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Rumford's Notable Citizens in the Civil War

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Elisha F. Goddard, Rumford Point, ca. 1861
Elisha F. Goddard, Rumford Point, ca. 1861Item Contributed by
Maine State Archives

Elisha F. Goddard of Rumford Point served in Co. A of the 12th Regiment. He was born October 15, 1836 and at age 23, he enlisted on November 1, 1861 as a quarter master sergeant. He was commissioned as a full 1st lieutenant, and later promoted to full captain of Co. A.

Like Kimball, he was mustered out on April 18, 1866, and returned to his native Rumford Point farm. He was killed on December 3, 1872 in a lumbering accident, which was witnessed by William "Napoleon" Thomas, a 16-year-old former slave who came to Maine with Goddard. Goddard is buried in his wife’s family plot at Rumford Point.

William "Napoleon" Thomas, Rumford Center, ca. 1870Item Contributed by
Greater Rumford Area Historical Society

"Napoleon," as Thomas was known in the Rumford area, arrived in Rumford with Goddard in November 1865. Rumford historian Stuart F. Martin wrote about Thomas, saying that, "the boy strayed into the quarters of Company A, of the 12th Maine Regiment while on duty in New Orleans ... and he became the Captain’s house boy."

Thomas married Angie Ellen (Washburn) Taylor, a widow with two children, on November 29, 1887 at Hanover. They had had three sons together.

Sylvester Thomas was born in 1888 and died Nov. 4, 1899 at age 11 from a "fractured skull as a result of accident" as reported on the death certificate. He had been playing at school in Rumford Center.

George Thomas was born about 1890 and Clarence in 1892. Within a year of Clarence’s birth, Angie Thomas left her husband and their young sons and never returned. Several years later, George ran away, reportedly to Magalloway Plantation, near Rangeley and the New Hampshire border, and also never returned.

Hiram Abbott, Rumford Center, ca. 1870
Hiram Abbott, Rumford Center, ca. 1870Item Contributed by
Greater Rumford Area Historical Society

Napoleon and Clarence Thomas ran a market garden, selling produce to neighbors and friends. They were able to support themselves as local handymen and running the farm. Clarence married Maude Jenkins Maxwell on November 4, 1931.

Napoleon Thomas died of cancer on October 19, 1923, at age 72. He is buried in East Ellis-Goddard Cemetery with his sons Sylvester (1888-1899) and Clarence (1892-1956), and Clarence’s wife, Maude (1894-1986). Buried in the same cemetery on the East Andover Road is Civil War veteran Dr. Hiram Abbott, who after the war was Thomas' friend and mentor.

Abbott was born June 2, 1835 in Rumford Point. At age 26, having been a teacher in local schools, he enlisted in the band of the Maine 2nd Infantry Regiment as a musician. Bands played for various events and helped promote morale.

On July 17, 1862 Congress abolished the volunteer regimental bands, and consequently Hiram F. Abbott was mustered out on August 15, 1862. Regiments still had buglers and drummers who signaled charges and retreats and other actions.

Abbott returned to Rumford Point, and then enrolled at Bowdoin College’s Maine School of Medicine, graduating in 1864. He returned to Rumford Point and married Mary J. Mansur. After her death, he married Mary J. Gammon. He was known as "Dr. Hiram." He died on Oct. 15, 1921, at age 86, and is buried in the East Ellis-Goddard Cemetery.