MARIETTA - Buried side by side in Mound Cemetery, William Augustus Whittlesey and his son, William Beale Whittlesey, always had a close connection.
"They were so close, and it was his only son," explained Scott Britton, local Civil War historian and executive director of The Castle museum in Marietta.
Both men were prominent Marietta figures.
Scott Britton, local Civil War historian and executive director of The Castle museum in Marietta, stands at the family gravestone of William A. Whittlesey, a three-time mayor of Marietta. Whittlesey is buried beside his son, William B. Whittlesey, who died while fighting in the Civil War. (Photo by Jasmine Rogers)
William A. Whittlesey
The senior Whittlesey was a well respected lawyer and politician, said Britton.
Like many early Marietta settlers, he originated from Connecticut. He was born there in 1796 and graduated from Yale College in 1816.
He moved to Marietta after he was admitted to the Bar Association in 1821.
According to his biography on the U.S. Congress' website, Whittlesey served as the auditor of Washington County for more than a decade and as a member of the state House of Representatives for two years before being elected to Congress in 1848.
Whittlesey chose not to campaign for a second term.
Locally, Whittlesey is perhaps best known for serving as the mayor of Marietta during the start of the Civil War. He served three consecutive terms as mayor, in 1856, 1860, and 1862, said Britton.
"He was a Democrat, but he sided with Republican President Abraham Lincoln," said Britton referring to the senior Whittlesey's views on the issues of slavery and succession.
During his tenure as mayor, his son, Beale, joined the Union Army.
William B. Whittlesey
Known as Beale, William B. Whittlesey was born in Marietta in 1841. He entered Marietta College in 1857 and was very devoted to the Psi Gamma Society, going so far as to include the society in his will, said Britton.
"It was not something like a modern fraternity. It was more like a society dedicated to intellectual pursuits," explained Britton.
The book "Marietta College in The War of Succession" published in 1878, offers an account of Beale's life written by an unnamed companion in Beale's military Company.
The author speculates that Beale's interest in a military career was sparked by an encounter with President Zachary Taylor who was at the height of his popularity thanks to his military achievements in the Mexican-American War.
Taylor reportedly patted 8-year-old Beale on the head and predicted he would make a good soldier.
Beale helped form and was named second Lieutenant of the Ninety-Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry Company in 1862. While there he received commendation in several battles, and the unnamed author wrote that Beale seemed to sense his death was imminent.
Before the Battle of Missionary Ridge, Beale wrote out his will. He was shot through the heart on Nov.25, 1863. The next day, during the first nationally recognized celebration of Thanksgiving, the senior Whittlesey predicted Beale's death with a similarly eerie premonition.
"Before news got back to him, he told a friend that he thought his son was dead," said Britton.