Posted tagged ‘LaFayette Congdon’

Pittsford Cemetery Civil War Tour

May 16, 2009
Sergeant John Buckley Bacon, 4th Wisconsin Cavalry

Sergeant John Buckley Bacon, 4th Wisconsin Cavalry

Thank you to everyone who attended our first Civil War Soldiers of Pittsford tour at Pittsford Cemetery this morning! It was an indescribable feeling for me to be able to illuminate the stories of these soldiers, many of which have never been told before.

We began the tour with LaFayette Congdon, then discussed Major Harvey E. Light and his brother-in-law  Theodore Shepard.  After moving down the hill, the Ambrose boys – Robert, Richard, Frederick and Edward – were next, the highlight being Richard’s stint in the Dry Tortugas.  Heading back up the incline, we stopped by the grave of Matthew P. Ewing, founder of the Vacuum Oil Company which many years later morphed into Exxon-Mobil.  James R. Chamberlin, owner of Chamberlin Rubber Company, was our next soldier, followed by John B. Bacon of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.  From JB Bacon, we headed east to Nathan and William Cook to discuss their heartbreaking stories.  George B. Wiltsie was mentioned after the Cook boys.  Charles Tillotson and his death at Antietam came next.  From there, we continued heading east, past the grave of Matthias L. Lord, assistant surgeon of the 140th NY, and on to Kingsley Brownell.  Our tour concluded with John H. Thurmon, the Confederate soldier from Missouri.  Sadly, we were not able to visit the graves of Frank D. Tibbitts or Jeffrey N. Birdsall, as planned, due to the rain.

I really appreciate the fact that so many of you stayed out in the rain to hear the stories of these men’s lives.  Your questions and comments made the experience fun for the entire group.  Your feedback is greatly appreciated!  Please feel free to leave a comment or email me directly at

Check back here in the future for information about upcoming cemetery tours and presentations highlighting more of Pittsford’s hometown heroes!

During the tour we briefly discussed Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was sentenced to imprisonment at Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas for his alleged part in the Lincoln conspiracy.  The name of the movie starring Dennis Weaver is The Ordeal of Dr. Mudd, which was a TV movie from 1980.  The DVD is not available through Blockbuster or through the Monroe County library system, but it is listed for sale on

Hero Highlight – LaFayette Congdon, Co. K, 21st NY Cavalry

March 12, 2009
LaFayette Congdon

LaFayette Congdon

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.  My thanks to Sean for the information.  Cheers!

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