Wednesday, May 13, 2015


The name Asa was popular in the Barrows branch of my family tree. I haven't done much
work on the collateral branches of that line but I already have four Asa Barrows in my
RootsMagic database. The first of them was my 4x great grandfather Asa Barrows, and
when his daughter Rachel married John Ellingwood, they named my 2x great grandfather Asa 
Freeman Ellingwood. A few years ago I blogged about Asa Ellingwood's Civil War experiences
but recently I discovered that his first cousin Asa Alden Barrows had also served in the Union
Army, as a member of the famous 20th Maine.

Much of what I know about this Asa Barrows is sketchy. From what I've been able to find
online at FamilySearch, he was born around 1822 in Phillips, Franklin, Maine to Caleb Benson
Barrows and his wife Abigail. (I haven't found her maiden name yet.) Sometime before1847
Asa married a Lucinda Bryan and they had three children. Asa and their children are listed
on the 1850 Federal Census for Linnaeus, Me., but Lucinda is not part of the household.
By the 1860 Federal Census the family had grown to seven children, Lucinda was part of the
household, and Asa was working as a farmer.

Then came the war. The following image is from the Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957
on FamilySearch:
From the Maine, State Archive Collections, 1718-1957 on FamilySearch

Asa enlisted on 21Jul 1862, then was mustered into Company H, 20th Maine Infantry on 29Aug
when the regiment was created. This document describes him as being 40 years old, standing 5' 8 1/4 ", with blue eyes, brown complexion, and brown hair. Remarkably, the regiment didn't see much heavy action until Gettysburg, on 2Jul 1863. It was in defending the Union position known as "Little Round Top" that the 20th Maine made its reputation after running low on ammunition while fighting the Confederate troops commanded by Gen. Hood. Instead of retreating, the 20th Maine charged
down the hill with fixed bayonets and broke the Confederate line. Historians credit that charge as
being the decisive moment in the Union victory at Gettysburg.

Asa survived the battle, but sometime shortly after that he fell ill. He was shipped north to
the Lovell General Hospital at Portsmouth Grove, Rhode Island. He was mustered out of the
service there on 19Jan 1864.

After that, information about him becomes even sketchier. Asa and Lucinda divorced in September
1868 and he later married a woman named Ava Davis. I found them on the 1880 Census living in
Lineeus, but Asa was working as a farm laborer. He no longer owned his own farm, perhaps
having left it to Lucinda and the children in the divorce. Some family trees say he moved to
Iowa but I have found nothing to verify that.

Asa died sometime before 1890 when I found Lucinda listed as his widow on the Special
Schedule of  Surviving Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and Surviving Widows living at Oakfield
Point, Maine. It states that the "Disabilities Incurred" in his service were "rheumatism and
heart trouble". I don't know if she were eligible for a widow's pension since she and Asa
had divorced. And what happened to Asa?  So far, I've been unable to find a record of Asa's

 From United States Census of Union Veterans and Widows of the Civil War, 1890 on FamilySearch

While Asa's life after the war seems rather melancholy, he had for a time been a member of
one of the most celebrated regiments of the Union Army, and was a survivor of one of the most
famous charges in American history.


Chris said...

According to the History of Paris, Caleb Benson Barrows' wife was his first cousin Abigail Barrows, daughter of Malachi.
Malachi Barrows lived in Paris in 1790, and bought land there in 1792 (see Cumberland County Deeds, book 20, page 252). The administrator of Malachi's estate sold his land on 25 Aug. 1802 (see Oxford County Deeds, book 2, page 243). Unfortunately, Paris was still part of Cumberland County when Malachi died, and that county's early probate records were long ago destroyed by fire.

Bill West said...

Thanks Cousin Chris!

Magda said...

These Civil War challenge blogs have been really interesting and educational for me.