Asa Anthony (1862/01/01)
A trek across the plains to a new life in sunny California ended in a cold damp army dispensary for Asa Anthony.
Asa Anthony was born May 22, 1842, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to George and Hannah Anthony. No information is available regarding his early youth. In 1850 George Anthony took his family on an overland trek by wagon to join his brother, Elihu, in Santa Cruz, California. Upon his arrival he found work as a tanner; however, Asa chose to go into farming. On Sundays, Asa regularly attended the First Methodist Church where his uncle served as pastor. Later Asa became active in the Santa Cruz Order of Good Templars, a prohibitionist society.
On September 22, 1861, Asa Anthony enlisted in Company L of the 2nd California Cavalry being formed in Santa Cruz. At the time of his enlistment he was described as being five feet nine inches in height, of a light complexion and with dark hair and dark eyes. Anthony soon earned the respect of his fellow enlistees and prior to the unit's departure from Santa Cruz, was elected as their 4th Corporal. On September 27 Asa and the other local recruits marched to the wharf in Santa Cruz, took the steamer Salinas to San Francisco and made their way to Camp Alert located near what is today 25th and Folsom Streets.
The winter of 1862 was one of the coldest, wettest winters in California history and resulted in countless deaths. Attempts were made at Camp Alert to keep men warm and dry by building platforms on which their tents were erected. During this period Asa probably contracted influenza, pneumonia or dysentery, all of which were prevalent in the camp. After becoming ill, Anthony's condition continued to deteriorate and during the last week of December 1861, his condition became critical. During New Years Eve of 1861-62, the young soldier's strength gave out. His body was returned to Santa Cruz for a funeral on January 4, 1862, and burial in Evergreen Cemetery.
(CMWR, Pg. 286; MAHL; SCSn January 2, 1862, January 9, 1862)