John M. Kefover, Co. G, 11th Pennsylvania Reserves

Written by Descendant, Scot Novak

John Morgan Kefover was born in Woodside, Fayette County, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1843, to parents Thomas and Sarah Harrison Kefover. He was the the eldest son and second child in the family of six which included his sisters Isabelle, Anna, Ophelia, and his brothers Pierce and Plummer. Morgan worked the family farm with his father. The farm was in close proximity to the farm where his great-grandfather Jacob (Kefauver) Kefover settled in the 1780’s from Frederick Maryland.

On June 24, 1861, one week after his eighteenth birthday, he enlisted at Uniontown, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, as a Private in Company G, 11th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps (40th Pennsylvania Infantry). After a year of service with the Union Army he was captured at the Battle of Gaines Mill, Virginia. He was taken to Richmond where he spent his nineteenth birthday confined in prison. After two months in Richmond he was paroled at Aikens Landing, Virginia on August 5, 1862. After having returned to his regiment for less than two weeks, Morgan was wounded at the 2nd Battle of Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. A bullet struck his right hand, tearing away his middle finger. Morgan was treated at a Convalescent Camp in Alexandria, Virginia where he was hospitalized for 61 days. On November 13, 1862 he was discharged from the army due to his disability.

Returning to his family in Pennsylvania he continued to work with his father on the farm for a little over a year. Becoming discontented he followed his uncle, James Kefover, to Muscatine Iowa, a place where many of his aunts, uncles, and cousins also settled. In Iowa for only a short time, he enlisted as a Private in Company B, 6th Iowa Calvary. Un able to handle a saber or rifle due to his previous injury, he worked in the chow hall. He served in the Dakota Territories until his discharge on October 17, 1865 in Sioux City, Iowa.

John Morgan Kefover married Laura Melissa Steffy on August 28, 1866 in Wilton Junction, Muscatine, Iowa. The couple had five children, Anna, Allie, Plummer, Myrtle, and John Morgan Jr.

Morgan applied for and received a pension on November 9, 1869 for which he received $3.00 a month. He died of consumption at age 34 on November 17, 1877, just two days before his son John Morgan Jr. was born.

Scott Novak
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