Share this article

print logo

LOCKPORT'S CIVIL WAR HERO

Col. Charles P. Sprout rose from simple blacksmith to military hero when he died in 1862 in the Civil War battle of Cedar Mountain, leading a regiment formed in Lockport.

Sprout was born in August 1826 in the Town of Stafford in Genesee County, the son of Hannah and Charles Sprout. The elder Sprout had been born in Massachusetts, where, before the age of 15, he was working in the armory in Springfield. Two years later, he was entrusted with the responsibility of coming to Niagara County on horseback to buy black walnut lumber to be converted into gun stocks at the armory, according to Edward T. Williams, Niagara Falls' first city historian, in his book, "Niagara County New York," a two-volume, "concise record" of the county's first 100 years, 1821-1921.

After spending one season here, Sprout returned to Springfield until he moved to Genesee County in 1824, then worked as a carpenter for the next 10 years. Williams wrote that Sprout had been impressed with Niagara County during his business trip here. In 1834, he bought land from the Holland Land Co. in the Town of Royalton near Dysingers' Corners, which he farmed until his death in 1881, 11 days before his 83rd birthday. He was buried in Union Cemetery at Dysinger's Corners.

Williams reported that Sprout had been a man of prominence in the county in public affairs and was a delegate to the convention when the Republican Party was organized in Niagara County.

Young Charles P., one of seven children, attended district schools and the academy at Royalton Center. After his schooling ended, he went to Lockport to learn the blacksmith trade and worked for 18 months in the shop of Riley P. Buttrick.

"He proved a quick learner for he was a natural mechanic," Williams wrote.

After leaving Buttrick's blacksmith shop, he worked for a time with the Carey Brothers in Lockport, then moved about from Buffalo to Cincinnati to Chippawa, Ont., and finally Toronto, where he was put in charge of a plant owned by Sir John MacDonald and remained for four months. He returned to this country, accepting a job as foreman of the blacksmithing department in the Alton Locomotive Works, Alton, Ill. He moved to Chicago in 1857 and then to Paterson, N.J., Williams said. But, unable to find work because of "a business depression," he returned to New York State.

When the Civil War broke out, Sprout had charge of a blacksmith shop in Seneca Falls.

"The call of President Lincoln for troops with which to suppress secession, found a ready response at Lockport, and the loyal young men who were interested in quickly raising an adequate army, remembered the patriotism, New England ancestry and executive ability of their former comrade, Charles P. Sprout, and the telegraphic message that was delivered to him at his forge in Seneca Falls was answered by his presence at Lockport as soon as he could reach the city," Williams wrote.

"He assisted in the organizing of the notable 28th Regiment, largely made up of Lockport men, of which he was first made a company lieutenant, later adjutant and finally colonel. This regiment went into service May 22, 1861, and, during the first year of war, made a noble record, which was afterward many times repeated, the personal bravery of Adjutant Sprout bringing him the commission of colonel prior to the fateful battle of Cedar Mountain. He fought valiantly to the last, and when his body was found his hand still grasped his gun barrel, from which the stock had been shot away. In recognition of his soldierly qualities and high personal character, the Grand Army of Republic post at Lockport was named in his honor."

Charles P. Sprout and his wife, the former Amanda Browning, had three children.

Seneca Sprout, a brother of Charles P. and Charles and Hannah's fifth child, followed his father in farming and longevity. He bought a farm on "Mountain Road," on which he carried on "general farming" for more than 50 years. In 1918, after securing the services of a capable farmer, he retired from active work on his large estate and moved to Lockport, "where he has a wide acquaintance," Williams wrote in his 1921 history. After his first wife, Eunice Dewey, died in 1917, he married Mary Brandt of Lockport. Seneca Sprout was the last surviving child of Charles and Hannah.

There are no comments - be the first to comment