Meet the intern: Nathan (Jamie) Pierce

Nathan Pierce, WIU intern and re-enactor for a day, awaits the arrival of the hearse bearing Lincoln’s casket.

Nathan Pierce is our second intern this Spring from Western Illinois University, and will be returning this summer to conduct a longer, more intensive special project on Civil War veterans of Hancock County.

Nathan graduated from Hamilton High School in 1997 and joined the Army, serving as a Calvary Scout for three years.  After that he joined the National Guard in Quincy and pursued a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology , which he earned in 2006.  He recently moved back to this area to work toward his Master’s degree in History at Western Illinois University.

His project consists of illuminating the careers of Hancock County Civil War veterans at the Kibbe Museum. We have recovered a significant number of photos and information on local veterans. Through additional research into the records of the Hancock County Historical Society, regional archives, and tracking down the descendants of these soldiers, Nathan’s work is  bringing to life stories long forgotten.  While the project is still in its infancy, the initial work was enough to develop a wall of honor for Hancock County veterans in the new Lincoln exhibit, as well as a post-war reflection on their lives.

During the summer of 2012, Nathan will work on a descriptive analysis of the Kibbe’s collection of records relating to the soldiers of  the 118th Illinois Infantry and transcribing the memoirs of Colonel John Fonda, the regimental commander.

Wall of Honor for Hancock County veterans of the Civil War.


All hands on deck: an online exhibit

(Click on the image above to start the slideshow. Once the show starts, click on any image to view the captions.)

The Kibbe Museum is pleased to place online a permanent archive of U.S. Navy photographs taken during World War II. These images were the collection of Commander Raymon Powell. Raymon Powell served as a Marine in World War I and as a Navy Commander in World War II. During World War II, he was assigned to North Atlantic convoy escort duty and as base commander in New York City. The collection was donated to the museum by his son-in-law, Charles Grigsby, Jr., who also served in the North Atlantic as an engineer aboard a destroyer escort.

About the collection: The bulk of the photos were taken in the Pacific, but other subjects such as U-boat action, submarine training, and blimp operations are included. Many of the photos were taken as a series for a particular event or public affairs shoot aboard a ship; where possible, the photos have been sorted into sets by related images. Each photo is listed by the original serial number (where discernable) and includes the captions written by Navy public affairs officers. In some cases, additional information about these images is available from other sites, in which case it is listed along with a link in either the set or image notes.

The slideshow is hosted here. Once the show starts, you can click on any image to view the captions. You can also visit the Kibbe Museum Flickr image archive to view individual images.

Please let us know what you think of this exihbit, either here or at the image archive. Your feedback is very important to us.

Veteran’s Day


9 April 1945

Mr. Dale Myers
Hamilton, Il

Dear Mr. Myers:

….In regard to the death of your brother Lawrence W. Myers, 36303536, S/Sgt. who died of gun shot wounds on 16th March: the men said of him “he always played the game” and was a good organizer to get teamwork in whatever he did. They think of him as “one who did more than his share” at all times. He is buried in USAF Cemetery Zamboanga, which is carefully tended by the Phillippinoes for the United States government…..

Very sincerely,
Vincent B. Appleton
Chaplain, AUS

A Naval Hero’s Uniform: Commander James Carlin

James W. Carlin was born in 1844 in a log cabin that is thought to have stood on the southeast corner of the square in Carthage, Illinois.  In 1862, at the age of 18, he enlisted in the 118th Regiment and fought in the Civil War, inlcuding the battle of Walnut Hills. In 1864, he received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, graduating in 1868.

Commander Carlin served for over 30 years in the navy. A high point in his career was his bravery during the hurricane at Apla, Samoa in 1889, as an officer serving in the USS Vandalia. Seven vessels were crowded in the small harbor. The Vandalia was smashed against a reef, settled, and began filling with water.

When the captain of Vandalia was washed overboard, Carlin assumed command and ordered his men to climb into the rigging. When another ship, Trenton, was borne down upon them, he ordered his crew to leap to her decks. His actions saved all but 39 of the crew.Officers of USS Vandalia (1876-1889)

The officers of the USS Vandalia. Lieutenant Carlin is seated third from the left. Source:

A banquet in his honor was held in San Francisco on June 5, 1889. One of the guests was Rudyard Kipling, who describes the event in his “American Notes” (Kipling’s biting wit about the event can be read in full here.) He was quite cynical about the speeches until Carlin rose to speak. Kipling notes, “Such a big brave gentle giant! He rose to his feet and delivered what seemed to me as the speech of the evening…and I for one fell in love with Carlin on the spot. He was a man!” (In another testament to Carlin’s nature, as well as some insight into the recollected horrors of the hurricane in Samoa, the Army Navy Journal published an article  in 1900 about his encounter with a mouse.)

Carlin died of typhoid fever on December 13, 1900, aboard the vessel City of Peking, two days out of Manila, enroute home. When Carlin was buried in Carthage, a company of naval reservists, an infantry company, and a drum corps came on a special train from Quincy, IL. They marched to the home of his sister and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Boswell on South Madison Street, located at the present site of the gray apartment house on the east side of Madison. There, the body lay in state, clothed in an “undress” navy uniform with an officer’s cap on his breast. At the opera house (now the site of the city library), the procession was joined by Alexander Sympson Post of Grand Army of the Republic and proceeded to the Methodist Church. Stores were closed and schools dismissed for the occasion.

Following the service, the cortege proceeded to the old Carthage cemetery where Carlin was buried next to his parents. There, a modest grey headstone bearing an anchor still marks his grave.

His uniform is on display at the Kibbe Museum.

More about Commander Carlin:

New York Times death notice