Sunday, March 6, 2011

Backward Glance - John Topping

The Battle of Antietam is considered the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with more than 23,000 casualties. On September 17, 1862, alone, over 3,600 men died, more than on any other day in the nation's military history. Included among those valiant dead was John Topping, my ancestor. He was just 32 years old and had two very young daughters and a step-son at home in Almond, Portage County, Wisconsin. John was a Private in Company G of the 7th Wisconsin Infantry. He is buried in the Antietam National Cemetery.
John was born on May 30, 1830, in Wells, Hamilton County, New York. His parents were James Richard and Hannah (Schufeldt) Topping. I do not know what took John to Wisconsin; but, on November 13, 1859, he married Margaret Jane (Orr) Wallace in Plover, Portage County, Wisconsin. Margaret had a son by her previous marriage, Wilford Lincoln Wallace. He used the last name Orr throughout his life. 

John and Margaret lived in Grand Rapids, Wood County, Wisconsin, when the U.S. Federal Census was taken in 1860. The couple had two children of their own, Ella Calista (1860) and Virginia Caroline. Virginia, or Ginny, was born in April 1862, just five months before her father's death.

Margaret Topping never remarried. She moved to Blanchard, Page County, Iowa, where she died and is buried in the Blanchard Cemetery.

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