Biography of

Josiah Given, Lt. Col.

(Photo Courtesy Library of Congress)

Born in Murrysville, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania on August 31, 1828, Josiah Given spent most of his life in Ohio and Iowa. He and his family moved to Millersburg, Ohio when he was only 10 years old. At the tender age of 17, he enlisted as a recruiting drummer for the 15th US Infantry at the beginning of the Mexican War in 1846. Moving on to the 4th Ohio, he rose from Private to Corporal before war's end. In 1848, upon his return to Millersburg, he began a study of law under his older brother, Judge (later General) William Given. On October 6, 1851, he enlisted in the state of matrimony with Miss Elizabeth Armour .

Admitted to the bar on a motion made by Stark County judge Edwin Stanton, who later became Lincoln's Secretary of State, Josiah began a partnership with Judge Barcroft in Coshocton County. With war clouds gathering in the distance, Attorney Given felt his military expertise would be needed again. Throwing off his cloak of law, he donned the blue serge of Ohio militia by forming a company known as "Given's Rangers." This company became part of the 24th Ohio Volunteer Infantry under Colonel Jacob Ammen and was designated as Company K. Serving in the Rich Mountain Campaign of the summer of 1861, Captain Given was quickly recognized with leadership abilities. With the 90 day enlistment of his unit exhausted, Colonel Ammen recommended him for the position of Lt. Colonel in the 18th Ohio Volunteer Infantry under Colonel Timothy R. Stanley.

His early Civil War service saw him take part in the marches through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Northern Alabama. Upon the promotion of Colonel Stanley to brigade commander, Given was given command of the 18th Ohio and led them in their shining moments at Stones River, where he was wounded. In June of 1863, he was given command of the 74th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and led them successfully. Placed in command of the 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 13th Army Corps for a time, he led his units during the Atlanta Campaign. Recognized for his valorous service, during which he participated in 22 battles during the Civil War, he was promoted to Brigadier General shortly before war's end. After the fall of Atlanta, he was forced to resign due to rheumatism contracted during his military career.

Elected Postmaster of the House of Representatives, he caught the attention of numerous politicians, including future President, James A. Garfield who led the effort to give him the position. Moving to Des Moines, Iowa, he set up a partnership with his old partner, Judge Barcroft and held several political offices until appointed to the State Supreme Court of Iowa by Governor Lanabu. Twice elected to this position, he held this office as well as Chief Justice until 1902.

Strongly favoring his military background, he was a charter member of Grand Army of the Republic, Crocker Post, being its first commander and later becoming Commander of the Iowa Dept., G.A.R. It is reported that he always had time for "his boys."

After Retirement, Josiah lived his remaining years in Des Moines, frequenting his favorite getaway spot, Okoboji, often. He died peacefully on February 3, 1908 at the age of 80. He was interred in the Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa on February 6, 1908.

(Respectfully submitted by G. S. D.)

__________. "Captain Josiah Given." [Online] Available
October 5, 2003.

__________. "Given, Josiah. Find A Grave." [Online] Available February 12, 2002.

__________. "Judge/Gen Josiah Given." [Online] Available April 11, 2003.

__________. "Colonel Josiah Given." Library of Congress Photoduplication Service. LC-B812-9282 (Glass).