SETH WATSON HERRICK
Major, Co. G, 2nd Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry
First President of the London Branch of American Civil War Veterans
Seth Watson Herrick was born at Greene, Kennebec Co., Maine in 1834.
In 1857 Herrick was living in Maryland and by 1860 was an Engineer and Draughtsman engaged in surveying.
Herrick enlisted on 29th October, 1861 as a Private in Co. G, 2nd Maryland Eastern Shore Infantry. The following year he was promoted to Captain and to Major on 11th January, 1864. Records indicate that Herrick was present for duty for all the Civil War actions in which his regiment participated. His 1902 pension claim states that during action at Snickers Ferry he received a bullet wound on the top of his head.
After his discharge, Herrick lived in Crumpton, Md., moving to Salem, N.J. in 1866, Beverley, N.J. in 1868 and Washington, N.J. in 1870. In 1880 Herrick is described as Manager of the Meriden Purchasing Co. Herrick appears to have travelled between England and America for work and by 1887 he was back in England which appeared to be his permanent home.
In the 1891 UK Census Herrick is described as “Manufacturer of ‘Koko for the Hair'” and living in Earl’s Court Road, Kensington. Herrick’s marriage in 1861 to Maryland-born Harriet Divers appears to have ended by 1901 as the UK Census shows him to be living with Yorkshire-born Ada Schreiber who was later buried in the same grave plot as Herrick. Meanwhile, the 1900 US Census shows Harriet as living in Roanoke, Va., where she later died in 1910.
In 1902 the 68-year old Herrick, now described as an Advertising Agent, applied for a Federal Veteran’s Pension with the US Consul General. He claimed that he was “wholly incapacitated for earning a support for manual labor by reason of a rupture on the left side caused in the service and also a rupture now on the right side and general debility by reason of age”. The hernia, he claimed, “was caused by lifting to float a boat while I was in command of the Coast Guard to prevent blockade running on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 1863. That on the right side by using a heavy press some three years since”.
On 10th April, 1903 Herrick was granted a pension of $6 a month, increased in 1905 to $12 a month on account of his total inability to earn a support and finally rising to $30 in July, 1912. We can assume that Herrick came across John Davis who in 1910 founded the London Branch of American Civil War Veterans for comradeship and to support Civil War veterans living in reduced circumstances and poverty. Its base in Bermondsey was in close proximity to Herrick who, by 1912, was a resident of Lambeth.
The London Branch of American Civil War Veterans grew to a peak of some 150 members and Herrick appears to have been the highest-ranking Union veteran among the London veterans. This may well be the reason Davis persuaded Herrick to accept the post of President. It’s not known how active Herrick was within the organisation but it’s quite possible that his role was more nominal and honorary than functional.
Herrick died on 17th January, 1918 and was buried at Hendon Park Cemetery. No headstone was provided but, after 101 years, Ensign John Davis Camp No. 10 have successfully obtained a Veteran’s gravestone to mark his grave.
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