By Kay Laughlin – Westlake-Bay Village Observer, Westlake, Ohio

Our nation’s Civil War began in April 1861 with the firing of canons on Ft. Sumter. This year, 2011, is the 150th anniversary and commemoration of the Civil War. Activities are planned to remember the men who fought and made sacrifices.

Nine men from North Dover Township who answered the call of their country are buried in Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village. They are: James Conklin, Washington Elmer, Alonson Grant, Luman Griswold, John Schultz, Chauncey Stevens, Alfred Wolf, Michael Wolf and an unknown union soldier.

This is the story of Luman Laomi Griswold who was born to Luman and Margaret Marilla Smith Griswold in Orange Township, Cuyahoga County, in 1835. At the time of Margaret’s marriage to Luman (the elder) she was living with Caleb Eddy in Dover Township.

When Luman Laomi was a small boy, the family moved to Avon Township to farm. Luman had blue eyes, light hair, was slight of build and 5’6’’ tall. As a young man, Luman began courting Melinda E. Smith, his neighbor. Luman was 15 in 1850, when his mother, now a widow, married Caleb Eddy and moved Luman and his sisters to Dover Township.

Luman enlisted as a three-year soldier at Camp Chase in Cleveland, on the August 17, 1861, with the newly-formed 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Private Griswold served in Company I which was made up of men from Lorain County. While at home in June 1863, he married Melinda Smith.

Flag of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry

This regiment organized for three months service on May 2, 1861, and for three years service on June 26, 1861. It served in West Virginia until March 1862 when it moved to the Shenandoah Valley and engaged in battles at Cedar Creek and Winchester, Va.

In July it was ordered into the Peninsula, where it took part in operations along the Chickahominy River. It is believed that it was during this march to the Peninsula that Luman contracted the “bloody diarrhea disease.” He was sent to a convalescent hospital in Alexandria, Va., to recuperate and then returned to his unit.

In August the 8th O.V.I. moved north and fought at South Mountain and Antietam. It sustained heavy losses at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. The 8th took part in Grant’s battles through the Wilderness campaign and when its term of service expired was withdrawn from the trenches at Petersburg, and mustered out July 13, 1864. Three soldiers of the 8th O.V.I. received the Medal of Honor for heroism at Gettysburg and the Wilderness.

Luman still had time left to serve, and he was transferred to the West Virginia 4th O.V.I. until his discharge August 22, 1864. Luman came home sickly from disease and never fully recovered. He walked with a cane for more than a year before he died in Sheffield Township on May 1, 1867. Luman and Melinda had one child who died in infancy.

We invite you to visit Lakeside Cemetery and take a walk down Row Two, between David Foote and Chauncey Stevens, and visit Luman’s grave. Their grave sites are decorated with company identification markers and will be decorated with American flags during Bay’s Memorial Day services.

Sources: “Retracing Footsteps” by Catherine Burke Flament, The History of the 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry