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Derby, Otis Shurtleff


Age: 21, credited to Rupert, VT
Unit(s): 1st VT CAV
Service: enl 10/1/61, m/i 11/19/61, Pvt, Co. G, 1st VT CAV, pow, 5/24/62 (Libby), prld at Aiken's Landing, 9/13/62, dis/dsb 4/27/63

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations


Birth: 11/08/1839, Rupert, VT
Death: 02/09/1891

Burial: West Aurora Cemetery, Aurora, IL
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Dorles Barber

Findagrave Memorial #: 0
(There may be a Findagrave Memorial, but we have not recorded it)


Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, 2/25/1880; widow Ann C., 3/6/1891, IL
Portrait?: Unknown
College?: Not Found
Veterans Home?: Not Found
(If there are state digraphs above, this soldier spent some time in a state or national soldiers' home in that state after the war)

Remarks: None


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Copyright notice


West Aurora Cemetery, Aurora, IL

Check the cemetery for location/directions and other veterans who may be buried there.

Otis S. Derby

Otis Shurtleff Derby

A small picture of PVT Otis Shurtleff Derby (a reprint from a tintype), a copy of the card announcing his death, and a picture of the obelisk at his gravesite.

Otis Shurtleff Derby was born 8 Nov 1839, in Rupert, Bennington Co., VT, the son of George Derby of Rupert, VT and Clarissa Shurtleff of Danby, Rutland, VT.

Otis married 23 Jan 1866 in Morrow County, Ohio, Ann Crowl the daughter of Philip Crowl (born in PA) and Harriet L. Ayres (born in VT).

Otis died 9 February 1891 in Illinois (Probably Montgomery Co.) and is buried in Bethel Ridge Cemetery, near Atwater, Illinois.

In the original application of request for pension, made by Ann C. Derby (4 March 18_1 my archive copy is blanked out at the year, but it has to be 1891), she states she was married on the date shown above (23 Jan 1866). In the undated request for increase of pension (under Act of Sep 8, 1916), Ann states she was married Jan 27, 1865 and fails to say "not", in the space where it says "I was _____ his wife during the period of his service in the Civil War" This may have been an oversight, or deliberate omission for fear she would not get an increase.

In a letter from one of Otis' granddaughters, Beulah Derby Wood (dated 10 Aug 1970), she states, "...He (her Grandfather, Otis) was a carpenter as well as farmer. I think he built the first Methodist Church in Waggoner (IL) and his was the first funeral held there. He went from Vermont to the Civil War. I don't know how long he served but do know that he was confined in Libby Prison for some time - had a bad case of scurvy when released. It seems he did not go back to Vermont after the war." "...He and a brother, George went to Ohio and married cousins. (I believe this is an error - George may have married a cousin of theirs, Lydia Shurtleff see reference to Lydia below.) Then they both came to Illinois. (Her) Uncle George went to Walshville and Otis settled in Waggoner. I think Dad (son of Otis, Frank Derby) said he was 17 at the time of his (Otis') death."

Following is a letter that was sent to Miss Ann Crowl, Chesterville, Morrow Co., Ohio. The postmark on the envelope can barely be read as Aug 7 with no legible year. On the small envelope containing the original letter is written: "This is my dear husband's letter he wrote before we were married when he was at home in Vermont."

The letter reads:

"At home August 6 (No year given)

"Respected Friend Ann

"It is with pleasure that I seat myself to pen you a few lines. I arrived at home the next day after I started. I came by rail all the way. It was very dusty on the rode (sic). I found my friends all well. We have two cousins and an Aunt from New York here now on a visit. We have a lively time but I would enjoy myself better in still company. I found Lydia well much better than when she left. She seems to enjoy herself.

"Well I have not decided when we will come home. It quite natural here among mountings (sic) but they look better and more huge than ever before. I wish you could see them. I wish you was here with me now. It is so pleasant here now. It is quite early in the morning. Lydia has not got up yet. She wrote to your mother yesterday.

"I shall look for a letter from you the last of this week if you live up to your promise. Be a good girl Ann until I come back will you not. I have not been out a berrying yet but have been hunting woodchucks. I will pass the time in some way..

"I do not know as it would be best for you to answer this it takes a letter so long to come through but they go in three or four days. Lydia has just got the letter that your mother wrote.

"As I cannot think of any thing to write that will be interesting to you I will bid you good by hopeing (sic) to see you soon. My respects to you.

"Accept this from your friend O. S. Derby"

Otis may have written a private postscript, for the letter appeared to have been cut off after the signature.

The Lydia referred to in the letter may be Lydia (Shurtleff) Derby. Otis' brother, George, married Lydia Shurtleff. Whoever Lydia is, she was obviously staying in the same house with Otis' family. The reference of Lydia having written to Ann Crowl's mother (Harriet L. Ayres Crowl), who was born in Vermont, indicates firm family ties between the Crowls and Derbys. I have had no success in identifying the parents of Harriet L. (Ayres) Crowl.

Contributed by Dorles Dillow Barber, Otis' great-granddaughter.