Macomber, Lindley M.
Age: 27, credited to Grand Isle, VTVITALS
Birth: 08/20/1836, Grand Isle, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
Friends Cemetery, Ferrisburgh, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Letters From The People
Lincoln and the Lake Champlain Quaker
To the Editor of the Free Press:
The great and good Abraham Lincoln though dead still speaks to us, in what he did and suffered for the best interests and highest good of our country and humanity. There is a beautiful and touching story told of "Lincoln and the Lake Champlain Quaker." This story was first published some years ago in Lippincott's Magazine. Who was the young Quaker? I do not know, but I think he was a grandson of Wessen Macomber, who in 1789 with his family settled in Grand Isle. The Macombers were prominent members of the Quakers or Friend's society, which at an early date had a church on the island, comprised of a number of families.
One of the places of great historic interest in Grand Isle is the old Quaker cemetery. If you could find a place for this Lincoln story in your valuable paper, it might be of interest to not a few of your readers especially in view of the fact, that now we have for a president in the White House a Quaker. (President Herbert Hoover, in office 1929-1933)
(Rev.) J. S. Allen
Lincoln and the Lake Champlain Quaker
The people who love it will defy you to find a more beautiful lake anywhere; and anyway, if the voyagers to the New Worlk had discovered nothing else, it would have been worth all the trouble they took coming over. Big and gracious and commanding as some dear princess, it sweeps to the northern border, and the mountains range themselves on either side, watching and adoring.
The largest island in the lake is long and wide and has several townships of its own. Somewhere about 1785 a family of Quakers came from the south and found the place. "The Lord," they said, "has led us into ways of peace. Here we will live, and the blessing of heaven will be with us." They labored at their wholesome toil and their minds were filled with wholesome thoughts. Sun and storm succeeded sun and storm, and the years passed and they found rest unto the third generation.
In 1861, when the stricken country cried for men to save her, the note of war came to the island, and the great-grandson of the first Quaker was drafted.
"But it will be no use," he said. "I shall never fight. My mother taught me it is a sin. It is her religion and my father's and their fathers'. I shall never raise my hand to kill anyone."
The recruiting officer took little notice. "We'll see about that later," he commented carelessly.
The regiment went to Washington and the Quaker boy drilled placidly and shot straight. "But I shall never fight," he reiterated.
Word went out that there was a traitor in the ranks. The lieutenant conferred with the captain, and all the forms of punishment devised for refractory soldiers were visited on him. He went through them without flinching, and there was only one thing left. He was taken before the colonel.
"What does this mean?" demanded the officer. "Don't you know you will be shot?"
The Quaker was a nice boy with steady eyes and a square chin, and he smiles a little. "That is nothing." he said. "Thee didn't think I was afraid, did thee?"
The prisoner went back to the guardhouse and the colonel went to the president, to Lincoln, who was great because he knew the hearts of men. The case was put before him of the mutinous Quaker who talked of his religion, the soldier who refused to fight, who defied pain and laughed at the fear of death.
Lincoln listened and looked relieved. "Why, that is plain enough," he answered. "There is only one thing to do. Trump up some excuse and send him home. You can't kill a boy like that, you know. The country needs all her brave men wherever they are. Send him home."
So the Quaker went back to the island, to life and duty as he saw them, and his children tell the story.
Contributed by Lucille Campbell, Grand Isle; found in her grandmother's papers.
Although not mentioned by name, the only grandson of Wesson Macomber who served in the Civil War was Lindley (1836-1918), son of Benjamin Macomber and Hannah Meeker. (Lindley's brother Samuel married Lucille's great-grandfather's sister)
Macomber was a single 24yo teacher in Grand Isle in late June 1863, when his name was listed in the draft registration report. He was drafted and enlisted on 16 July 1863 in Co. G, 4th Vermont Infantry. According to his compiled military service record, the Secretary of War ordered his dischage on 6 November 1863, by reason of being a Quaker. Other notations in his record indicate he was sent home on furlough pending recall, and was never issued a discharge.
Two other Quakers served in the 4th Vermont, Cyrus Pringle, of Charlotte, and Peter Dakin of Ferrisburgh. Dakin and Pringle were also drafted, and enlisted and were discharged on the same dates as Lindley. Pringle's diary has been published, and he mentions Macomber and Dakin in it, including a letter he and Macomber co-wrote to Governor Holbrook to intercede on their behalf. Given the coincidence of the dates and their letter, we can assume Lindley's experience in the service closely matched Pringle's.