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Individual Record

Ketchum, Benjamin F.

Age: 28, credited to Manchester, VT
Unit(s): 12th VT INF
Service: comn SURG, 12th VT INF, 9/19/62 (10/4/62), m/o 7/14/63

See Legend for expansion of abbreviations

Birth: 1827, Tomhannock, NY
Death: 12/21/1897

Burial: Woodlands Cemetery, Cambridge, NY
Marker/Plot: Not recorded
Gravestone researcher/photographer: Heidi McColgan
Findagrave Memorial #: 53598607
Alias?: None noted
Pension?: Yes, widow Eliza
Portrait?: VHS off-site
College?: UCNY (MD), 1860
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: 1890 - Living in Brattleboro, VT

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Woodlands Cemetery, Cambridge, NY

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



His Sudden Death Last Saturday
Career As an Army Surgeon --- One of the Most Efficient in the Service --- as a Practicing Physician and Good Citizen.

The uncertainty of life has seldom been brought to the minds of Brattleboro people more forcibly than the the death of Benjamin F. Ketchum, which took place at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Brooks House. Dr. Ketchum had been slightly indisposed for several days, but had attended to his duties as usual, and was in his office Friday night until 10 o'clock. He was seized with violent pain about 2 o'clock Saturday morning, and Dr. Pratt was called to attend him. He dropped to sleep after a short time, and there was nothing alarming in his condition until about 6 o'clock when there was a second violent attack. The cause of his death was rheumatism of the heart. Dr. Ketchum had been a sufferer from rheumatism for a year, the result of exposure during his army life, two or three times the heart had been affected in such a way as to make his condition critical. It was because of his weakness he gave up long rides over ten years ago, and had confined his practice to the village.

Dr. Ketchum was a son of Benjamin and Mary Ketchum and was born on Tomhannock, N.Y., Dec. 25, 1837. After attending schools near his home he became a student at the Cambridge, N.Y. Academy. His medical education was obtained at the University of the City of New York. After his graduation, he began the practice of his profession at Manchester, this state in 1860.

He married Eliza Gray, daughter of Dr. Henry Gray, of Cambridge, N.Y. August 7, 1861. In 1862 Dr. Ketchum enlisted as surgeon in the 10th Vermont regiment. He was detailed with Dr. Phelps, afterward of Dartmouth Medical school, to organize the military hospital in Brattleboro, on the site of the present Valley Fairgrounds. Dr. Ketchum's first service at the front was a surgeon of the 12th Vermont regiment, but he was afterward promoted to the office of the brigade surgeon on the staff of Gen. Stannard. Dr. Ketchum established the hospital of the 12th Vermont regiment at Fairfax Court House, Va. The authorities at Washington, who had to inspect 300 hospitals in and around the city, accords the one in Dr. Ketchum's charge the highest rank. At the battle of Gettysburg, Dr. Ketchum rendered notable service and many of the difficult operations requiring immediate attention were entrusted to him.

After his return from the war, Dr. Ketchum settled in Brattleboro and remained until 1870, when he, and Bryant Melendy, a well-known resident of Guilford, bought a large plantation in Tennessee, near Knoxville. Dr. Ketchum remained on the plantation three or four years, then sold his interest and moved to Cambridge, N.Y., where he resumed the practice of medicine. He returned to Brattleboro in 1888 and formed a partnership with his brother-in law, Dr. C. A. Gray of Hinsdale, N.H., who had been a student with him when Dr. Ketchum was here 30 years ago.

Dr. Ketchum has always been greatly interested in the affairs of the Grand Army and attended the national encampments at St. Louis and Boston as delegate. He was elected surgeon of the Vermont department at the annual encampment in 1895. He was one of the Vermont men who started the movement which resulted in the election of Col. Veazey of Rutland as commander in chief of the Grand Army. Dr. Ketchum was a candidate for the office of pension agent for the district of Vermont and New Hampshire, at the time of his death, and was so strongly supported that he was regarded as sure of the appointment under McKinley's administration.

Hon. Frederick Holbrook, Vermont's wartime governor, wrote this endorsement for Dr. Ketchum's candidacy to the Vermont delegation in Congress: "B. F. Ketchum, M.D. desires the appointment of pension agent for Vermont and New Hampshire. I have favorably known Dr. Ketchum for many years and had the pleasure of commissioning him as Army Surgeon during the late war. His war record was excellent, as has been that of his life since. I hope he may receive the appointment as pension agent."

W. Austine, Colonel of the United States Army, retired, wrote the congressional delegation as follows: "B. F. Ketchum, of this town, being an applicant for the office of pension agent of the district of Vermont and New Hampshire, I most respectfully recommend him for the position, as a gentleman fully capable of performing the duties of the office in a satisfactory manner. I have known him since 1862 when I mustered him into the service as surgeon of the 12th regiment, he passing his examination at the head of 15 medical officers mustered at the same time for service in five regiments. The doctor proved himself during the war, and subsequently a very efficient official. He is now chief of the pension board, standing well professionally and socially, and is a man of good executive ability."

In his profession Dr. Ketchum has always been high rank. He was especially successful as a surgeon and performed many operations that the ordinary practitioner would not care to undertake. He was a member of the Vermont Connecticut Valley, and New York State Medical Societies. He was a man of thorough self control of correct habits and high principles. He was a member of the Center Congregational Church, and while living in Cambridge was elder of the Presbyterian Church.

Dr. Ketchum is survived by his wife and three children --- Miss Kate Ketchum of Brattleboro, Liston G. Ketchum, who was admitted to the Vermont bar in 1895, and who is now a practising lawyer in Baltimore, Md., and Frank Ketchum, a member of the senior class in Baltimore Medical college. Daniel Ketchum, the prominent lawyer of Albany, N.Y., who died in 1883, was a brother of Dr. Ketchum. Mr. and Mrs. Ketchum had five children, a daughter dying in Brattleboro at the age of three, and a boy, Harry, at Cambridge at the age of 13.

The funeral was held at the Brooks House Monday afternoon, Rev. C. O. Day officiated. He recognized feelingly the brave and Christian life which Dr. Ketchum had lived. The choir of the Congregational Church sang, "Abide With Me", "Rock of Ages", "Asleep in Jesus". Sedgwick Grand Army Post attended the funeral in a body. The burial was at Cambridge, N.Y. Tuesday. The body was escorted to the railroad station Tuesday morning by a detachment of Grand Army men. The bearers were: L. F. Adams, Col. H. E. Taylor, Col. G. W. Hooker, and Dr. A. I. Miller. The body was met at the railroad station in Cambridge by the Grand Army Post of that town, and escorted to the Presbyterian Church. After prayer by Rev. Mr. Turbull an elegant funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Henry Gordon, of Colla, N. Y., a former army chaplain, and a life long acquaintance and intimate friend of Dr. Ketchum. Physicians from many of the leading towns of Eastern New York were present. The coffin was banked with beautiful floral tributes. Col. K. Haskins and Mrs. Williams accompanied the Ketchum family to Cambridge, and the party met at Eagle Bridge by a delegation of Cambridge friends.

Brattleboro Phoenix, January 15, 1897

Courtesy of Deanna French.