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From: "Jane/Wayne" <>
Subject: [CAVE] Thomas J. Cave, IN
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 22:54:19 -0700
Orange County Obituaries

Springs Valley Herald (November 28, 1940) Obtuary

Thomas J. CAVE, son of John and Sarah Kearby Cave, was born in Dubois
County, Indiana, September 11, 1844. John Cave was born in Spartanburg
County, South Carolina. Thomas Jefferson Cave, the father of John, came to
Indiana in 1816 and entered land in Dubois County, along what was then known
as the Buffalo Trail and which is now known as State Road 56. A few miles
from where his father located John Cave and Sarah Kearby founded a home in
Into this home Thomas as born and lived as a boy in a family of seven
children, he being the youngest. His opportunities for an education were
limited and the first schools which he attended were subscription schools
and of short duration. On the farm he learned some valuable lessons in the
school of experience, amid the primitive surroundings of the pioneer life of
that day. At the age of thirteen he was bereft of his father and from that
time, he was thrown largely upon his own resources.
Some years later his mother was married to Matthew Kirkland. In this home
were seven stepbrothers and sisters, among them was Mary Christina, who
later became his wife. At the age of sixteen, he answered the call of
President Abraham Lincoln to defend his country's flag and enlisted in the
18th Indiana Infantry where he served more than four years, until the
disbanding of the Union Army. During the first three years of the war he was
under the command of General U. S. Grant of the Western Division of the
Army. He survived many conflicts in Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee,
Mississippi, Louisiana and other states which included Champion Hills, Black
River and many others, culminating in the siege of Vicksburg which ended
July 4, 1863.
After this his regiment saw active service in Georgia and the southeastern
states and was later transferred to the Eastern Division of the Army under
the command of General Phil Sheridan. This campaign was also noted for many
severe conflicts. He was in the battle of Cedar Creek, Virginia, when
Sheridan made his famous ride from "Winchester Twenty Miles Away" and turned
the fleeing Union forces back to a victorious ending. In this battle his
oldest brother, William W. Cave, was wounded from which he died later in a
hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He sustained another severe loss in this
struggle, a member of his company and boyhood friend, was reported missing
and was never heard from after that battle.
After he was mustered out of service at Darien, Georgia, he arrived home in
September, 1865, a few days before reaching his twenty-first birthday. Soon
after his return from the army he became engaged in farming. On February 17,
1867 he was married to Mary C. Kirkland. This marriage was severed by the
death of his companion, after a life of almost 71 years together, on
Christmas Day, 1937. To this union four children were born, one son and
three daughters, three of whom survive him. Stella went to her crowning in
He moved to Orange County in February, 1873 to land that is now a part of
the Country Club Golf Course. He retired in 1913 and moved to French Lick
where he resided until his passing, with a continuous life in this community
for almost three score and ten years. For many years in connection with his
farming interest, he was engaged in various other enterprises, which
included saw milling, grist mill, also the practice of law. He was the
oldest member of the Orange County Bar. He became well known as an
auctioneer which line he followed for many years. On account of his varied
activities, he formed a wide acquaintance and perhaps in his active life
knew as many people as any one of his day within his county and those
adjoining. The lack of educational opportunities in early life did not
deprive him of acquiring knowledge. He was an inveterate reader and became
well informed on current topics and all matters of general civic interest.
He possessed an engaging personality and easily made acquaintances. He had a
natural bent toward politics and was notable among those of his acquaintance
as unwavering in his convictions. He was positive and unyielding in what he
believed to be right. This attitude was accentuated, no doubt in large
measure, to his Civil War experience and the years of Reconstruction, which
followed. In his religious beliefs, he was likewise positive and
uncompromising. In his early life he united with the United Brethren Church
at Hillham, Indiana and several years ago his membership was transferred to
the French Lick Methodist Church where he was faithful in support and in
attendance until his hearing became impaired. His varied experiences in life
made him an interesting and entertaining conversationalist, and his
reminiscences were many and quite vivid. His life extended from the days
when men and women wore homespun into a new day of rapidly changing scenes
and events. Through it all he never lost interest in life about him and in
the world, this interest, remaining with him until just a few days before
his going.
A number of years ago, he became the sole survivor of the local Basil B.
Decker Post of the Grand Army of the Republic and later he became the lone
survivor of his regiment of the Civil War. His death takes from Orange
County its last soldier of that great struggle. He lived a long and active
life and fell asleep November 18, 1940 with a span of life covering 96
years, two months and seven days.
The three surviving children are W. W. Cave, Mrs. Belle Wells and Mrs. Isis
Hill, all of French Lick, also seven grandchildren and three great
grandchildren. Besides these, a large number of other relatives with an
almost unnumbered list of friends and acquaintances, all of whom will miss
him greatly. Submitted by Tom Agan.

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