Biography - Anthony Calihan

ANTHONY CALIHAN, a well-known and honored resident of Montgomery County, was born in the city of New York in 1841, of Irish parents, both of whom died when he was small. They came to this country from the land of their birth, the Isle of Erin, but were not here long enough to gain a foothold on the ladder of success, and when death called them hence they left their son without means and at the mercy of a cold world. He was separated from a brother at this time and has never seen or heard of him since. Anthony was very young at that time, and hardly knows what became of himself for some time thereafter, but supposes that he was consigned to the care of a poor-house or some charitable institution in that great city. He soon found himself bound out to one Thomas Wolston, a New Jersey farmer, and there he grew to mature years without the thoughtful and loving care of a mother or the wise counsels of a father. He received little or no education, and while his foster parents were kind to him, it was not the kindness born of love. They well knew the warm blood in the veins of the Irish lad, and policy had much to do with the kindness that was accorded him.
When the great Civil War came, the blood in the Irish boy began to tell and he asked the consent of Mr. Wolston to enlist in the Union service, but permission was refused, as the time for which he had been bound out had not yet expired. This only added fuel to the flames of his determination to enlist, and when President Lincoln made his second call for troops young Anthony took French leave of his foster-parents and on the 12th of August, 1861, his name could be found on the rolls of Company B. Thirty-fifth Illinois Infantry. He enlisted from Montgomery County, to which place they had moved in 1858 or 1859. His command followed Price through Missouri, and he was a participant in the battle of Pea Ridge, which was his first general engagement. For some time afterward he was in Missouri and Arkansas, and made a forced march from Batesville to Cape Girardeau, a distance of two hundred and forty miles, in nine days en route to Pittsburgh Landing, he was in the siege of Corinth, Miss., and during his life as a soldier performed many acts of bravery, and was in all the hard marches and battles, including the bloody battles of Stone River and Tullahoma, in which his regiment participated. We next find him on the bloody battlefield of Chickamauga, where in the first day's fight, September 19, 1862, he was felled by a rebel bullet and as he lay bleeding and stunned he was taken prisoner.
Behind the walls of Libby Prison, Mr. Calihan was confined for seventeen months, during which time he suffered the tortures, privations and slow starvation for which Southern prisoners were noted. He was at Danville and also in that foul pen, Andersonville, but the greater period of his incarceration was spent in Libby. A volume could be filled with his reminiscences of prison life, and the sufferings that were crowded into those months of captivity were more than sufficient for a lifetime.
When he was finally released in the spring of 1865, he was little more than a living skeleton, covered with a few rags that took the place of clothing, and with all his teeth gone from the effects of scurvy. Upon receiving his discharge on the 22nd of April, 1865, he returned to Montgomery County, and as soon as he was able he engaged in farming, to which occupation his attention has since been devoted. In 1868, he was united in marriage with Miss Lucy Kellogg, a native of this country, and a daughter of Alfred Kellogg, a prominent old settler. .Soon after his marriage he located on the farm on which he is now residing in Audubon Township.
Mr. Calihan has been the soul of honor in his business transactions, has carried himself in an upright manner throughout life, and as a result he has numerous friends and very few, if any, enemies. To himself and wife five children have been born r two of whom died when small. The others are Laura, wife of Charles Nevlin, a business man of Alton, Ill.; Mary, who resides in Nokomis; and Roy, a bright boy of seven years. In politics Mr. Calihan is a hearty and most earnest supporter of Republican principles. He is a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, belonging to the Post at Nokomis, in which he has served as S. V., J. V., and in other minor offices.

Extracted 04 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 238-239.

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