Civil War soldier influences education in Fillmore County
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 3:27 AM
With the emphasis this year on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg battle in the Civil War, I was looking for more information on local Civil War veterans. The Centennial edition of the Spring Valley Tribune offered countless "mini-bios" of Spring Valley residents, living or deceased, and two came to my attention - Lucian Warren and his wife, Eliza Jane. When Lucian died in 1941, he was one of only two surviving Civil War veterans in Fillmore County.
Lucian Ball Warren and Eliza Jane (Gregory) Warren
Born in 1842, Lucian B. (Lute) Warren was a native New Yorker, his ancestors having come to America in 1620. He grew up in New York, and when President Abraham Lincoln called for volunteers in 1861, he and brother, Nelson, and later, brother, James, all enlisted. Lucian served our country throughout the Civil War as a member of the 75th and then the 102nd New York regiments. He saw service at Gettysburg, as well as many other well-known battlefields. It was reported he marched with Sherman through Georgia and was imprisoned at the Libby Prison and at Belle Isle. His brother Nelson was a casualty in the war.
After the war, Lucian proceeded to Minnesota, where he took up a veteran's homestead in Fillmore County. Here he met and married Eliza Jane Gregory, reportedly one of the first white children born in Spring Valley Township. The couple farmed until 1894, when they moved into Spring Valley so their children could have a good education. With Lucian's father, Jonathan Warren, as a fine inspiration, six daughters and one son also became teachers in the graded and ungraded schools of the area. Daughter Irene Warren served as Fillmore County Superintendent of Schools for 28 years. I do remember her calling at our country school about 1943, a dignified and attractive lady who commanded a great deal of respect. Lucian served this community well in many ways, and died in July 1941. He was buried on his 99th birthday with full military honors.
Mrs. Warren, Eliza Jane Gregory, was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Gregory, who had homesteaded here in Minnesota Territory in 1855. As a child, Eliza attended school in District 116; later the family moved to Hamilton. This was a thriving village, with two general stores, two churches, a blacksmith shop, and any other shops necessary for survival at the time. Her father operated a general store in what was known as Lower Hamilton. Eliza also attended school in the village of Fillmore, where the school system was rated an "academy" because it had two teachers and offered courses available only in high schools of the day.
Eliza married a young farmer, Lucian B. Warren, in 1876, and the couple had ten children at the farm north of Spring Valley. With the background of a "teacher family," the Warrens moved into town in 1894 so the children could attend school here. Eliza Warren was known as a leader in many endeavors, active in her church and community affairs. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and taught Bible classes for many years. She had a strong interest in the Women's Christian Temperance movement. She died in 1932 at the age of 75.
As mentioned, Lucian Warren's father was a schoolmaster by profession. Lucian's sister, Sarah Warren Lee, was a pioneer teacher in the area and taught at the Fillmore Village Academy. We can be grateful for this family of teachers since seven of Lucian and Eliza's children entered the profession.
One of the 1955 bios mentioned family treasures, including James Warren's cavalry musket that he used in the capture of Jefferson Davis, as well as a broad-axe and grub hoe used in clearing land here in Fillmore County. Children mentioned were sons Everett and Roland, daughters Olive, Erma, Irene, Emma, Sadie and Mildred.
The Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was a thriving organization and many mementos from that era can be found in the collections at the local museums on West Courtland. There are books on the life of Miss Frances Willard, educator and reformer, one of its strongest advocates. The Methodist Church Museum has a particularly fine exhibit of three communion trays of tiny slant-top glasses dating to the 1890s. The Methodists, being temperate, used grape juice, but also on display is the communion ware from the old Dr. Martin Luther (Midway) Lutheran Church, which used wine in the common cup, shared with each communicant.
The Methodist Church Museum (a Laura Ingalls Wilder site) and the Washburn-Zittleman Historic Home, plus the adjacent buildings for agricultural equipment, a Pietenpol-design airplane, old-time school, military display, and much more - all are open daily from l0 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Come early and allow two hours for a guided tour of the premises.