ABRAHAM JAY BUCKLES
If the scars of battle in the defense of his country’s flag, if bravery, suffering, and devotion in the service of his country are the highest honors in this land of the free, then the subject of our sketch has enough of glory and distinction to satisfy the highest ambition. He was born in Indiana in 1846, and when the War of the Rebellion broke out in 1861, he being then under fifteen years of age, enlisted as a private in Company E, 19th Regiment Indiana Volunteer Infantry, to serve three years, or during the war.
Early in the war his regiment became a part of what was afterward the famous “Old Iron Brigade,” composed of the 19th Indiana, 2d, 6th, and 7th Wisconsin, and later the 24th Michigan. He participated in sixteen battles, in four of which he was severely wounded, as follows; August, 1862, Gainseville and second Bull Run, in right thigh. At Gettysburg, July, 1863, he rescued the flag of his regiment after the color-bearer had been wounded, thereby becoming color-bearer himself; but later in the fight, during a terrible charge of the enemy, he was shot through the right shoulder, disabling him to such an extent that he was barely able to save himself from capture. At the great battle of the Wilderness, May, 1864, while carrying the flag he received a wound through the body, which the surgeon upon examining declared was mortal, and when the order came to remove the wounded to Fredericksburg during Grant’s flank movement on Lee’s forces, it was at first determined to leave him behind because of the next to impossibility of his recovery; but the officer in charge being a personal acquaintance was finally induced to remove him.
After having recovered so that he could do light duty, he returned to his regiment, then in front of Petersburg, and was soon thereafter commissioned a second lieutenant. On March 25, 1865, just fourteen days before Lee’s surrender, while in charge of a portion of the skirmish line on Hatcher’s Run, he received a shot from a rebel sharpshooter through the right leg, which caused its amputation near the body.
After the war closed he returned to Indiana, and as soon as his wound was sufficiently healed started to school, which he attended for nine months, and then engaged in teaching a primary school, read law, worked at whatever he could get to do, and in 1875 came to California, settling at Dixon in Solano county, where he commenced the practice of his profession. He was elected District Attorney of Solano county in 1879, and reelected in 1882.
In 1884 he was elected Judge of the Superior Court of his county, a position which he now holds, and we are informed is likely to hold as long as he may desire to do so. He is among the most able and popular Superior Judges of this State, being a man of sterling integrity, learning in the law, and a mind exactly fitted for a judicial station. He became a member of Suisun Lodge, No. 111, at its institution in 1884, and has been a member of the Grand Lodge ever since the session in 1885 at Los Angeles.
At the session held in San Francisco in 1886 he was elected Grand Prelate, at Santa Rosa in 1887 Grand Vice-Chancellor, and at San Francisco, 1888, was unanimously elected Grand Chancellor, a position he has filled with great credit to himself and honor and advantage to the order. During his term as Grand Chancellor he visited all save fourteen of the Lodges in the State, and has done much to advance the cause of Pythian Knighthood in California.
Judge Buckles is also an Odd Fellow, a member of the A. O. U. W. and Druids, and a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is very popular among his comrades, and it is confidently expected that he will be elected Department Commander. As a patriot, soldier, and judicial officer he has made a grand record, and higher honors will be tendered him.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: “Illustrated Fraternal Directory Including Educational Institutions on the Pacific Coast”, Page 225, Publ. Bancroft Co., San Francisco. Cal. 1889.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.