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2 Sons of Dr. David Sackett on Rival Sides in Civil War
2 Sons of Dr. David Sackett on Rival Sides in Civil War
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The story of Dr. David L. Sackett, pioneer Wayne county physician, dealt with in a previous article, told an interesting tale of early life in the settlement which grew into Richmond.


No less colorful are the histories of his descendants. Two of his sons served in the Union army and one with the Confederate forces.


Alexander Sackett, born in 1820, went to Iowa at an early date and engaged in farming. When more than 40 years old, he enlisted in an Iowa regiment, leaving behind his wife and six children. He was captured and after spending several months in Andersonville prison, was exchanged and started home on a furlough. He was a passenger on the ill-fated steamer, Sultana, which was destroyed when its boilers exploded, and he perished along with hundreds of other Union soldiers. His body was never found.


Dr. Sackett's youngest son, Cyrus Oran, enlisted in Company A, 17th regiment. Indiana Volunteers, and served as musician and headquarters clerk. A niece, Mrs. Albert Foster of Richmond, owns a silver fife that was presented to him by his company.


Trained at Centerville


He learned the printer's trade at Centerville, and after the war, "held cases" on The Indianapolis Journal for many years.


James Millikin Sackett, born in 1817, went to Memphis, Tenn., while still a young man. Here he engaged in mercantile business and married a daughter of a prominent family, who inherited several slaves. A few years prior to the Civil war, Mrs. Sackett made an extended visit to her husband's family at Centerville, bringing with her three children and two slave girls to look after them.


There was strong antislavety sentiment in Centerville at this time, and the presence of the two bond-women made something of a sensation, but there was no attempt to liberate them as they apparently were well satisfied with their lot.


Refused To Move


When the war broke out, Dr. Sackett who was a staunch Unionist, tried to persuade his son to bring his family to Centerville and to enlist in the Union army. The latter refused, saying that all his business interests and those of his wife’s family were in the south and that he would cast his lot with the secessionists.


He served with the South until the end of the war. Several of his grandchildren are still living in Memphis.


Samuel Sackett, named for his grandfather, was a storekeeper in Centerville more than a century ago, and for a time was a partner of Meyer Seaton, later postmaster. He moved from Centerville to La Porte and went from there to Iowa.


During the pioneer period in Indiana, the making of hats was one of the leading industries, and every town had one or more shops where hats were made by hand from wool, rabbit, muskrat, beaver, and other furs. Centerville had four of these shops, and in one of them Oliver P. Morton, Indiana's famous war governor, learned the hatter's trade.


The largest of these shops was in a brick building on the south side of Main street, just west of Mayor Gay's tavern. It was kept by Solomon Kuhn and Matthew Jack. Solomon Kuhn married Gulielma, daughter of Dr, Sackett, and another daughter, Elizabeth Ann, became the wife of Matthew Jack. The brick house on Walnut street, home of Mrs. Lizzie Wolfe, was built by Dr. Sackett as a wedding present for Mrs. Jack.


Martha Marilla, another daughter of Dr. Sackett, born in 1825, was married to William Jefferson Medearis, a harness maker, who later lived at Williamsburg and at Richmond. Oscar Medearis was the youngest of five sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Medearis. They were the parents of four daughters. Besides Oscar, there were Fletcher, Charles William, and Oran B. The daughters were Alice, Kathryn (Mrs. Tom Myers), Margaret (wife of Dr. Study), and Carrie (wife of Dr. Blair).


A son of Oscar Medearis is Leo J. Medearis, proprietor of the Medearis paint store in this city: and a daughter is Miss Iva Manila Medearis, who is associated with her brother in the paint store. Leo Medearis has a daughter, Mrs, Paul Ellison, also of Richmond.


Theodore "Pop" Myers, general manager of the Indianapolis speedway, is a grandson of William Jefferson Medearis.


Martha Ellen Sackett


Martha Ellen Sackett, a daughter of Dr. David L. Sackett, was married to Calvin Conner, a carpenter and bridge builder who later moved to Galveston, Ind. He built most of the bridges on the Richmond & Logansport railroad. The late Frank Conner, Richmond attorney, was a son of tins couple, and Mrs. Albert Foster is a daughter. Two other daughters, Mrs. Shaffer, resided at Logansport.


The small hatter shops having been crowded off the map by machine hat factories of the East, Kuhn & Jack closed their shop at Centerville, and the Jacks moved to Chicago. Mr. and Mrs. Kuhn purchased a farm north of the present site of Irvington in the early Sixties, and it was not long after this that Dr. and Mrs. Sackett joined them.


It was here at the ripe age of 85 years that the long, rich, and useful life of Dr. Sackett came to an end. His body lies in a small cemetery near the eastern limits of Indianapolis, that beautiful and rapidly-growing city, which had not been even thought of, when he came to Indiana territory to do his inconsiderable bit in the development of a great commonwealth. 

 

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