Day 8 of the 11-day Military Challenge
Edward McMahon was born about 1837 in Clare, Ireland. He traveled to Canada with his parents and seven siblings at the tail-end of the potato famine.
Upon arriving in Canada their mother Margaret McNamara died and the family temporary lived in Sherbrooke, Quebec where they are recorded on the 1852 census. While in Sherbrooke they lost another family member, 8-year-old Matilda McMahon. The McMahons family split up after that, brother Michael settled in Windham, Norfolk Co., Ontario, Edward went to the US and Cornelius, the father and it is thought the rest of the siblings went to Normanby, Grey Co., Ontario.
Edward joined the army and was with the 10th Regiment of the US Infantry and took part of the Utah Expedition. He served with them from 1855-1860 and joined up again to fight in the US Civil War. Edward was a member of 72nd Ohio Volunteer Unit, K Company and attained the rank of Captain. His pension file also reveals that on June 9, 1862 he was sent out to Memphis under the command of General Stergis and was taken prisoner by the Confederates near Oklahoma. He was taken to Andersonville Prison and upon the discovery that he was a Commisioned Officer was sent to Macon, Georgia, then to Charleston and lastly to Columbus, S.C. It was when he was a prisoner at Columbus that he made his escape after being a Confederate prisoner for 6 months.
Edward’s account of his escape –
whence I finally made my escape by passing the sentries upon a dark night I escaped from Columbus in the month of November 1864 and arriving the Blue Ridge Mountains into North Carolina and entered the Union lines near Knoxville East Tennessee on or about Christmas 1864
During all this time nearly two months I was nearly naked and without shoes or proper food and having to travel at night and lie hidden during the day exposed to snow and rain and frost…
Edward thankfully survived and the accounting of his experience was recorded when he was applying for a pension.
Edward married in New Orleans to Bridget Maroney / Mahoney on March 28, 1867 and eventually, they made their way back to Canada, settling at Normanby Twp. Edward was a farmer in Normanby and he and his wife had 7 children.
It took quite a bit of effort for Edward to receive his pension, he ended up having to travel back to Ohio and track down fellow soldiers who gave affidavits for his application.
Edward died at his daughter’s home in Lockport, New York on June 20, 1920. His body was returned to Normanby to be buried by his wife in St. Peter’s Catholic Cemetery in Ayton, Ontario.
Featured Image of Andersonville Prison from Wikimedia Commons