Squires S. Tidd and Civil War Mysteries

When looking into ancestors’ lives, there are often periods where we can’t trace their movements or figure out what was going on with them. I have this issue with my maternal 3rd great grandfather, Squires S. Tidd. Like millions of Americans, his life was disrupted by the Civil War, such that during that period it’s hard to figure out what was going on with his family.

Squires was born the 4th son of William Tidd (1792-1874). William had married Rosanna Buckman in 1813 and she bore him two sons; William Jr. and Charles. Sadly, Rosanna died 10 days after the birth of Charles. She was only 21 years old. A year later (June 1, 1817), William married Luthera Bond. They resided in Woburn, Massachusetts, their entire lives. Their children were:

  • Henry Hubbard (born 1819)
  • Squires S. (born 1821)
  • Horace Hall (born 1830)
  • Sarah Bond (born 1832)
  • Louisa Jane (born 1834)
  • Luthera Bond (born 1836)

Squires’s father, William, was engaged in the leather trade, as had many generations before him. The children were all born in the North Woburn house their Revolutionary War grandfather, Jonathan Tidd Jr. had built.

Jonathan Tidd House WoburnThe children all attended public school, and the boys helped out in their father’s currying shop. The tannery was situated near Pine and Tidd streets, conveniently near the railroad depot.

Squires lived at home at least through the 1840 U. S. Census, when he was 19 years old. Presumably, he stayed on working in the tannery after he’d finished school, learning the family trade. He was employed as a tanner/currier throughout his life.

On Aug 13, 1843, at the age of 22, Squires married Miss Harriett A. Wheeler of nearby Stoneham, MA. Their first child, Horatio Oliver, was born in Stoneham on Oct. 5, 1846. Soon after, Squires took his young family away from small town life and headed for Boston.

Interestingly, about this same time, his older half-brother, William Tidd Jr., had launched a prosperous leathermaking business of his own in Stoneham. In 1847, his small business employed 20 men. William Tidd Jr. became one of Stoneham’s most prosperous businessmen. Yet, Squires never returned to Stoneham to work with his older brother.

On Dec. 31, 1849, Squires and Harriet welcomed their second child, William Bond. The 1849 Boston Directory lists Squires employed as a currier, working in the city at Market Square and living at 4 S. Margin Street in Chelsea.

1849 Boston Directory (p 274)-snipBy 1850, Squires seems to have been doing okay. The 1850 U. S. Census lists the family living in Boston Ward 3. The Manufacturing Schedule shows that he owned a small currier business employing 9 men (the last entry in the image below – CLICK on image to enlarge).

1850 Census - manufacturing schedule

This is about the time where Squires’s military bent begins to emerge, at least “on record.” I was able to locate a newspaper item which names Squires as a member of the “American Rifles” organization in Boston, or, as it was more formerly known, The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts. In the meeting described, wherein officers were chosen, Squires was chosen a 1st corporal.

The Daily Atlas Boston MA 10 Sep 1851

The 1851 Boston Directory shows Squires had moved both his business and home:

1851Boston Directory-snipOn Aug. 4, 1852, Harriet returned to Woburn to give birth to her youngest child, Laura Frances. The family remained in Boston through the years leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War. They are found on the 1855 Massachusetts State Census and in the 1860 Boston Directory.

Despite countless hours of searching, I cannot locate Squires in the 1860 U. S. Census. However, his 13 year old son, Horatio, was living on a farm some 60 miles away in Goffstown, NH, with a family by the name Kimball. The 1860 Boston Directory shows Squires lived in Chelsea at the time. Though I haven’t found Squires in the 1860 Census, I did see some families named Kimball living in Chelsea, one of whom was a dealer in produce. Could Squires have found his son a job on a farm through this produce dealer? Hard to say. But, why would a lad of 13 be sent away from home in the first place? I have found no Kimballs anywhere in my family tree to suggest they were related in any way to Squires or Harriet.

History of the First Regiment (Massachusetts Infantry), from the 25th of May, 1861, to the 25th of May 1864 by Warren Handel Cudworth January 1, 1866 Walker, Fuller and Company. (Google Books)One possibility is that Squires was struggling financially. This could also explain why, a mere month after the attack on Fort Sumter on Apr. 12, 1861, Squires — a man of 40 with a wife and 3 children — enlisted 3 years of service in the 1st Regiment, Massachusetts Infantry, Company “K”.

Another possible explanation for Squires signing up is that, already having exhibited a military bent through his membership in the American Rifles, and having grandfathers, great grandfathers and uncles who had fought in the Revolutionary War, Squires was filled with patriotic enthusiasm for Preserving the Union. Massachusetts in general, and Boston in particular, was a hot bed of the Abolitionist Movement. (see Massachusetts and the Civil War article.)

Squires’s grandfather, Jonathan Tidd Jr. and great-grandfather, Jonathan Tidd Sr., both responded to the alarm at Lexington and Concord and went on to serve in the Continental Army. Likewise, his maternal grandfather, William Bond Jr., and great grandfather, William Bond Sr., served in the Continental Army. Squires had uncles, great uncles, and great grandfathers who fought for American Independence. As his grandfathers didn’t pass away until Squires was over 20 years old, it’s hard to imagine he hadn’t been raised with tales of their exploits during the Revolutionary War. Surely, the family were very proud of their veterans.

