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Col. John B. Geddis Biography


This biography is from "Memorial and biographical record; an illustrated compendium of biography, containing a compendium of local biography, including biographical sketches of prominent old settlers and representative citizens of South Dakota..." Published by G. A. Ogle & Co., Chicago, 1899. Page 234

COL. JOHN B. GEDDIS, one of the bravest men who fought for his country's cause, and whose name stands among the foremost leaders on the field of battle, is of Scotch and Holland-Dutch descent. His grandfather was born in Edinboro, Scotland. Our subject was born in Luzerne county, Pennsylvania, April 10, 1838, the fifth of a family of eight children, seven of whom were boys. The parents were Samuel and Elizabeth (Edwards) Geddis, and but three of their children are now living. Mr. Geddis resides in Huron. South Dakota. 

Our subject assisted on his father's farm until he attained the age of seventeen years, when he engaged in the harness trade at Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania, which trade he followed until July 8, 1862, at which time he entered the army, and after the close of the war was in the United States mail service as postal clerk, running from Chicago to Cincinnati. After three years service he went to Belvidere, Illinois, afterward going to De Kalb county. In 1882 he located in Beadle county, South Dakota, taking government land in Dearborn town-ship, where he followed farming and sheep raising for fifteen years, success attending his efforts. III health caused him to retire from business life and he now lives in Huron, where he erected a cottage home on Illinois street in 1898. He is surrounded by the comforts of life and enjoys his well earned success. Our subject was married in Illinois, in 1869, to Miss Mary Powell. Their home was brightened by the birth of one daughter, Georgie, now Mrs. C. C. Issenhuth, residing in Alpena, South Dakota, - where her husband is a merchant. Mr. Geddis is a member and organizer of the South Dakota Sheep Breeders and Wool -Growers' Association, and 
has been its president four years. In political views he is a Republican, favors high license, and equal suffrage. 

July 8, 1862, Mr. Geddis enlisted as a private soldier in Company D, One Hundred and Twenty-sixth New York State Infantry. A man of commanding presence, a pleasing personality, a born soldier and leader, his advance was rapid. Immediately upon enlisting he was chosen orderly sergeant, and the regiment was engaged at Harper's Ferry, captured, paroled, and sent to Camp Douglas, to await exchange. In November, 1862, our subject was made second lieutenant. The regiment was exchanged in December, and actions as follows ensued: Gettysburg, at which place, for an act of bravery in charging a position held by sharpshooters, our subject was tendered a medal of honor by the state of New York. Then followed Bristow Station, after which, on November 26, 1863, our subject was commissioned first lieutenant; Wilderness, Po River, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, Deep Bottom, after which our subject was made captain of his company, March 29, 1864. At Boyden Plank Roads he was wounded in the right hand, while commanding as lieutenant-colonel, to which position he was promoted June 17, 1864. After this he was tendered the rank of major by brevet in the United States Army, his commission reading "for gallantry and skill in handling his regiment in the engagement near the Boyden Plank Road, Virginia. " Signed (Andrew Johnson). Our subject retains a letter of transmittal from Governor R. E. Fenton, of New York, containing a few words of thanks in behalf of the state. He was mustered out at Elmira, New York, June 16, 1865. He is a member of the G. A. R., and commander of Kilpatrick Post, No. 4, of Huron.