William and Ellen Langton

William H. Langton was a younger brother of Jeanette's great-grandfather. He was born about 1839 or 1840 in Pennsylvania, probably in Mifflin county, where he was enumerated in both the 1850 and 1860 census along with his parents, Joseph and Catherine Langton.

Civil War service. After the outbreak of war in 1861, numerous volunteer units were organized. The 46th PA Infantry mustered in 1 Sep 1861 at Camp Curtin, near Harrisburg. It was made up of men from the central and eastern part of the state. Mifflin county supplied Company A. William mustered in the following day and served throughout the rest of the war, mustering out with his company 16 Jul 1865 near Alexandria, VA. He was promoted from Private to Corporal 4 May 1863. In William's index card in the PA archives, his last name appears as Laughton.

The 46th was in the thick of much heavy fighting, losing a total of 16 officers and 301 enlisted men, including those who died of disease. The history of the 46th's campaigns takes up several pages in Dyer's Compendium. We will list here only the major battles and campaigns in which this unit was involved:

Mar 1862Winchester
Aug 1862Cedar Mountain
Sep 1862Antietam
Apr 1863Chancellorsville
Jul 1863Gettysburg
May-Sep 1864Atlanta campaign
Nov-Dec 1864march to the sea
Feb-Mar 1865Carolinas campaign

After war's end, William's father and several siblings moved to Moultrie county, Illinois. William joined them there and was living in their household in Marrowbone township at the time of the 1870 census. Even though his father is a farmer, the census says William "works at home".

Marriage. About 1878, William Langton marries Ellen (Walters) Burrell. They are enumerated in South Evanston, near Chicago, in the 1880 census, with her name listed very clearly as Ella R., but in all other documents she is listed as Ellen. According to this census record, she was also born in PA, as were her parents. There were several Walters families living in Mifflin county, PA, as well as in Moultrie county, IL, around this time. Depending on which census record is correct, Ellen could have been born anywhere from 1846 to 1850.

Ellen Walters' first husband was Charles Burrell. Ellen married Charles, whose last name is misspelled Burrall in the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 12 Sep 1867 in Moultrie county. Ellen and Charles had one child, Frank Burrell, born about 1868, who is listed with Charles and Ellen in Henry county, IL, in the 1870 census. Ellen and Charles apparently divorced some time in the 1870s. The IL index contains no record of Ellen's marriage to William Langton. In the 1880 census, Frank is enumerated along with his father and stepmother in Davenport, Iowa. He eventually moves to South Evanston to join his mother and stepfather.

Ellen bore William one child, Allen W. Langton, in December 1880. He is listed with them in the 1900 census, when the family is enumerated at 1008 Sherman Avenue in Evanston.

Tragedy. There are several mentions of W. H. or William H. Langton in the Chicago Tribune during the 1890s, mostly in the OUTSIDE THE OLD LIMITS section under South Evanston. The following appeared the 19 Jan 1890 issue:

Frank Burrell, eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Langton, died Thursday morning [16 Jan] of quick consumption at the Alexian Brothers' Hospital, Chicago. The body was taken to Rock Island Friday for interment.

Frank's death is listed in the Illinois death index, which gives his age at time of death as 21 years. Rock Island, IL, is nearly 200 miles west of Evanston and located along the Mississippi River, directly across from Davenport.

The death index contains the following entry for William and Ellen's son, Allen:


Later years. The 1910 census lists William and Ellen at 832 Sherman Avenue, in Evanston, and confirms that she has had two children, neither of whom is living. Ellen's widowed sister, Anna M. Phillips, who was also born in PA, has joined them by now. The village of South Evanston was annexed by the village of Evanston in 1892 and is now a part of the City of Evanston. The Langtons' home is about two miles south of Northwestern University. As a Union Army veteran, William plays an active rôle in the affairs of the local Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) post.

Several other news items in the Tribune mention the Langtons. The following appeared 9 Mar 1890:

Mr. and Mrs. Langton will leave Monday for a month's visit in Florida.
13 Apr 1890:
Mrs. W. H. Langton returned from Florida Friday.
W. H. Langton was mentioned as a pallbearer from Logan Post G.A.R. at the funeral of General Julius White, a South Evanston resident, at Rosehill Cemetery, 16 May 1890. The 5 Jan 1891 issue also mentions the G. A. R. post:

Officers of John A. Logan Post Instituted
A Presentation.

The public installation exercises of the John A. Logan Post, No. 540, G.A.R., were held in the hall of the post, Connor's Block, Evanston, Saturday evening... The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: ...

Officer-of-the-Day, William H. Langton; ...

At the beginning of 1890, the post numbered 115 members...
Just how "prominent" is this man who is listed as a railroad clerk or a clerk in a coal company? He manages to make the news again 7 Dec 1897:
The roster of the grand jury for the January term of the Criminal Court, which was drawn yesterday by the Jury commission, again contains the names of many prominent business-men. The list follows:

... W. H. Langton, Evanston...

There's another mention of William H. Langton's GAR activities in pp. 182-183 of A Classic Town: The Story of Evanston, Frances Elizabeth Willard, 1891, Woman's Temperance Publishing Association:

...Evanston's war record has as its sequel the efficient activities of the John A. Logan Grand Army Post. By means of frequent lectures and entertainments they keep alive the sense of old time comradeship. Probably their most notable exploit was a magnificent reception given to Mrs. General Logan, in the First M. E. Church, October 24, 1889.

We can not better close this chapter than with the following summary of the history of the post, and a soldier-preacher's unique comment on it:

"General John A. Logan, Post No. 540, Department of Illinois G.A.R., was organized October 21, 1885, under the name of Gamble Post. The name was changed on the death of Logan. Its commanders who now rank as Post [Past?] Commanders are Eli R. Lewis, William H. Langton and E. S. Weeden. Present commander, J. W. Thompson. Number of members, one hundred and eight. It has on its roster many distinguished citizens, amongst whom might be named Gen. John L. Beveridge, Judge David T. Corbin, Chaplain W. A. Spencer, Professor William H. Cutler, Frank P. Crandon, D. B. Dewey, P. N. Fox, Holmes Hoge, W. S. Harbert, Dr. I. Poole, H. A. Pierson and Gen. Julius White. Many others might be added did space permit. Evanston was well represented in the War of the Rebellion, but the Eighth Illinois Cavalry probably stands highest amongst the organizations prominently represented from our village. -- J. W. THOMPSON."

Like William Langton, General Logan and Frances Willard were residents of Evanston. Page 417 of the same book lists W. H. Langton, as Officer of the Day, among the first officers of the post when it was organized and chartered in October 1885.

Death. Civil War pension records include an entry for William H. Langton which indicates his widow, Ellen R. Langton, filed an application for a widow's pension 26 Apr 1918. After William's death, Ellen and Anna move to Williamsport, in Warren county, Indiana, about 160 miles south of Evanston, to live with their sister Martha "Mattie" Walters. The three sisters were enumerated together there in the 1920 census.

This page was last updated 25 Apr 2010.