While scanning the markers in Greenlawn Cemetery in Portsmouth – I observed a simple marker that read “Samuel Beatty – Brig. Gen. 19 Regt Ohio Infantry – Civil War – Jan 28 1832 ~ July 22 1910. The grave located in section 9 and not an imposing marker by any means; as one would expect for a man who had been a Brigadier General. In the Find a Grave web site – was found an obituary that revealed in part that, “Samuel Beatty died at the home of his sister, Mrs. Rowe at Jackson, where he had gone for a month’s visit. He suffered a stroke about two weeks before his death. He was 78 when he died. He had a number of jobs, and was a day policeman under the Milstead administration, one of the most efficient and popular officers ever on the force. He was a splendid man, according to his obituary, honest as the day is long and was always willing to lend a helping hand to a friend or needy stranger. He had many fine traits characteristic of the old timers and was highly respected and esteemed by a legion of friends who will learn of his demise with a feeling of genuine sorrow. He married Miss Lydia Bradshaw, who died in 1896. All four of their children preceded him in death. He was survived by two brothers, Richard of Jackson and Albert of Illinois, besides an only sister, Mrs. Howe (or Rowe) at whose home he passed away. The late Capt. Lee Beatty of Portsmouth was a brother. Other relatives in this city who survived him are Andrew and Harry Foster, nephews, and Mrs. John Rodgers and Miss Mary Fulwiler, nieces, and a grandson, Charles Fulwiler. His remains were brought to Portsmouth on the B. & O. and he was taken by train to Greenlawn where brief services were held, followed by his burial.”
Who was Samuel Beatty? According to his obituary he was a day policeman and a prominent citizen. Application for headstone revealed that he was born in Portsmouth, Ohio and he enlisted in 19th Regiment Ohio Infantry, August 12, 1862 and subsequently commissioned Colonel and then appointed Brigadier General on December 16, 1862. He was honorably discharged on April 2, 1863. General Beatty served with honor and distinction and was a boon to the Portsmouth community. He would have participated in one of the major battles of the war, the Battle of Shiloh. In the battle, repealing momentum is a crucial element that is essential for success, whether on a football field or a field of battle. Often, however, those involved in these critical moments do not realize their own significance. On April 9, 1862, the Nineteenth Ohio Infantry submitted a report which detailed the actions of the regiment during the Battle of Shiloh two days earlier. The 19th regiment of volunteers had crossed the Tennessee River at midnight the previous night, after the surprise Confederate attack on 6 April had nearly overwhelmed Grant’s force at Pittsburg Landing. Beatty’s regiment was a part of Major General Buell’s force, which provided major reinforcements for General Grant’s dilapidated army and helped turn the tide of battle during the second day into a clear Union victory.
The Jackson Standard was published in Jackson, the seat of Jackson County, Ohio. It was so published on May 4, 1901, that Mr. Samuel Beatty was a guest of his brother, Street Commissioner Richard Beatty, during part of last week. As to his serving as day policeman – On November 23, 1895, The Portsmouth Times, reported “the bond of Samuel Beatty … in the amount of $300, with C.S. Cadot and J.B. Gilson sureties, was approved. The schedule of $519 was allowed: also $9.00 on overdrawn sewer fund. This obviously was for the continuance of service to the community.
This story has no significance except a bit of insight into an obscure grave marker in a cemetery that time has forgot. Of a man that lived and breathed and contributed to the making of this city called Portsmouth. When you next visit a cemetery – remember that all that are interred there have a story. There is more to Brigadier General Samuel Beatty’s life story for certain – but think of him as one of the countless, that embodies the American sprit with gallantry and patriotism. All you have to do is examine your own family history, to see what makes America great!
Reach Bob Boldman at [email protected]