Thompson Huey Kress
(a.k.a. Edward Fowler)
According to an affidavit signed by Samuel Kimble on May 25, 1904, Edward Fowler married Samuel's sister, Delilah Jane Kimble on November 22, 1860 in Goatsville, Fayette County, Ohio. Samuel attested to having accompanied Ed to Washington Court House to secure the marriage license and acting as witness at the marriage.
First settled in 1832 in Green Township, Fayette County, Ohio, Goatsville was later known as Moons, and by 1867 was officially known, as it is today, as Buena Vista.
The settlement was originally called "Goatsville," the name arising from the following circumstance: Simpson was a member of the German Baptist Society, which was usually known by the cognomen of "Dunkards." Preachers and members of this organization were in the habit of stopping at his house, and as they allowed their hair and beards to grow quite long, it was considered that they bore a striking resemblance to the animal after which the settlement was named. 1
Delilah Jane (b. April 12, 1842) was the third daughter of a family of six children born to Squire Kimble (b. 1804, d. 1892) and Margaret Hulse Kimble (b. 1821, d. 1889). At the time of the 1860 census, the family was living in Green Township, Fayette County, Ohio; post office Moons.
On January 6, 1862, in response to President Lincoln's request for troops, Edward Fowler enrolled as a Sergeant in Captain Willard's Company (Company H) 60th Ohio Volunteer Infantry to serve one year. He was 33 years old.
The 60th Ohio departed Gallipolis, Ohio on April 21st and by June 1st had joined General Fremont's army trying to chase Stonewall Jackson out of the Shenandoah Valley.
By late July, 1862, Stonewall Jackson's forces were menacing Winchester, Virginia, shortly after the 60th Ohio had helped move a large quantity of Government stores from Middletown to Front Royal.
This is to certify that Sergt. Edward Fowler of Company H 60th Ohio Reg. did serve as Scout in arduous and dangerous duties under my direction by order Genl Julius White Comd Post at Winchester Va for fifteen days from Aug 18th 1862 to Sept. 2nd 1862
Camp Tyler Chicago Ill. E.S. Stowell
Oct. 30th 1862 Major JA Oakey
On August 29, 1862, Federal forces attacked General T. J. "Stonewall" Jackson's troops, beginning the Second Battle of Bull Run (Second Manassas), which ended in a rout of Union Forces. On September 2, 1862 (the day Edward Fowler's scouting mission ended), General Pope's army left Winchester, Virginia and began the march to Harper's Ferry. The 60th Ohio led the column on the night march from Winchester, reaching Harpers Ferry on September 3rd. It is possible that Edward Fowler's scouting mission had to do with preliminaries to the Second Battle of Bull Run or provided information to General Pope that lead to the move from Winchester to Harpers Ferry.
The vise gradually closed on the Federal forces at Harpers Ferry, and on Monday. September 15, 1862, the 60th Ohio, under the command of Col. Trimble, became part of the 12,000 Federal troops to surrender Harpers Ferry to General Stonewall Jackson's Confederate forces.
The captured troops were immediately paroled and the next day began the overland march to Annapolis, Maryland. There they boarded a train and traveled to Camp Douglas at Chicago, Illinois. Because the enlistment of the 60th Ohio was about to expire, the Army bureaucrats didn't know what to do with them. But finally, on November 10, 1862, they were discharged and sent home.
To All whom it may concern:
Know ye, That Edward Fowler a Sergeant of Captain M. Willard's Company, Sixtieth Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry who was enrolled on the 6th day of January, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty Two to serve One Year is hereby Discharged from the service of the United States this Tenth day of November 1862, at Camp Douglas Chicago Ill by reason of Expiration of Term of Service.
(No objection to his being re-enlisted is known to exist.)*
Said Edward Fowler was born in New York City in the state of New York, is Thirty years of age, Five feet 5½ inches high, Fair complexion, Blue eyes, Auburn hair and by occupation was enrolled a farmer.
Given at Camp Douglas Chicago Ill this Tenth day of November 1862
E.S. Young Lt. Comdg. Co. H 60th O.V.I
* This sentence will be erased should there be any thing in the conduct
or physical condition of the soldier rendering him unfit for the Army.
By November of 1862, Ed and Delilah had a daughter, Catherine "Kit," who was about a year old. Ed returned to his farm in southern Ohio.
