Gilbert C. Lucier, 11th Vermont
Gilbert C. Lucier enlisted in the 11th Vermont Infantry, Company "F", on October 27, 1863, at the age of 16, and was discharged on September 1, 1865. He was wounded in the left leg on June 1, 1864, at Cold Harbor, Virginia. Gilbert was one of five Vermont Veterans who attended the 75th Battle Reunion of the Blue and Gray at Gettysburg June 30-July 5, 1938. At the time of his death, Gilbert was the last Civil War Veteran and Grand Army of the Republic member residing in Vermont "The PROCEEDINGS of the VERMONT HISTORICAL SOCIETY, Vol. XXIII, No. I, January 1955". He died at the age of 97 on September 22, 1944. Gilbert is the son of Charles Lucier, 2nd United States Sharpshooters, Company "E".
Personal Sketch taken from "New England's Last Civil War Veterans, Jay S. Hoar, Copywrite © 1976", used with permission.
Gilbert was born in Enosburg Falls, Vermont, to Charles and Ellen Lucier, natives of Quebec, Canada. As a Vermonter, he would always live near the Canadian Border. Early in his youth the Lucier's settled in the Jay, Vt. area, where Gilbert grew up . . . mostly. Actually, he did grow several inches after he became a private in Co. F, 11th Vt. Heavy Artillery in late October 1863. His father, Charles, had gone off to the war two years before him. Gilbert, now sixteen and a half, allowed that it was his turn to go.
We know that Gilbert Lucier's Civil War was the real thing. With Co. F he fought in the Battle of the Wilderness (May 6, 1864), where 5,597 of his fellow Northern soldiers were killed, and another 21,463 were wounded. Two days later at Spottsylvania, Co. F fought for forty-eight hours, but the two armies were exhausted in a stalemate.
Less than a month later at the Second Battle of Cold Harbor, where both sides lost a total of 10,000 men, Pvt. Lucier received a gunshot wound in his left leg. He was removed to a hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, where he nearly lost his leg by an infection. His bout with the ever-present typhoid fever didn't help matters. Upon satisfactory recovery, Gilbert was assigned guard duty at Brattleboro, Vt., in the late summer of 1864. That September he was transferred to St. Albans, Vt., for further guard duty. He was destined to be present for the most northerly engagement of the entire Civil War-the famous surprise raid of a force of Confederates on Oct. 19, 1864. An overpowering Rebel band made off with funds and supplies from local banks and businesses that day. It was more than a few armed guards could prevent. With some justice, Lucier thought, it remarkable that the Civil War should have practically come to his birthplace.
Perhaps one other occurrence in his Civil War should be noted. He would want us to mention that while he was with the Army of the Potomac, he saw President Lincoln, one of his fondest boasts. He was discharged Sept. 1, 1865, at Burlington, Vt.
On Oct. 3, 1868, he married Lucy Ann King of Berkshire, Vt. They were married nearly seventy-three years upon her passing in late July 1941. They had four children. During Mr. Lucier's earlier working life he was employed for the Carson Trench Machine Co. in Charleston, Mass. Twice he served in the Vermont Legislature, 1892 and 1920. He was a farmer and for twenty years was Road Commissioner for the town of Jay.
In late June 1938, Mr. Lucier in company with his nephew, Graham Lucier, journeyed to the famous 75th Battle Reunion of the Blue and Gray at Gettysburg. Also with him was Leander Allen (Nov. 26, 1847-Mar. 28, 1940) of neighboring North Troy. Mr. Allen, a fellow comrade of Bailey Post 67, was by trade a monument engraver. People remember him as often talking about his work and his having been a drummer boy at age fifteen. In a March 9, 1975 letter from Louise Sargent of Newport, Vt. (residence actually in Derby Line and nearest neighbor living in Canada), we have this vignette of an old soldier about whom not much is available:
I remember Mr. Allen. He had an old Model T and I don't believe he drove it over 25 mph. One time two of my brothers were hitch-hiking to Newport (12 miles from North Troy). He gave them a ride. Their comment after, was: "I think we could have made it quicker if we'd walked!"
In his March 6, 1975 letter from North Troy, Vt., Homer Baraw shares these thoughts:
I personally knew Gilbert Lucier and have been at his home in Jay when he and his wife were there. (The buildings are in good repair and use today.) I well remember an incident that occurred about 1940. At that time many problems arose if a person tried crossing the Border (1/2 mile from North Troy) if he didn't have his Birth Certificate. My father was one of those who could find no record of his birth. He found out that such a record could be made if he could find two witnesses who would swear as to where and when he was born. Everyone thought that Father, being 73, would have a very difficult time trying to do this. However, he had lived and worked in Jay with Gilbert Lucier for years and knew that he had been named "GILBERT" in honor of Mr. Lucier. He had the proper authorities contact Mr. Lucier, and he and his wife did swear that they were newlyweds at the time of Gilbert Baraw's birth, and that they both worked for and lived in the same house with Ambrose Baraw and wife (my grandfather), and that my father was born Sept. 19, 1867, in Troy, Vt., and even told them the exact location of the buildings where he was born. Father received a vital copy of his Birth Certificate soon after.
