John Jesse Merrill, Co. D, 7th Pennsylvania Reserves

Exact newspaper source unknown, but probably from Milton, Pennsylvania.

General Jesse Merrill.

Jesse Merrill

General John Jesse Merrill died at his home in Lock Haven on Saturday night last, of paralysis.  General Merrill was born in New Berlin and was a son of the late James Merrill and was sixty five years old.  He studied law with Hon. W. C. Lawson of Milton and located to Lock Haven.  During the Civil War he enlisted as a member of Company D, Seventh Pennsylvania Reserves, and was detailed for duty in the signal corps.  In 1862 he organized the signal service army of Ohio, of which he took command shortly after.  He also served on the staffs of Generals Buell, Rosecrans and Thomas.  In 1871 he was appointed by Governor Geary Major General of the National Guard of Pennsylvania.  While serving in the latter position he had charge of the Eleventh Division, which he called out to quell the Williamsport riots in 1872.

He was married in 1866 to Miss Julia Duncan McCleery, sister of Col. John P. McCleery.  Mrs. Merrill died about five years ago.  The deceased enjoyed a large practice in Clinton county, and was at one time postmaster of Lock Haven.  He was buried at Milton on Tuesday.


General Jesse Merrill was born in New Berlin, Union county. Pa., March 28th, 1836. He is a son of James Merrill, who was a prominent
lawyer of Union county, and a member of the Pennsylvania constitutional convention of 1838. The subject of this sketch attended the public schools of New Berlin until he reached his sixteenth year. He then spent one year at the Tuscarora academy, in Juniata county. Pa., after which he began teaching school, and followed the profession for about four years. He then began the study of law with his brother at New Berlin. The following year he entered the law office of Lawson & Brown, at Milton, Pa., where he remained at his studies until 1869, when he was admitted to practice law in the courts of Northumberland county, Pa. He shortly afterwards came to Lock Haven, where he has remained ever since. General Merrill enlisted in Company D, Pennsylvania Volunteers, in the spring of 1861, and received a commission as second lieutenant. In the fall of the same year he was detailed for duty in the signal service corps. When the signal corps was organized as a separate branch of the service, he was transferred from his company with the rank of captain. In January, 1863, he was appointed to organize the signal service in the army of the Ohio, and he took command the following spring. By virtue of his position as signal officer. Captain Merrill was on the staff of Generals Buell, Rosecrans and Thomas, as they in succession commanded the army of the Ohio, which afterwards became the army of the Cumberland. In the fall of 1864 he went East on a sick leave, and was soon after assigned to duties in the army of the Potomac and James, and later to the department at the South, where he had his headquarters at Hilton Head, South Carolina. Here he remained until mustered out of service, in October, 1865. It was at this time that he was brevetted major by President Johnson for long, faithful and meritorious services. He returned to Lock Haven in November, 1865, and resumed the practice of law. In April, 1871, he was appointed major-general of the National Guard of Pennsylvania by Governor Geary. It was during his term as commander that the 11th Division was called out to quell the riot at Williamsport. In 1880 General Merrill received the Republican nomination for assembly, but was defeated by S. Woods Caldwell, the Democratic nominee.1

John Jesse Merrill (1838-1899) Find a Grave Memorial

City Letter Carrier at USPS | | Website | + posts

Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.

  1. Past & Present of Clinton County, J. Milton Furey, Lock Haven, Pa. Williamsport, PA; Pennsylvania Grit Printing House, 1892, p197-8.