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William Booth Loughran, the son of Edward and Mary Jane Loughran, was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1847.  William was lovingly referred to a “Dobbin’ by his relatives. Edward Loughran was a draper and contractor and as a boy William worked for his father.   Eventually Edward Loughran moved with his family to Glasgow, Scotland, where William’s two brothers were born.   William grew up there and became a journalist, as did Edward, one of his brothers; and Edward became a well known poet of that period. One of his poems, “Dead Leaves” is well known even today. 

During the outbreak of the American Civil War, William migrated from Scotland  to America and found work as a store clerk. Then, possibly wanting to leave his boring job and induced by a recruiting fee, on March 16, 1865 he enlisted at eighteen years of age at Morristown, New Jersey as a substitute for another individual, receiving $100 for doing so; one-third of which was paid to him when he mustered in; into company “K”, 7th New Jersey Volunteer Infantry.

The 7th New Jersey Infantry was originally organized at Camp Olden, Trenton, New Jersey, was mustered in on September 3, 1861, and Loughran did not join it until some four months before the war ended. At some point William was transferred from Company “K” to Company “A” of the 7th New Jersey Infantry, and went on to participate in the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac around Richmond, Virginia.   During his short period of service, however, Loughran’s unit saw service at what was known as the Watkins' House on March 25th, served in the Appomattox Campaign from March 28th until April 9th, at Boydton and White Oak Road March 30-31st, at Crow's House on March 31st, saw the Fall of Petersburg on April 2nd, participated in the pursuit of General Lee from April 3rd through the 9th, was at Sailor's Creek on April 6th, at High Bridge, Farmville on April 7th, and at the Appomattox Court House on April 9th for the Surrender of Lee and his army. Afterwards they marched to Washington, D.C. from May 2nd until 12th and participated in the Grand Review on May 23rd. They then returned to duty at Washington, D.C. until July, when the 7th mustered out of service on July 17, 1865.

It is said William deserted the Union Army while at Bailey’s Cross Roads, Virginia, on June 8, 1865; but the date used today to determine military desertion is the date of the surrender and the end of the American Civil War, April 9, 1865; so if he deserted on June 8, 1865 it technically was not a desertion as the war was over, and like many of both sides, figuring they had done their duty, they simply went home.

William returned to the town of Killylack, in Drumglass Parrish, County Tyrone, Ireland and only four months after leaving the military, on October 3, 1865 William married eighteen year old Mary Elizabeth Healy of Dungannon, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, at the Dungannon Roman Catholic Church.  Sometime later William, his family and his brother Edward all migrated to Australia, making port in Brisbane, Queensland where William and Edward again became journalists.   They were later to go on and work in Melbourne, Victoria on the staff of the Age and Argus newspapers.   Edward, William’s brother, was already a well known Victorian poet and a journalist before leaving the old country and served on the Victorian Parliamentay Hansard Staff in Victoria for thirty-seven years

William for many years as a journalist, held a prominent position on the metropolitan press of Queensland and Victoria; including the Brisbane Courier, the Adelaide Advertiser, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Argus and served as Chief of Staff on The Age.  About the mid 1880’s, William moved to the inland town of Wagga Wagga, in New South Wales, and was associated with the Wagga Wagga Daily Advertiser as editor and lead writer for a quarter of a century; retiring at the end of 1906. William was a forcible, well informed writer, particularly well read in history and was an ardent federalist. William was also Vice president of the Wagga Wagga branch of the Australia Party when it was first formed (WWA July 17, 1906); and a member of the School of Arts Society in Wagga Wagga (WWA July 23, 1910).  

In 1914 William’s wife, Mary Elizabeth, a native of Dungannon, County Tyrone, Ireland and who came to Australia in 1878, died at the Wagga Wagga Hospital, at the age of sixty-six; she had a Roman Catholic burial, Sept 29 & 30, 1914. She had been very active in the church and in charitable work.  After the death of Mary Elizabeth, William moved in with his niece and her husband who lived in the town of Coolamon, New South Wales and was living there when he came down with a throat infection; a few months before his death.   William sought out the treatment of a specialist, in Sydney and around August 1916, was admitted to the Sacred Heart Hospice at Darlinghurst, New South Wales; and was still there when he passed away on September 1, 1916 at the age of sixty-nine. His funeral was held the following day and William Booth Loughran was buried in an unmarked grave in the Roman Catholic section of the Rookwood Cemetery, in Sydney, New South Wales; Catholic Section Mortuary 2, section E, grave no. 1969, without a headstone. A Mr. P. Maloney purchased the ‘Right of Burial’ for his gravesite.

 

A History of the 7th New Jersey Infantry, John Hayward.

Daily Advertiser, Wagga Wagga  newspaper, NSW, September 2, 1916

Eric Sinfield, Friends of Rookwood Cemetery

Lauren Carroll, Reference Archivist, Charles Sturt University

Larraine Home, Descendant

Larraine Hynes, Rootsweb

National Library of Australia

New Jersey State Archives

Otago News, October 1828

Paula Kuban, Catholic Cemeteries Board, N.S.W.

Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast, Ireland

Register of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, William

Stryker, Adjustant General.

Royal Australian Historical Society Collections, Sydney, NSW

Scotland National Census Records, 18550-1860

Sherry Morris Biographical Index

Wagga Wagga Library

William Booth Loughran, Compiled Military Records, National Archives,

Wash. D.C., U.S.A.

7th New Jersey Infantry Roster

7th New Jersey Regimental History

 

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