12th LOGO


Submitted by Denny Garretson, great-great grandson.

William H. (Billy) Garretson, Reverend - Died in the Battle of Piedmont near Staunton, Va. Was a member of the 12th Virginia Regiment, Co G. He is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave in the Shenendoah Valley.

Marry Elizabeth (Gourley) was bourn in Loudoun, County, Virginia on May 18, 1824. Her parents were Abel and Elizabeth (Richards) Gourley. She was the fifth child of 17 children.

She married William H. Garretson, native of Loudin County, Virginia in May of 1846. He was born on Ocbober 17, 1823. Mr. and Mrs. Garretson moved to Harrison County, West Virginia the same year they were married. They lived about four years at Bridgeport, West Virginia. They then moved to Shinnston. Mrs. Garretson was converted during a Methodist revival held at Saltwell church near Shinnston about the year 1857.

By trade, William H. Garretson was a carpenter and millwright. He followed this trade with splendid success. Judd, age 3, died from diptheria. The father went to the woods and cut down a walnut tree. He fashioned a coffin out of the trunk to buy his little son. Whe he arrived back, Thomas, age 5, had died. He again made another coffin. His son, James, related in later years that he never had tonsils because diptheria had eaten them. His life had been spared.

William enlisted in Co. G. 12th West Virginia Infantry in August, 1862. During his two years' service, he had ample opportunity to witness the horrors and dangers of warfare. It was far more noticeable in the Battle of the Piedmont, one of the most desperate encounters of the entire war. Mr. Garretson was killed in the hard fought battle on June 5, 1864. He was the fourth flag bearer killed in that battle. He fell pierced by a rebel bullet after he had planted the colors within the rebel fort. His last words were, "The flag is in the fort, boys!" He was a loyal and brave man.

In October, 1864, with a spirit no less heroic than that shown on the battlefield by the husband and father, Mrs. Garretson undertook the care and training of her six little children alone. She left the south and came ot Illinois settling in Esmen Township, Livingston County, on a farm which her brother owned. At first she was assisted by her father, who also made his home with them. Finally, as the children grew older, she was gradually relieved of many responsibilities. They made thier home on a rented farm in Grundy County for six years. They then moved to a ninety-eight acre farm that her son James bought in Amity Township, section 13.

During her 35 years of widowhood she was always happy. Her son, James, made several trips back to West Virginia to find his father's grave but to no avail. There is a tombstone for both the father and mother in the Cornell Cemetery, but only her body is interred there. She died June 16, 1899.

They were the parents of eight children: Alford, Mary Ellen (Cummins), Susan Ann (Brown), Thomas, Judd, James, Fannie (Chamberlin), and George.