Robert_CowdinThe 1st Regiment headquartered at Faneuil Hall in Boston, where the men were drilled and made preparations for their departure. Theirs was the first regiment to leave the state. Requiring more room for the large body of men to maneuver, the Regiment moved to Cambridge and named their first encampment, Camp Ellsworth. On June 15th, 1861, under the command of Col. Robert Cowdin, the Regiment departed for Washington, D.C., where they arrived two days later.

Squires served with the Regiment, with some brief periods on furlough, for over 18 months. Here is a brief synopsis of the Regiment’s activities during the time in which Squires Tidd served in K Company:


  • May 23 – Organized at Boston and mustered in Companies A, B, G and H under Colonel Robert Cowdin
  • May 24 – Companies D, F, K and I Mustered in
  • May 25 – Company E mustered in
  • May 27 – Company C mustered in
  • Jun 15 – The regiment left the state for Washington, D.C.
  • Jun 17 – Arrived Washington and attached to Richardson’s Brigade, Tyler’s Division, McDowell’s Army of Northeast Virginia, with duty at Camp Banks, Georgetown, D.C.
  • Jul 16-21 – Advance on Manassas, Va.
  • Jul 17 – Occupation of Fairfax Court House
  • Jul 21 – Battle of Bull Run
  • Jul 22 – Aug 15 – At Fort Albany
  • Sep 7 – Moved to Bladensburg; attached to Hooker’s Brigade, Division of the Potomac
  • Sep 7- Oct 7 – Expedition to Lower Maryland. Attached to 1st Brigade, Hooker’s Division, Army of the Potomac
  • Oct 25-27 – Moved to Posey’s Plantation
  • Oct 28 – Duty at Posey’s Plantation and at Shipping Point
  • Nov 14 – Affair at Mattawoman Creek


Squires’s service record states that from Sep. – Nov. 1862 he was hospitalized. On Nov. 25, 1862 he was discharged with disability. I don’t know the exact nature of his injury. As he went missing from the company muster in September, it is likely that he was among the over 8000 Union Soldiers injured at the Second Battle of Bull Run.

Draft registration - NH

U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Following his discharge from the Army, the next record I’ve located for Squires results from President Lincoln’s Enrollment Act of 1963. That summer, Squires shows up living in Goffstown, NH — where his son Horatio had been sent a few years earlier. Apparently, Harriet and the younger children went to Woburn to stay with family when Squire enlisted back in 1861. It is doubtful that they joined him in Goffstown, however, for on Dec. 23, 1863, Harriet passed away in Woburn. At 43 years of age, she died of consumption (i.e. tuberculosis).

In the spring of 1864, Squires signed up for military service again, this time with the 6th Unattached Company, Massachusetts Infantry (Militia). The company was organized at Readville, MA, and mustered in for 90 days’ service on May 4, 1864. The men served guard and garrison duty was at Readville and were mustered out August 2, 1864. He went in a private and came out a sergeant.

During the war years, Squires’s older brother, Henry, had moved his family to Westborough, in Worcester County. The 1865 Massachusetts State Census shows that he had taken in Squires’s children, Horatio (18 yrs) and Laura (12 yrs). Horatio is listed on the census as a soldier, for he had signed up with the 1st Regiment Massachusetts Cavalry.

But where were Squires and his middle son, William, during the 1865 Massachusetts State Census? Were they back in Goffstown, NH? I haven’t been able to find them!

After the war ended, Squires also settled in Westborough, where, on Feb. 22, 1866, he married Mary Elizabeth Pierce. He was 45 years old and she was 20. It may have been a marriage of necessity, in that 5 months later Mary gave birth to a son. They named him Charles Squires. Sadly, the infant died of cholera 6 months later.

Currier working a leather hide

Currier working a leather hide

Squires lived with Mary in Westborough the rest of his life, employed as a currier as long as he could work. In 1879, he received an invalid’s military pension. In January of 1886, his son Horatio died of meningitis. Squires passed away two years later of heart disease: Feb. 9, 1888. He was 66 years old.

Squires’s life and family, so obviously disrupted by the Civil War, brings home to me the far-reaching wreckage of that great national tragedy. During those troubled years, Squires’s family was scattered, his wife died, and he endured the unimaginable horrors of numerous battles, injury, and months of recovery. And yet, after all that, he enlisted again!

I’ll always wonder what kind of man he was and what motivated him to head off to war when he need not. Was he fired up by patriotism? Did he feel compelled to distinguish himself from his very successful older half-brothers, William and Charles? Neither his older brother, Henry, nor younger brother, Horace, enlisted for military service during the Civil War. So what compelled him? And why can neither he or his son William B. be found in the 1865 Massachusetts Census?

These are the questions that family historians puzzle over and go back to, again and again!

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4 Responses to Squires S. Tidd and Civil War Mysteries

  1. Jim Beach says:

    Very interesting and skillfully written. I enjoyed reading each of the many happenings. GOOD JOB!

  2. Kathy Burke says:

    Is this a branch of the family from your grandmother’s side? I don’t see any familiar names. Kathy

    • Site Admin says:

      Hi Kathy! This is my grandmother’s side of the family. The Tidds are an old Massachusetts family going back to the 1600s. My grandmother, Delia, was the granddaughter of William Tidd.

      • Kathy Burke says:

        Thanks for replying so quickly. I enjoy reading the stories even when the person isn’t from my side.

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