Pvt., Sgt, Capt., Sheriff, Constable "Coon" Boon

This man is brother to the previous Boons I have storied. His grandmother was a Kimmel

Pvt., Sgt, Capt., Sheriff, Constable “Coon” Boon    

Cyrus Conrad "Coon" Boon was born 4 May 1846 at Big Hill Twp., Jackson
county, IL. He is a fascinating individual. He witnessed history at close range for almost a century. Apparently he liked to fight. He picked a cavalry unit that saw a lot of action. He was involved with military and veteran affairs for over 75 years. He was married 3 times. That should tell something right there. He made it unscathed through the Civil War, and an Indian war, but I find irony in the fact that he finally met his demise returning from attending the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg by falling off a train platform as he disembarked to visit relatives on his way back home.

“Coon” Boon enlisted with Company M of the 8th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry when 15 years of age. He was attached to the 15th army Corps, a unit of which captured Jeff Davis.  He was known as "Coon" Boon. His grandfather, Dr. Conrad WILL, pronounced his own name as "Coon-rod" (German pronunciation), and so "Coon-rod" BOON became shortened to "Coon" BOON. 


The regiment was commissioned on August 11, 1861 and was assembled for service on September 18, 1861 at the site donated by Colonel Farnsworth called Camp Kane.

The newly-organized 8th formed at St. Charles IL and camped at Camp Kane, but received its drill and training at Washington DC, leaving for the city on October 13.  Arriving on the 17th, the regiment camped at Meridian Hill, then went into camp near Alexandria VA on December 17th.  The unit’s Lt. Colonel, William Gamble, was largely responsible for training it. 

The regiment would participate in numerous battles and skirmishes throughout 1862, and captured the colors of the 12th Virginia Confederate Cavalry at Poolsville. 

During the war, the 8th Il Cavalry had been engaged in the Battles of Williamsburg, Fair Oaks, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Brandy Station, Gettysburg, Monocacy, Opequon, and actions at Williamsport, Boonsboro, Falling Waters, Chester Gap, Sandy Hook, Culpeper,  the raid to Falmouth, Raccoon, Ford, Liberty Mills, Mitchell Station, and Ely’s Ford. 

Battle of Gettysburg

At Gettysburg the 8th Illinois Cavalry was in Gen. John Buford’s Division. They deployed west of Gettysburg on June 30, 1863 under the command of Colonel William Gamble, and waited for oncoming Confederates. They arrived early the following morning. The first shot of the subsequent battle was fired by Lt. Jones of Company E, who borrowed a carbine from Corporal Levi Shafer and fired at an unidentified officer on a gray horse over a half-mile away. The 8th, along with the rest of the brigade, performed a fighting withdrawal towards McPherson’s Ridge, delaying the Confederate division of  Henry Heth for several hours and allowing the Union I Corps to arrive.
Two decades after the war ended, veterans of the regiment dedicated a monument to the 8th Illinois along the crest of McPherson's Ridge. Lt. Jones would also erect a monument in recognition of the first shot he fired on the location of the shot next to the Whistler's home just east of Marsh Creek on the Chambersburg Pike. The stone was quarried from Naperville limestone; Naperville was the hometown of Levi Shafer, the trooper whose carbine he borrowed to take the first shot.

The 8th Regiment Illinois Volunteer Cavalry regiment served the duration of the war, and was the only cavalry regiment to serve the entire war in the Army of the Potomac. They also aided in the hunt for John Wilkes Booth and served as President Lincoln's honor guard while he lay in state under the rotunda. Lincoln gave them the nickname of "Farnsworth's Abolitionist Regiment" when he watched them march past the White House.

It has been said that no higher honor can be bestowed on a regiment than compliments from the enemy. Some years after the war, John Stewart Bryan asked his grandfather, "Was it true that the Yankees were cowards who ran at the sight of the Confederates?" The elder Bryan, who was a member of Mosby's Rangers, replied, "Son, no one who ever fought against the 8th Illinois Cavalry could have such an imbecile idea as that." In his memoirs, Colonel Mosby, himself, called the 8th Illinois "the best cavalry regiment in the Army of the Potomac."

