"As some ships come into home port with tattered sails and battered
hulls bearing the scars of a hundred conflicts with gales and raging
waters, but with colors still flying, so do some souls drop anchor in the
haven of eternal peace after a life of hardships and adversities nobly met,
bravely fought, honorably conquered. One such as these laid down his
arms when William Thomas Luttrell answered the final summons at his home two miles south of Franklin, Saturday, May 18, 1912, at 1 o'clock P. M., aged 80 years, 4 months and 28 days."
These lines were written at the death of a well known Morgan County Civil War veteran. William Thomas Luttrell was born December 20, 1831 near Franklin, Illinois. He was the eldest of 8 children born to John Rutherford and Margaret Alice (Duncan) Luttrell, namely: William Thomas; Hiram J.; Martha Jane, who married James M. Wyatt; James Madison; Isaac Newton; Sarah, who died in infancy; Tabitha Ellen, who married Atherton Van Winkle and after his death, James H. Hamilton; and John Weller Luttrell.
. . .Richard Luttrell married Nancy Rains, granddaughter of John Jones, a Revolutionary soldier. Richard and Nancy were parents of: Thomas, Lott, Joshua E., Daniel, Sarah, Nanny, Liza, Susan, Caleb and one other child.
Thomas Luttrell, son of Richard and Nancy (Rains) Luttrell, was born in 1784. On April 9, 1808 in Adair County, Kentucky he was married to Tabitha, daughter of John Rutherford. She was born December 10, 1791 and died October 25, 1872 and is buried at Union Church cemetery, Pisgah, Illinois. After the death of Thomas Luttrell she married Frances Petree. His first wife was Sarah, sister to Thomas Luttrell. Thomas and Tabitha Luttrell were the parents of: John Rutherford; Hiram; Nancy A., who married Col. Richard Nelson (an early settler of Waverly); and Armstrong Luttrell.
Thomas Luttrell served in the War of 1812 in the 7th Regt of the Kentucky Militia. He also served in the Black Hawk and Winnebago Wars. In 1822 Thomas Luttrell left the knob country south of the Green River in Kentucky and drove his covered wagon to Illinois. He pitched his tent at Apple Creek and entered land. He erected a grist mill on Apple Creek that was opereated by water power. The mill was the meeting place of the early settlers. He acted as judge in Apple Creek precinct at the first election held in Morgan county. He died in 1841 and is buried at what is now known as the "Old Pisgah Cemetery".
William Thomas Luttrell, grandson of this Morgan County pioneer, grew up among the hardy surroundings of pioneer days and developed a strong constitution. When the Civil War came on it is related in family annals that he returned home one day and said in substance: "Mother, I love you dearly and my gray headed old father, but my country calls and I must go." On August 9, 1862 he enlisted as a corporal in Co. H, 101st Illinois Infantry, formed at Franklin, and started to the front under Captain Joab M. Fanning.
While the regiment was training at Cairo he was elected second lieutenant of his company and later promoted to first lieut. During the war he was in many bloody engagements, and always conducted himself as a brave and gallant soldier.
He was among those who had the honor of running blockade at Vicksburg, being assigned to the gunboat, Lafayette. While doing service on it as a sharpshooter in an engagement with Confederate batteries below th city he was slightly wounded by a flying splinter caused by a shell which had exploded near him.
He participated in the operations before Nashville and Chattanooga, the relief of Knoxville, and Sherman's March to the Sea, taking part in the battles at Peach Tree Creek, Resaca, Kenesaw Mountain and many others. Before he was mustered out at Washington on June 7, 1865, he had the final honor of commanding his company when thousands of battle scarred veterans marched in the grand review before President Abraham Lincoln.
Returning home he engaged in farming. He was married by Robert Clark to Miss Mary F. Burnett on December 2, 1869. She died February 14, 1870 and is buried at Franklin, Illinois. Seven years later, on February 20, 1877, he was married by Rev. Newton Cloud to Mrs. Eliza A. (Wright) Williams. She was born January 10, 1846 and died June 8, 1928 and is buried at Franklin. Mr. Luttrell did not have any children by either marriage.
Mr. Luttrell was an active member of the Franklin Christian Church and gave of his time and money to the work of the church. He was a Republican and was well posted on political and public affairs. It is said that he "read with and thought with intelligence, and whose natural charm was displayed in conversation with those who were entertained in his home, where like a diamond in the rough, he shone with a brilliancy that never dimmed."
His mother died in 1884 and his father in 1900. They are buried at Franklin. He was also preceded in death by his sister, Sarah, and brothers Hiram, James M., and Isaac Newton. Death called William Thomas Luttrell May 18, 1912.
Six old veterans, some of whom served with Mr. Luttrell in the Civil War, acted as honorary pallbearers. These were John Wesley Luttrell and John M. Criswell, of Waverly; Alex Whitlock, J. S. Dougherty, Hardin G. Keplinger and John P. Seymour of Franklin. Mr. Luttrell was buried at the Franklin cememtery. A remarkable thing in his career is that he was born, lived and died on the same farm, and that it was always his home except during his service in the Civil War.