This fallen hero straddled the Tuscarawas and Guernsey County line during the first half of the 19th century. He left his wife and children in 1840, determined to continue a family tradition of military service. His campaigning took him to Florida and Mexico and, while he survived his military service, he never returned home to his family in Ohio.
The great grandfather of John H. Weedon (1809-1847) was General George Weedon (1734-1793), who served with George Washington as commander of a Virginia brigade during the American Revolution. One of George’s sons, Thomas Weedon (1757-1826), served as an officer in the Maryland Line during the Revolutionary War. The tradition of military service continued when Alfred P. Weedon (1782-1847), John’s father, served during the War of 1812. Following the war, both Thomas and Alfred P. Weedon chose to move to Ohio.
John grew up on his father’s farm in Kirkwood Township, Belmont County and, along the way, learned the hatting trade. John determined to move to Guernsey County where he set up shop in the small community of Kimbolton. His trade found him travelling frequently into the small communities of southern Tuscarawas and northern Guernsey Counties. Along the way he eventually met Sarah Schuyhart (1813-1894) and the couple were married in Guernsey County in the spring of 1832. John and Sarah welcomed four children into their household between 1833 and 1847; two sons and two daughters.
Why John H. Weedon decided, at the age of 31 and with four children and a wife at home, to enlist in the United States Army is unknown but on December 12, 1840 he enlisted in Company A, 4th Regiment United States Infantry. At the time of his enlistment, the 4th Regiment was on active duty in Florida fighting in the Second Seminole War. John joined the unit there and took part in the regiment’s activities in Florida over the next two years. Following the completion of their service in Florida, the 4th Regiment was sent to the relative comfort of Jefferson Barracks along the Mississippi River in Missouri. It is interesting to note that another Ohioan, a newly-minted officer named Ulysses S. Grant, was also serving in the 4th Infantry Regiment at Jefferson Barracks.
After two years of training and duty at Jefferson Barracks, the 4th Regiment was sent in 1844 to the western border of Louisiana. Tensions were building with Mexico and came to a head with the killings of American soldiers by Mexican raiders. The 4th Regiment was assigned to General Zachary Taylor’s Army of Observation and shipped to Corpus Christi, Texas. John H. Weedon’s enlistment expired while he was stationed in Texas and, in November 1845, he reenlisted and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant. Letters written by Sergeant Weedon to his wife back in Ohio make clear that, for the duration of his service, he was sending much of his pay back to Ohio for the support of his family.
The 4th Infantry Regiment took an active role in the United States Army’s campaigns in Mexico, taking part in the battles of Palo Alto, De La Palra, and Monterey and the advance from Vera Cruz to Mexico City. During the early fall of 1847 the United States Army, now under the command of General Winfield Scott, fought a series of battles on the outskirts of Mexico City. The Battle of Molino Del Ray, fought on the 8 September 1847, was the bloodiest engagement of the campaign. During the battle, Sergeant John H. Weedon was wounded when he lost some of the fingers of his right hand to a Mexican bullet. Sergeant Weedon wrote his wife from Mexico City that he was “happy to say that I shall return to the United States as soon as my wound is sufficiently healed as to permit of my traveling over the long route between this place and Vera Cruz with safety.”
It is not known when Sergeant Weedon began his long trip home to Ohio, or what happened to him after this last letter to his wife, but he never made it home to his family. When, where and how he died remains a mystery. His wife ultimately remarried and her several attempts to obtain a pension for her late husband’s service were rejected, likely due to a lack of information about what had actually happened to her husband. Sergeant John H. Weedon followed in the footsteps of his ancestors when he decided to serve. That service took him thousands of miles from his family and home, never to return.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.