After the war, Coon moved to the Northwest with his family, eventually settling in Oregon. During the Bannock Indian War (1877-1878) Cyrus Conrad Boon was Captain of the Fairview Rangers, serving under General Howard and Colonel Whipple. Note: the Bannock War was the last "Indian uprising" of the Northwest. Possibly one- or two-hundred Indians of the Bannock Tribe were killed as a result of a dispute in which two cattlemen were shot and wounded for grazing on the Camas Prairie, which the Bannock tribe believed to be theirs by treaty. Camas root was the Indians food source; the livestock had eaten them. This action by the white men contributed to the starving conditions of the Indians, and most likely convinced them to die fighting instead.

General George Crook, a contemporary United States military officer, commented that
"...it was no surprise...that some of the Indian soon afterward broke out into hostilities, and the great wonder is that so many remained on the reservation. With the Bannocks and Shoshone, our Indian policy has resolved itself into a question of war path or starvation, and being merely human, many of them will always choose the former alternative when death shall at least be glorious."

He was a resident of Umatilla and Morrow Counties in Oregon for fifty-five years. He farmed in Umatilla County and for a time worked on the East Oregonian at Pendleton for C. S. Jackson. Between 1897 and 1924 he was engaged in wheat farming. He served several terms as Sheriff of Umatilla County.
He was the last surviving member of Kit Carson Post, G. A. R. (Grand Army of the Republic - a Civil War Veterans organization) of Milton, Oregon, where he homesteaded in the pioneer era, building the town's third house on a site now occupied by a railroad depot. Coon attended the Gettysburg Reunion that marked the seventy-fifth anniversary of the battle. He also attended the National Camp at New Orleans.
He died after visiting Jackson County, IL. He had returned to Illinois to visit family and fell when getting off the train and broke his hip. "Coon" Boon died in Portland. Possibly, he may have gone to Ava while on his way home from a Civil War reunion in Gettysburg, PA (75th anniversary).

Excerpt from [unknown] Newspaper Obit

C.C. Boon --- A lineal descendant of the noted Daniel Boone, whose courage and native daring he seems to have in a degree inherited, the subject of this article has the splendid distinction of being on of the boys who wore the blue as well as a veteran of the celebrated Joseph war. The same courage and love of the contest which induced him to twice don military apparel has characterized him in the battles of civil life, making him a useful member of a pioneer community. It is therefore but fitting that in a work of this character due recognition and representation should be accorded him.
Mr. Boon is a native of Illinois, born May 4, 1846. He acquired his education in the public schools of his native state. Hardly had he laid his books aside when he felt it incumbent upon hom to offer his services to the cause of national union, and accordingly, on February 16, 1865, he enlisted in the 8th Illinois Cavalry. From that date until the last disloyal gun had been silenced he followed the fortunes of war, participating in numerous battles in Mississippi and Alabama and discharging his every duty with such faithfulness that he won an appointment as a non-commissioned officer. In 1867, he set out on the long journey across the prairie and over the mountain chains to the Pacific slope. On November 24th he came to a halt at the place now occupied by the town of Milton, and he was one of those who afterward platted and named that town. He took a homestead in the vicinity and for many years divided his energies between farming and carpentering, serving one time also as constable of the town. In 1880 he moved to Adams, and two years later he took has abode in Lexington, where he has ever since lived, engaged for the most part in farming and gardening. Besides his property in the town, he is the owner of a quarter section six miles north. He is quite active in the political affairs of his locality and county, and for the past sixteen years has himself discharged the duties of constable and deputy sheriff.
For some years he was a sergeant in the national guards of Oregon, and as above intimated, he served under General Howard in the war with the Indians in the vicintiy of the town of Pendleton. Fraternally he is affiliated with Rawlins Post, No. 31 Grand Army of the Republic.
Mr. Boon has been thrice married.

Compiled by L. L. Kimmel [3rd cousin] 4May2011



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