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CALLAWAY'S OBITUARY -
STARS AND STRIPES DRAPES THE CASKET-
81ST INDIANA PRESENTATION SWORD
RESTS ON "OLD GLORY" AT THE FUNERAL
Another one of the great men of Montana and Madison County, Colonel James E. Callaway, about eight o'clock Monday morning, August 21, 1905, answered the last summons and passed peacefully to the great beyond. Death came without any warning and was due to heart failure. He had been in poor health for a few days with stomach trouble. He arose at the usual hour, Monday morning, and ate a light breakfast and while at the table discussed some legal matters that he was going to attend to during the forenoon. He arose from the table, took a few steps, and fell over on the couch. Dr. Bradley was immediately summoned, but was powerless to restore the heart action. Soon the news of Colonel Callaway's death spread over the city and all expressed regrets.
Colonel James Edmund Callaway was born July 7, 1834 in Trigg County Kentucky, and was therefore a little over 71 years of age. His father, Samuel T. Callaway, also a native of that state, was an active physician until his health broke down. He then became a clergyman of the Christian Church and, in 1848, moved to Illinois, where he continued in the ministry until his death. Col. Callaway was educated in the public schools of Kentucky and Illinois and Eureka (Ill.) College. At an early age he entered the law office of Richard Yates, war governor of Illinois, and under that eminent jurist he continued his reading until admitted to the practice of law. After a short residence in Jacksonville he located in Tuscola.
In 1861 the attack on Fort Sumter led him to offer his services in defense of the Union. A public meeting was held in his town, Tuscola, Ill., on April 17, 1861, and within an hour a company was organized and young Mr. Callaway was chosen captain and within two hours later was on the way to the state capital to tender its services to the government. The company was mustered into state service by U. S. Grant, May 9, 1861, and into the United States service in June 1861, as Company D, Twenty-first Illinois Volunteers.
During the progress of the Civil War Captain Callaway's service was noted for its bravery and courageous conduct. By his efficient service and the careful and painstaking manner in which he handled his soldiers he was promoted to Colonel.
At the [Battle of Chickamauga], [Major] Callaway had command of the Eighty-first Indiana in addition to his own regiment. The record of the Eighty-first Indiana was so excellent [under his] command that it received special mention from headquarters and the [men] of the regiment later presented him with a beautifully mounted sword, which has hung in his dining room at home for many years. After the Battle of [Stones] River General Rosecrans organized a light brigade in each division from officers and men distinguished for bravery and soldierly qualities. Their names were placed on the "roll of honor." Colonel Callaway's name was on the roll, and he was made commander of one of these brigades. Of the 300 regiments of the Union Army officially mentioned as having rendered distinguished services, his regiment, the Twenty-first Illinois, holds first rank on the "roll of honor."
At the close of the war he resigned with a colonel's commission and was honorably discharged. The government, in recognition of arduous duties rendered and disabilities incurred in the line of duty, placed his name on its pension roll.
Col. Callaway returned to Illinois and resumed the practice of law, served in the state legislature and won prestige at the bar until 1871, when President Grant appointed him secretary of the territory of Montana. In this important office he served six years with credit to himself, benefit to the territory and the satisfaction of the people. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1884 and also that of 1880 which formulated the state constitution. He was a member of the territorial legislature of 1885 and was the first republican speaker of a Montana house of representatives. In 1878 during a vacancy he was appointed by Judge Blake United States district attorney for the First judicial district and served in this capacity 1878-79. Col. Callaway located in Virginia City in 1871 and successfully engaged in the practice of law until 1898, when his health failed to such an extent that he relinquished the practice until within the past three years. In politics he was always a stalwart republican and an active and able advocate of the principles of that party. He was a member of Virginia City [Masonic] Lodge No. 1, and was a past master of that lodge. He was a member of Frank Blair Post No. 6, G. A. R., and its post commander at the time of his death. He was also a past department commander of the state organization. On January 16, 1866, Col. Callaway married Miss Mary E. Link, a native of Illinois, and a daughter of a pioneer of that state. To bless this union four children were born, Judge Lew L., Ethel, who died when 6 years of age, Edmund J., and George R. The three sons and the widow survive to mourn the sudden taking away a loving husband and an indulgent father.
Col. James E. Callaway lived at a time which tried men's character. His career as a soldier is one to be proud of. He rendered gallant and brave service in the preservation of the Union. As a citizen of Montana he was a prominent figure in the early history of the state. He was a lawyer of unusual ability and an honor to the profession. He was an ardent partisan but he was frank and honorable in his party life and he numbered many warm friends in the democratic party. He was actively identified with the welfare of this city which was his home. As a private citizen he took an interest in the schools and in fact everything pertaining to the betterment of the community. His home life was happy; he was pleasant and congenial; and he was fortunate in his family as he leaves behind him sons that will keep the family name one to be honored.
The funeral was held Tuesday afternoon from the auditorium and was conducted by Virginia City [Masonic] Lodge No. 1. It was very largely attended by the Masons and a large number of friends of the deceased. The casket was draped in the stars and stripes and on it was laid the sword presented to him by [the] regiment. The floral emblems were many and beautiful.
The pall bearers, all past masters of the Masonic fraternity, were Chief Justice Theodore Brantly of Helena, H. D. Rossiter of Sheridan, Robert Vickers, J. M. Knight, N. D. Johnson and M. M. Duncan, of Virginia City.
Appropriate music during the services was furnished by a choir composed of Mesdames Thomas Duncan, Dean W. Vickers, Miss Alma Trenerry and Messrs. J. H. Powell, C. W. Sherwood and M. B. Davis with Miss May Lowman presiding at the piano.
At the conclusion of the services at the grave three volleys were fired over it by a firing squad composed of veterans of the Spanish-American War under command of Lieut. E. J. Gaioan, and taps were sounded by Bugler A. E. Cole.
The funeral was held a day earlier than was at first planned on account of the condition of Mrs. Callaway. The shock occasioned by the sudden death of her husband brought on a serious attack of heart trouble from which she has been a sufferer for a number of years. It was the advice of her physician that the funeral be held Tuesday.
[This newspaper article from the Madisonian, Vol. XXXII, VIRGINA CITY, MONTANA, THURSDAY, AUGUST 24, 1905, is provided courtesy of the Montana State Historical Society Library.]
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