In a letter written September 17, 1897, he writes:
In June, 1863, General John Hunt Morgan crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky into Indiana. This was the beginning of "Morgan's Raid" that would take him into Ohio and ultimately lead to his capture. As the raid progressed from Indiana into Ohio, panic spread among the citizenry. On July 13, 1863 Ohio Governor David Tod called for volunteers to join the Ohio Militia to help defend the state against Morgan's raiders.
"(I) was taken prisoner at the surender at Harpesferry was paroled and sent to camp Douglas Chicago until we were discharged. Our Regiment being a one year Reg. our time was out or nearly so when we were discharged.
I returned back to Ohio thinking some of reinlisting but a short time after that Morgan making his raid threw , and I liveing on that Raid was burnt out and lost everything I had, and about that time I received a commission from Governor Todd of Ohio to raise a company of men forthwith, and I raised 80 men in side of three days to help capture Morgan, and we captured him."
In the Name and by the Authority of the State of Ohio
On the reverse side of this commission:
David Tod, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of said State
To Edward Fowler, Greeting:It appearing to me that the Fourth day of July 1863, you were duly elected First Lieutenant of Co. "A" 37th Battalion O.M. in Fayette Co.
Know you that by the powers vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of said State, and reposing special trust and confidence in your patriotism, valor, fidelity and ability, I do by these presents COMMISSION you as First Lieutenant as aforesaid for a term of Five Years, unless sooner discharged, upon condition that you uniform within the time limited by law and take the oath, or affirmation, endorsed hereon, within ten days from the receipt hereof, sending a certificated thereof to General Head Quarters; and I do hereby authorize and require you to discharge, all and singular, the duties and services appertaining to your said office, agreeably to law and general regulations, and to obey such orders and instructions as you shall, from time to time, receive from your superior officers.
Given under my hand at Columbus, Ohio, this Fourteenth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in the eighty-eighth year of the Independence of the United States. (S) David Tod
BY THE GOVERNOR (S) WM Armstrong, Secretary of State
Recorded, Volume _____ Page _____
Adjutant General's Office July 20th 1863
(S) Robert Hunee Adjutant General of Ohio
I, Edward Fowler do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will dutifully support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Ohio, and will discharge, all and singular, the duties and services appertaining to the aforesaid office, agreeably to law and general regulations, and will obey such orders and instructions as I shall, from time to time, receive from the proper officers.
(S) Edward Fowler
Before me, empowered to administer the foregoing oath or affirmation, personally appeared the above Edward Fowler and made the oath, or affirmation above written, and signed the same in my presence.
August 12 A.D. 1863 (S) James W. Burton, JP
But it was all a lie! Edward Fowler was in fact Thompson Huey Kress!
The oldest son of James L. Kress (b. Feb. 24, 1804, d. May 8, 1883) and Mary Poly Hulse (b. Oct. 9, 1809, d. Feb. 6, 1886), Thompson H. Kress was born August 29, 1829 in Yates County, New York.
By 1837, James Kress and his family were living in what would later be called Liberty Township, Jackson County, Michigan.
On November 12, 1847, Thompson Huey Kress enlisted as a private in Company B, First Michigan Volunteer Infantry for service in the Mexican War. He was 18 years of age.
Private Thompson H. Kress was mustered out July 26, 1848 at Detroit, MI. Nothing is known of the ensuing years, but by 1859 he was working in New Orleans. As a farm kid from Michigan, one has to wonder how and why he gravitated to New Orleans. It is speculated that his passage up and down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to and from his service in Mexico gave him exposure to life on the river.
It was in late 1859 that Thompson Kress disappeared.
Following is an excerpt from a letter written September 17, 1897 to the Federal Bureau of Pensions in which he was trying to explain his dual identity so he could collect his Civil War Pension. In it he explains why he enlisted in the Civil War under an assumed name:
"The cause of my assuming a different name was I lived in New Orleans in the South seven years previous to the war, and it was a perfect hot bed for any Union man to live in at that time and at the time of the Execution of old John Brown at Harpisferry, and the burning of his body in Oferigy on the streets of New Orleans. (See Editor Note 1 below) One night at there display of John Browns body, I made some remark and got into difficulty with some men, & I was shot at three times and was stuck with a knife, but I defended myself and I suposed at the time that I had killed three men, and I cut my way out of the crowd, and escapted to a friend's in the North and I lay secrated fourteen days, then I changed my name, and worked my name (way??) out of the country to the north, and left all my money and effects in New Orleans, and I lost it all. (See Editor Note 2 below.)
