship was proven by Mrs. McDonough who knew the deceased in the East. Bachelder left his family in Maine and came to California. Nothing was heard of him by the son until many years after the deceased located in this county. The appraised value of the estate which has been ordered given to F.E. Bachelder of Ottumwa, Iowa is $1,294.75

Editorial Notes from Robert L. Nelson

J.A. Bachelder was a native of New Hampshire and a veteran of the Civil War. His tombstone indicates that he was a member of Co. G. 1st ME Veteran Infantry, which was made up of Bachelder's initial unit, the 7th ME Infantry. As a member of that unit, Bachelder would have participated in the battles of Savage Station, White Oak Swamp, Malvern Hill, 2nd Bull Run, Antietam (Bloody Lane), Gettysburg, Spottsylvania (Bloody Angle), and Cold Harbor.

While in Santa Cruz he lived on Granite Creek for 25 years. Death certificate information indicates that he was a farmer by occupation. He died on Aug 2, 1898 of heart complications.

Date of Birth: 1823-09-27

Date of Death: 1898-08-02

County: Santa Cruz

Cemetery/City of Burial: Evergreen Cemetery

Mortuary: W&S

Cause of Death: Hrt/Related

Spouse: Merrill_ Laura C

Occupation: Farmer

Religion: Ep

Height: 5'8

Complexion: Dk

Eye Color: Gr

Hair Color: Br

Local Address: Granite Creek

Last City: Santa Cruz

Native of: NH

Father Native of: Samuel G (NH)

Mother Native of: Perkins_ Lydia (NH)

Enlisted: 1861/08/22

Discharged: 1864/08/21

Military Unit: ME_ 7 Inf_ Co C

Rank: Lt1

Military Notes: R-Oldtwn Regt QM 1863

GAR#: W32

Available records used to obtain information:
Cemetery records
Santa Cruz County death records
Military records
Santa Cruz and Monterey newspapers
Voter Records

CW Reference: WHL 1886 Roster

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Old Soldier: the story of the Grand Army of the Republic in Santa Cruz County. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2004.
Date: Undated
Coverage: Santa Cruz (County)
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson.
Identifier: OS-0035


Nelson, Robert L. “BACHELDER, JOHN ARTHUR (1823 - 1898).” Old Soldier: the story of the Grand Army of the Republic in Santa Cruz County. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2004. SCPL Local History. Accessed 23 Sep. 2019.