Hero Highlight – LaFayette Congdon, Co. K, 21st NY Cavalry
Our first Hero Highlight illuminates LaFayette Congdon. LaFayette was born in Chautauqua County, NY, the only child of Phineas and Julia Congdon. By the time LaFayette was 15 years old, he had already lived in the New York communities of Ellington, Marion, Springwater and Rochester. This early travel probably allowed LaFayette to adapt quickly to his constantly changing surroundings during his later life as a minister.
At nearly nineteen years of age, LaFayette joined Co. K of the 21st NY Cavalry. He served as a company clerk in Elmira, NY. Although he did not go into battle, his time in the military affected his health. Suffering from dietary issues in his later years was attributed to the common soldier meals of hard tack and coffee that he had partaken of during the War. LaFayette was mustered out in 1865 and began his post-war life as a minister.
Between the years of 1864-1902, LaFayette ministered to churches in twenty towns. It was not uncommon for a minister in those days to be assigned a new church every two to four years. During that time, LaFayette met and fell in love with Frances Kingsley, a beautiful young woman from a prestigious family in Pittsford, New York. They married in 1871 and Frances gave birth to eight children, five of whom lived to adulthood. By all accounts, LaFayette and Frances had a happy family life until he died in 1927 at age 81. Frances followed in death four years later.
LaFayette will be discussed in more detail during my Civil War Soldiers tour at Pittsford Cemetery on May 16th.
Additional information on LaFayette and Frances is available on the blog of his descendant, Sean Rockwell Ryan. http://congdonfamilies.blogspot.com/. My thanks to Sean for the information. Cheers!