Finally, in her Mar. 25, 1975 letter from Brattleboro, Vt., Mrs. Gladys L. McGinnis offers more of our story.
He was my uncle and I knew him nearly forty years. None of his children are living today. He was a rather stocky man, straight, with white hair and mustache. I especially remember him as a kindly man who had time for children. He had a great booming voice that could be heard very clearly all over the cemetery on Memorial Days . . . leaving a lasting impression on the young people. He was a great hand to walk a lot, and his work called for it, whether as a gardener or road commissioner. After his wife died, he lived with his daughters, Mabel E. Nason in Needham, Mass., and with Mrs. Maude A. Lucier in Wamesit, Mass. We always called on him when we were in Jay. Each summer he'd return to his beloved town, to his life-long home beneath Jay Peak.
Gilbert Lucier came to be a symbol of the late G.A.R. in Vermont. After 1940 there were very few comrades left. The record shows that Charles A. Heyer of St. Johnsbury, who died at age ninety-three on July 13, 1942, was the Green Mountain State's next-to-last in-state Civil War soldier. Born in Mallapoisett, Mass., he moved with his folks to St. Johnsbury, Vt. in 1860, where his father went to work at the Paddock Iron Works. On Feb. 15, 1865, Charles enlisted as a private in the 8th Vt. Int. and served with them in the Shenandoah Valley until his discharge June 28, 1865. He joined Chamberlain Post 1 in St. Johnsbury in June 1885; he held every office in the post and was Vermont Department Commander in 1932 and again during 1938-1942, upon the death of the previous commander, Harvey C. Powers. In the National G.A.R., Mr. Heyer was Ass't. Adjutant General on the Staff of George A. Gay, National Cmdr-in-Chief. Vermont's lone Boy in Blue was a charter member of Bailey Post No. 67 in North Troy. After a short stay at Orleans County Memorial Hospital in Newport, Comrade Lucier answered his last bugle call. With him perished the Department of Vermont Grand Army of the Republic. Though he rests today in a peaceful setting of Jay Cemetery, succeeding generations of adults and schoolchildren in the Missisquoi River Valley have held a warm place for him, who, to them, embodied the highest degree of patriotism.
The documents that follow were taken from Gilbert's Civil War Pension File. Each document has been copied as it was originally written, with all spelling and grammar errors. Click on the thumbnail image to view the actual document.
Officer's Certificate of Disability (2nd Lt. Moses G. Sargent)
I, Moses G. Sargent, of Company "F", of the 11th Regiment of Vermont Volunteers, certify on honor that Gilbert Lucier was a Private in my Company, and is, as I am informed, an applicant for an Invalid Pension; that for what reason he was discharged is not know to me. And I further certify that the said Gilbert Lucier was wounded in his leg by a rifle ball on the 1st day of June AD 1864 and when in the time of his duty and when actually engaged with the enemy at a place called Cold Harbor in the State of Virginia. And that the said Gilbert Lucier was in a sound condition when he entered the service and up to the time of his being wounded.
M. G. Sargent,
2nd Lt., Co. H, 11th Regt. Vt. Vols.
Declaration of Gilbert Lucier for an Additional Invalid Pension
State of Vermont, Orleans County.
On this 2nd day of May AD 1890 personally appeared before me, H. B. Cushman, Clerk of the County Court a court of record within & for the county & state aforesaid. Gilbert Lucier, aged 42 years a resident of the town of Jay county of Orleans & State of Vermont who being duly sworn according to law declares that he is the identical person who was enrolled on the 27th day of October AD 1863 in Company "F", 11th Regt. Vt., Vols. (1st Heavy Artillery) commanded by Capt. James Rice & was transferred from said Regt. & company to the Veteran Reserve Corps Nov. 22nd AD 1864 to 1st Lt. Fred M. Kimballs Company (246 1st Battalion) & was honorably discharged at Burlington Vt. on the 1st day of September AD 1865 - that his personal description is as follows, is seventeen years of age, 5 feet 5 inches high, dark complexion, dark eyes, dark hair. That while a member of the first mentioned organization in the service & in the line of his duty at Fort Slocum near Washington D.C. on or about the 15th of January AD 1864 he contracted lung difficulty, as the result of a severe cold taken while on picket duty. That while on the march from Washington D.C. to Spottsylvania Court House on or about the 15th day of May AD 1864 contracted diarrhea which after a short time became chronic. That while the regiment was camped at Belle Plain Va. on that march on the night of May 12th 1864 he contracted rheumatism by reason of the exposure which he was subjected to during that night. That he was treated in hospitals as follows: Sickels Barracks Ward A, Alexandria Va. from the 6th day of June to the first of August 1864 and at Montpelier Vt. from the first of Aug. to about the middle of Nov. 1864.