I arrived at Ohio a Northern state and there went to work.
At the first call of President Lincoln made for trupes, and I inlisted under the name that I used when I left New Orleans. Just before I inlisted I had a letter from my friend in N.O. saying there was a reward of $250 offord for me, and I thought if I inlisted under my right name that I might be recognized by taken a prisoner or something of that sort, . . . (I) was taken prisoner at the surender at Harpesferry was paroled and sent to camp Douglas Chicago until we were discharged. Our Regiment being a one year Reg. our time was out or nearly so when we were discharged.
I returned back to Ohio thinking some of reinlisting but a short time after that Morgan making his raid threw, and I liveing on that Raid was burnt out and lost everything I had, and about that time I received a commission from Governor Todd of Ohio to raise a company of men forthwith, and I raised 80 men in side of three days to help capture Morgan, and we captured him."
Editor Note 1: John Brown was hanged December 2, 1859.
Editor Note 2: It is believed that among the items lost when he fled New Orleans was his Mexican War Discharge, a complication which, in later years, made it difficult for him to collect his Mexican War pension.
One of the mysteries of this story is why Ed Fowler went to southern Ohio when he "took it on the lam" from New Orleans. Was it because his work on the riverboats made him familiar with the region? Or was it because he had a girlfriend there? He left New Orleans in December of 1959 or early 1860, and he married Delilah Kimble in Goatsville less than a year later. Did he know her earlier? Was she distantly related to him? His (Thompson Kress') mother's name was Mary Poly Hulse Kress. Delilah's mother's name was Margaret Hulse Kimble. Thus far, no relationship between these two mothers has been established.
There is no doubt as to the authenticity of Edward Fowler's Ohio Militia Commission papers. But there is no record in the Ohio Archives of Edward Fowler's service as a First Lieutenant, Company A, 37th Battalion, Ohio Militia in Fayette County. There was no 37th Battalion in the Ohio Militia, from Fayette County or anywhere else. That number was skipped. But in the panic, confusion, and chaos caused by Morgan's Raid in southern Ohio in July 1863, it is not surprising that the Battalion was either never officially formed, or only operated for a very short time.
Sometime around 1866, something happened that gave Ed Fowler to believe that “the coast was clear”. The census of 1870 finds the Thompson and Delilah Kress family living Sumner Twp., Gratiot County, Michigan; Post Office: Alma. His second daughter, 4 year old Margarette, was listed as having been born in Michigan.
The affidavit mentioned at the beginning of this article, written by his brother-in-law, Samuel Kimble, was intended to help Thompson Kress establish his identity and to help prove that Edward Fowler and Thompson Kress were one and the same person and that Thompson Kress was entitled to the Civil War Pension of Edward Fowler.
Thompson and Delilah Kress had a family of ten children. There were five girls and five boys.
Katheryn/Catherine I. "Kit" Kress, (b. 1861 in Ohio)
Margaret/Margrette E. Kress, (b. 1864 in Michigan)
Rose L. Kress, (b. 1868 in Michigan)
Isaac R. Kress, (b 1869, in Michigan, probably died young)
Florence “Flora” Kress, (b. 1870 in Michigan)
Newton “Newt” Kress, (b. 1872 in Michigan)
Charles Edward “Ed” Kress, (b. 1875, in Michigan, d. 1964)
George Kress (b. 1877 d. Lake George, MI)
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Kress, (b. 1881, in Michigan, d. 1970)
Harry Garwood Kress, (b. Aug. 26, 1884 Lake George, MI, d. Dec. 11, 1973)
Thompson Huey Kress, (a.k.a. Edward Fowler) died February 25, 1906 at the age of 76 in Lake George, Clare County, Michigan. Delilah Jane Kress died February 6, 1907 at the age of 65 in the same town. They are buried side by side in the Surrey Township Cemetery, Farwell, Clare County, Michigan.
1Dills, R. S.History of Fayette County. Dayton, Ohio: Odell & Mayer Publishers, 1881, pages 769-770.
A special thanks to Tom and Linda Byington McAllister for writing this biography. Thompson Huey Kress was Linda's great grandfather.
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Created: 31 Jan 2006
Copyright © 2001-2007, Jennifer Volker