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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published by Biographical Review Publishing Company in 1896.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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SERGEANT JAMES H. DAMON, an esteemed resident of Chesterfield, was born January 4, 1842. His father, also a native of this town, spent the major portion of his life in farming, and was married three times. His first wife, whose maiden name was Shaw, bore him three children, namely: Miranda, deceased; Octavia, now living in Florence, Mass.; and Seth T., a resident of San Francisco. His second wife, Laura Angell before marriage, was a native of Huntington, and had nine children, as follows: Newton, now residing in San Francisco; Mary, deceased; James H., the subject of this sketch; Hannah, also living in San Francisco; Martha, deceased; Emily, deceased; Henry, living in this town; Levi, also of Chesterfield; and Susan, deceased. After the death of his second wife, the father married Orpha Sturtevant, who survived him, dying subsequently in Chesterfield.

Being one of a large family of children, James H. Damon began earning his own living at the tender age of ten years. His first employment was on a farm, where he worked hard for his board and clothes. He continued as a farm laborer until nineteen years of age, when, on August 11, 1861, he gave his services to his country, enlisting in the Twenty-first Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Company H, commanded by Colonel William S. Clark, his company being under the command of Captain Rice. Mr. Damon proved a brave soldier, and was soon promoted to the rank of Sergeant. With his company he took part in many of the hardest-fought engagements of the war. Among them were the battles at Roanoke Island, Newbern, N.C., and Camden, the second battle of Manassas, the battles of Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, and Fredericksburg, the actions in the campaign of East Tennessee, the battle of Blue Springs, the skirmish at Campbell Station, the siege of Knoxville, and the battle of the Wilderness. In the battle of Chantilly Mr. Damon received a bullet wound in the ankle, but pluckily declined to go into hospital. On May 6, 1864, at the battle of the Wilderness, he was captured by the rebels and taken to Andersonville, where he remained in durance vile for ten months before he was released, February 27, 1865. He then came home for a thirty days’ furlough, after which he was sent to Dale Hospital, Worcester, Mass. Here he remained until July 27, when he was honorably discharged.

Soon after his return to the scenes of his childhood, Mr. Damon was united in marriage to Melinda Witherell, the nuptials being performed August 19, 1865. Mrs. Damon was born in Westhampton, and was a daughter of Ransom Witherell, who subsequently removed with his family to Chesterfield, and there spent his remaining years. After his marriage Mr. Damon carried on his father’s farm for five years, and then, in 1870, bought a farm in the southern part of the town of Chesterfield, and there carried on mixed husbandry until his removal to his present home in 1884. His good management, besides winning for him a respectable competency, has resulted in many improvements on his property. Always actively employed, he is a typical representative of the self-made men of the county. Mr. Damon is a steadfast Republican in politics and an intelligent worker in the interests of that party. He belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic, Post No. 86, of Northampton; and having never fully recovered from the effects of his army life, his health being quite poor and his hearing badly impaired, he draws a pension from the government.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Review Volume of Biographical Sketches of The Leading Citizens of Hampshire County, Massachusetts published in 1896. 

View additional Hampshire County, Massachusetts family biographies here: Hampshire County, Massachusetts Biographies

View a map of 1901 Hampshire County, Massachusetts here: Hampshire County Massachusetts Map

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