CIVIL WAR VET VANDERMARKER HAS LOCAL TIES
Isaac Vandermarker was 43 years old when he left his farm in Freeborn County in 1862 and enlisted with Company K of the Fourth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. The Fourth Minnesota was sent south and, as part of General Grant's campaign, took part in the assault of Vicksburg in June of 1863. In July of 1864, Vandermarker was with the Fourth Minnesota when it joined General Sherman's March to the Sea and subsequent siege of Savannah, Georgia. Vandermarker eventually moved to Alta Vista Township in 1885 and is now buried in the township cemetery southwest of Taunton. He is the great grandfather of Jim Reiss of Taunton.
In a lonely cemetery five miles southwest of Taunton are 126 headstones marking those laid to rest between 1870 and 2020. Among them are matching four-foot obelisks set in a single concrete base a few feet apart belonging to Isaac Vandermarker III and his wife, Carrie.
Just three feet behind Isaac's obelisk is a military headstone with his name and a GAR bronze star honoring his military service in the Civil War.
The cemetery is eight miles west of Minneota on the south side of County Road 18 in Lincoln County.
A closer look into Vandermarker's life reveals a historical and compelling story. He is the great grandfather of Jim Reiss of Taunton. Reiss's mother was Cora Reiss, whose father Frank Vandermarker was Isaac's son.
During his time as a volunteer with the Fourth Minnesota in the Civil War, Isaac Vandermarker III was involved in numerous battles, including the Siege of Vicksburg where he was wounded.
He was 43 years old when he enlisted in the Civil War. His daily exploits of 1863 were kept in a daily journal with brief entries. The original journal is now the property of the U.S. Army Military History Institute in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
The Mascot obtained a copy of the month of January from Vandermarker's journal in order to see what type of entries were included. His very first entry on Jan. 1, 1863 read: "Pleasant. Marched from Germantown to Lafayette. Went along with the teamster to assist him. He turned his wagon over from a bridge into a river, wetting our knapsacks and making a general smash up, breaking open the company desk."
And this entry was from Jan., 22, 1863: "Cloudy. Came off guard at the break of day. Got my breakfast as soon as possible. Left Camp Whit Station for Memphis with Frank Owens and footed it to town. Traveled all over. Found that there had been a great many buildings burned with no new ones going up. Memphis a large town."
Vandermarker was a prosperous farmer in Alta Vista Township. He learned the farming trade from his parents, Isaac Jr. and Elizabeth, who were farmers in New York, where Isaac III was born on Sept. 18. 1819.
A well-educated man, Isaac left his parents' farm when he was 22 years old and farmed on land that he rented near his parents.
Vandermarker married Clorinda Stokes in 1845 in New York.
In 1856, Isaac moved to Marquette, Michigan where he was in charge of 27 teams hauling iron ore on a tram railroad. He left that business after only six months and settled in Freeborn County in Minnesota and farmed. Clorinda died in 1861.
On April 6, 1862, Vandermarker enlisted in the Union Army in Company K, Fourth Minnesota Infantry. He boarded steamboat in St. Paul with his regiment and traveled to Benton Barracks in St. Louis. His regiment was then ordered to report to the front.
Vandermarker was wounded during the Siege of Vicksburg in late June of 1863, and in August of 1863, he was transferred to the Invalid Corps (later called the Veteran Reserve Corps) created within the Union Army to allow partially disabled soldiers to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines.
Vandermarker participated in many battles with the Fourth Minnesota Infantry before being wounded. Vandermarker was honorably discharged on April 5, 1865, four days before General Lee surrendered to Grant, and 10 days before Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
Vandermarker married his second wife, Carrie, Sept. 15, 1865 in Preston, MN, and soon after they moved to Alta Vista Township. Vandermarker had six children with his first wife and three with his second.
Vandermarker died March 15, 1909 at age 89. Carrie died in 1911 at age 77.