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Lt. Col. Harlan P. Wolcott – Garfield Cemetery, Garfield, Pawnee County, Kansas


Col. Harlan Wolcott was one of the organizers and original settlers of the community of Garfield. In October 1872, Col. Wolcott was one of a committee of four sent to Kansas by an Ohio soldiers’ colony to find a place for their settlement.


Harlan Page Wolcott was born in Ohio on November 15, 1838. When the Civil War broke out, Pvt. Wolcott enlisted with Co. C 19th Infantry. He was wounded in the left arm at the Battle of Shiloh, and his left foot was amputated at the Battle of Stone River. For his meritorious service in the war, he was honorably discharged as Lt.-Col. Harlan P. Wolcott received a $30.00 monthly pension from the government.


Returning to Ohio, Harlan married Harriet Merriam Castle on April 26, 1865. The couple raised three daughters and one son. Then, in March 1873, Harlan and other Ohio soldiers brought their families to Garfield. Harlan’s parents, Joseph and Rebecca, came a few years later.


Among the unbroken prairie grass, buffalo, and antelope were the hopes and dreams of the pioneers of creating a place that would rival their hometowns in Ohio. However, it took a strong will for those who came as pioneers. Before the pioneers could see their vision of a prosperous farmland community, they had to endure grasshoppers, drought, blizzards, sometimes overflowing rivers, and possibly a prairie fire.


Early on, Harlan was a real estate agent for the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroad. He also served as Pawnee County commissioner and register of deeds. Towards the end of his life, Harlan suffered much pain because of his injuries from the war.


The rest of the story: Joseph and Rebecca Wolcott had four children, with three being boys. All three served with the Ohio Infantry, and all survived. Joseph died in 1886, and Rebecca in 1907. They are also buried in Garfield Cemetery.


Note: The three-day Battle of Stones River took place in Tennessee, as did the two-day Battle of Shiloh. Both were Union victories.

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