I discovered when researching the Hickman House in Bolivar that one of the family members had served, and sacrificed, during the Civil War. Needless to say, I wanted to learn more about this fallen hero’s story.
The Hickman family arrived in Ohio in 1844 when Daniel Hickman (1804-1886) and his family settled on land in Pike Township, Stark County that had been granted to Daniel’s father by the United States for his military service during the Revolution. The Hickman family was originally from Pennsylvania and all of the children were born there before the move to Ohio. Daniel had three children by his first wife, Rachel Nealin (c. 1805-1836), and three more by his second wife Sarah Black (1805-1875).
Daniel established his farm and agricultural pursuits on 83 acres of land located in the southwestern corner of Pike Township, nestled against the Tuscarawas County line. Daniel and his family were active in their church and he served in a number of official capacities in Pike Township, including as a township Trustee. The Hickman family, by the 1860s, included five surviving children and consisted of four sons and one daughter. The youngest child by Daniel’s first wife was named William Hickman (1835-1863).
William and his siblings spent their youth working on their parents’ farm in the years preceding the American Civil War. William was the first of his siblings to serve during the war, enlisting in Company D of the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The 107th was raised in the summer of 1862 and organized in September 1862 as a three-years regiment in the Union Army and recruits of the regiment were sent to Camp Cleveland to train. So many of the men in the regiment were German speakers that the unit was nicknamed the “German Regiment.”
William, perhaps due to the influence of his father, was promoted to the rank of Corporal in Company D. The regiment only trained for a few weeks before being sent to Covington, Kentucky, without muskets, to serve in the defense of Cincinnati. The regiment only stayed in the Cincinnati area for a short time before being shipped eastward to the defenses of Washington, DC. The 107th was assigned to the Army of the Potomac upon its arrival in the eastern theater and took posts in the defenses around the Union capital until early December 1862.
During the late fall of 1862 the Union Army planned an offensive against the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia that was intended to begin with the crossing of the Union Army at Fredericksburg, Virginia. When the campaign began with the Battle of Fredericksburg on December 11, 1862, the 107th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment was assigned to the army’s reserve force. After the Union’s defeat at Fredericksburg, the regiment took part in what became known as the “Mud March” of January 1862 before being stationed at Stafford Court House, Virginia.
Corporal Hickman, at some point during the miserable 1862-1863 winter campaign fell ill with one of the numerous diseases rampant among a 19th century army. He was transported to a Union hospital in Washington, DC where, on March 4, 1863, he succumbed to his illness. Corporal William Hickman’s body was returned Ohio and he was buried at the Fort Laurens Cemetery in Bolivar, Ohio.
© Noel B. Poirier, 2022.