Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Meet Pvt. Cornelius Quinn – Part 2

By the early 1930s, Cornelius Quinn was one of a handful of surviving Grand Army of the Republic veterans in Lorain.

On Memorial Day 1933, that number had dwindled down to three: Mr. Quinn, August Baldwin and Stephan Harris. At the ceremonies that year in Washington Park, the three surviving Union army soldiers occupied seats of honor.

From May 24, 1934 Lorain Journal
Only Quinn and Harris were still alive in 1934. The two were once again the guests of honor, riding in the parade and given special seats on the speaker’s stand.

In one article with the headline, “LORAIN HONORS LAST TWO OF BOYS IN BLUE,” the Lorain Journal of May 31, 1934 reported, “A hush fell on the crowd when the aged veterans, last of the city’s “Boys in Blue,” were introduced by Shaw and assisted to the edge of the platform where they acknowledged the well wishes of their fellow citizens. Year by year the “thin blue line” has grown thinner. Another year, perhaps two, will find the last of them gone to join their comrades “over there.”

In 1935, under the headline, “G.A.R. Vets Missing at Memorial Day Exercises,” the Lorain Journal reported that Lorain’s two surviving Civil War veterans “were both ill at their homes and unable to take part in the parade and the ceremonies at Washington park.” The paper also noted, “Absence of Civil War veterans from the observance was keenly felt. A hush settled over the audience that gathered at  Washington park when W. T. Shaw, general chairman of the Memorial Day committee and parade marshal, told the gathering that the veterans of the Civil War were not present.”

In 1936, Cornelius Quinn didn’t have to wait until Memorial Day to be featured in the newspaper. He made the paper in March with the unusual story below that ran in the Lorain Journal on March 27.

Dogs That ‘Sing’ Yankee Doodle Pets 
of Lorain Civil War Veteran, 92

When Cornelius Quinn, 92, Civil War veteran of 114 E. 20th-st. wants to hear the tune “Yankee Doodle” he doesn’t have to leave his easy chair or listen to himself hum it.

He just calls into the room his two dogs and they howl it.

In this unique way Quinn, one of two living veterans who fought for the abolition of slavery, brings back to his memory those days when he marched with Sherman to the sea.

Today, tho Quinn enjoys fair health, his lungs are not as strong as they were in his fighting days – but his dogs carry on.

The two dogs are a mother and her daughter, the mother a fox terrier and the daughter a mixture of poodle and fox terrier, but mostly poodle.

They learned the tune from the father of the younger dog, a poodle who died of old age about a year ago. Before his death he started the tune and the other two joined him, but now either Quinn or his wife has to get them started on their duet.

In Mrs. Quinn’s bedroom is a small twin brass bed in which the two dogs sleep at night. It is equipped with a mattress and she is now making a comfort for it.

Next: A 1936 interview with Mr. Quinn and Mr. Harris

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