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Adonaram Judson Ramsdell, was born on February  4, 1842 at Newtonville, County Middlesex, Massachusetts in America; to Joshua and Frances Ramsdell. Adonaram’s residence was listed as being in Newtonville, Massachusetts when at nineteen years of age and working as a carpenter, he decided to enlist at Readvill, Massachusetts as a Private in Company M, 1st Regiment US Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry; on September 17, 1861. Six days later, on September 23, 1861 Ramsdell was officially mustered into Company M of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry. Upon the expiration of his enlistment he Re-enlisted, on January 26, 1864, into the Independent Battalion of Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry under Major Stevens, at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, where Fort Walker is located. Later he was transferred to Co. M, 4th Regiment USV Cavalry. On February 24, 1864 Adoniram was promoted to Corporal and on September 25 promoted again to Quater-master Sergeant. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts military records state he was honourably mustered out of service at Boston Harbour, Mass., on November 14, 1864, but on his pension application Adoniram states he was honourably discharged at Richmond, Virginia, November 14th, 1865. The reason for the discrepancy is unknown.

During Ramsdell’s period of enlistment he served with his Company in the famous Battle of Ocean Pond, better known as the Battle of Olustee, Florida, which occurred in February of 1864, two miles east of Lake City, Florida. It was part of General Seymour’s push to destroy the Confederate cattle collection depot in Lake City and then to push on and capture the capital of Florida; the only southern capital never to be taken by the Union. It turned out to be one of the worst defeat ever experienced by the Union Army. His Company M, then moved southwest to quarters at “Horse Landing” on the St. Johns River, Florida from August 1864 through March 1865; where the Union ship “Columbine” was captured and destroyed by Capt. J.J. Dickenson and his Confederate cavalry. Company M also saw action at Petersburg in August and September of 1864, at Chaffin’s Farm on September 28th, Harrison’s Landing on October 13th, Fair Oaks on October 27th, at Charles City in November and pulled duty at the 24th Army Headquarters in Richmond until March 1865.

After his discharge Adoniram said that he continued to live in Washington D.C. until around 1869 when he returned to Newton, Massachusetts.  On June 15, 1871, Adoniram was married to Adelaide Augusta Rumrell who was living in Watertown at the time, about four miles north of Newton, Massachusetts. Adoniram stated his occupation was that of a freight agent and that he and Addie were both 29 years of age at the time. They were married in Providence, Rhode Island  by Edward Bartlett; a Congregational pastor. Adelaide Augusta Rumrell was born in New York City to Artemas and Hannah Rumrell. Artemas gave his birthplace as Townsend and though  there is no Townsend in the state of New York, there is one in Massachusetts; about 45 miles northwest of Newton, Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border. Hannah gave her birthplace as New York.  Their marriage only lasted four years, as Addie died in Newton on July 2, 1875 from diptheria, at of 33 years of age, and was buried there. Adoniram stated that they had no children.

Adoniram left Newton, Massachusetts for Australia on July 12, 1877. Upon arriving in Australia  Adoniram married Miss. Grace McIntyre McLean in North Fitzroy on June 4, 1881 by Rev. Adam Anderson; it was her first marriage.   Grace was born at Bairnsdale, Victoria, Australia, the daughter of David McLean and Isabella McPherson who were married in North Fitzroy on June 4, 1881 by the Rev.Adam Anderson. Adoniram and Grace had six children; Leila Isabell born in August 8, 1881 in Richmond, Victoria, Australia; Aubry J (L?) born on  October 13, 1883; George Perkins born in March 18, 1886 in Preston Victoria, Australia; Warren David born on June 15, 1890; Norman Arthur born in September 13, 1893 in Yea, Victoria, Australia and William Ennis born on September 23, 1897. In 1916 Adoniram’s death certificate listed  Lella  as age 34, Aubrey James as 32, George as 30, Warren as 28, Norman as 22 and William as 18. His son, Warren David, married Katheleen Jolley in New South Wales, Australia. Warren and Kathleen Ramsdell had a son named Edward John who married Ida Avis Tindale in New South Wales, Australia. Edward John died in 1993 in Lakes Entrance, Victoria, Australia. Edward and Ida had a daughter, Pauline Claire, who later married Kevin Austin Shine and they had a daughter named Jacqueline Margaret who married Stephen Daniel O'Sullivan. Jacqueline Margaret is the great great granddaughter living today in Moe, Australia. Adoniram Judson dropped the name Adoniram and simply went by the name Judson Ramsdell.

In 1908 Ramsdel applied for a US Government pension under the Pension Act of 1907, when he was sixty-six years of age stating that he had applied for one around 1904 but had been unsuccessful because at that time he was still earning a living. He again re-applied in 1912, due to a new Pension Act that  had been passed by the U.S. Congress that year, but by then he must have already  been on the pension rolls as he quoted his pension number as being number 1152817. His Pension Certificate was dated February 13, 191;, backdated to January 7, 1913. His pension amounted to $25.00 a month with a promise to increase it to $30.00; beginning on February 4, 1917

Adonoram Judson Ramsdell, however, died from old age on January 9, 1916 at the age of 73 in Melbourne Hospital at Clifton Hill, Melbourne East, Victoria, Australia; and was buried on January 11, 1916 at Coburg Cemetery, Victoria, Australia. In 1991 the American Veterans Administration provided a bronze plaque which was placed as a marker for his gravesite.


Jacqui O’Sullivan, Moe, Australia, GG Granddaughter

Andrew McConville, State Library of Victoria

From America to Australia, Jacqui O’Sullivan, Moe, Australia

Historical Data Systems, Inc.

Massachusetts Soldiers, Sailors and Marines in the Civil War

U.S. Dept of Archives, Civil War Enlistment Index Card File


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