That he has not been employed in the military or naval service otherwise than as stated above. That he is now enrolled in the Concord NH. Pension Agency at the rate of $8. per month for gun shot wound of the left leg & this declaration is made to secure an additional pension to the one that he is already drawing.
That since leaving the service this applicant has resided in the town of Jay Vt. With the exception of two years in the town of Barton Vt. viz: from March 1869 to March 1871 & his occupation has been that of a farmer. That prior to his entry into the service above named he was a man of good sound physical health.
Letter to United States Senator David I. Walsh from Mrs. Mabel E. Nason (Gilbert's daughter) for an Increase to Gilbert Lucier's Pension
Feb 23rd 1942
To The Honorable David I. Walsh
I wish to find out about the law governing pensions to Civil War veterans, in regard to the amount one can draw, when one is in the condition of my Father. He will be 95 the 8th day of April and at the present time he has to have a nurse, and for the past three years, has had some one to help dress him, cut his food and in fact would have required a nurse, if it had not been for my Mother, who by the way passed on the 21st of July. Since then he has lived with my sister, who is a widow, as well as myself, and we both work and have never called on the Government for old age assistance.
My Father served in the Civil War for 3 yrs, as well as his Father.
Now I would like to know if he is entitled to more than $100 per month under present conditions. One of the worst troubles is that cataract has nearly destroyed his vision and he can not be operated on as the Dr. says at his age it is impossible to have an operation.
Would it be too much trouble to find out if there was a law passed to give G.A.R. soldiers more than $100 per month, if they required medical aid and a nurse?
My Fathers name is Gilbert Lucier and is living in Wamesit, Mass.
Thanking you for anything you can do for us, I remain,
Very Truly Yours,
Mrs. Mabel E. Nason
Response from Director, Veterans' Claims Service to Mrs. Mabel E. Nason for an Increase to Gilbert Lucier's Pension
March 11, 1942
This is in further reference to the pension claim of Mr. Gilbert Lucier, which has been the subject of inquiry by Honorable David I. Walsh, United States Senate.
The veteran's present pension of $100.00 monthly is the maximum amount provided by existing legislation for a Civil War veteran who is shown to be so helpless or blind as to require the regular aid and attendance of another person. No action may be taken by this administration, therefore, to increase the amount of your father's pension.
The postage stamps which accompanied your letter are returned herewith, no postage being required on official communications.
Geroge E. Brown,
Director, Veterans' Claims Service.
COUPLE MARRIED 66 YEARS - MR. AND MRS. GILBERT C. LUCIER
NORTH TROY, Oct. 3. - Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert C. Lucier quietly observed the 66th anniversary of their marriage at their home in Jay village, today. Mr. and Mrs. Lucier were married in Enosburg Falls, October 3, 1868. With the exception of a, few years spent in Boston, they have lived all the years since their marriage in Jay. Mr. Lucier is the eldest and one of only two surviving members of a family of 12 children born to Charles and Helen (Labor) Lucier of Enosburg. Mrs. Lucy (King) Lucier is one of a family of 13 children born to Mr. and Mrs. William King of Dunham, Quebec. Both Mrs. Lucier's parents reached the age of 98 years.
Both Gilbert C. and his father, Charles Lucier, saw service in the Civil War, the latter as a member of Company "G", First Vermont Sharpshooters and the former as a member of Company "F", 11th Vermont Regiment. He was wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor. For several years he was the foreman of the extensive lumber interests of B. F. Paine. He represented Jay in the legislature of 1882, and again, after a lapse of 38 years, in 1920. The offices of selectman, school director and road commissioner Mr. Lucier has held to the satisfaction of his townsmen. Mr. and Mrs. Lucier's surviving children are two daughters, Mrs. Mabel Nason of Needham, Mass., and Mrs. Maud Lucia of Tewksbury, Mass.
Gilbert Lucier, Last Civil War Veteran in Vermont Dies - 97 Years of Age - Was Nearly Life Long Resident of Jay, 22 September 1944.
JAY, Sept. 22, (Special) - Gilbert Lucier, 97, of this town, last surviving member of the Grand Army of the Republic in Vermont and the state's last Civil War veteran, died at the Orleans County Memorial hospital early this morning. Nearly a life long resident of this town, Lucier enlisted at the age of 16 with his father, the late Charles Lucier, in the Union cause and served in the 11th Vermont regiment, Company F, for 2 years and 3 months. He participated in the battles of the Wilderness and Cold Harbor, where he was wounded in action on June 1, 1864.
In the late months of 1863 he was stationed on guard duty at St. Albans where he was an armed guard at the time of the famous and fantastic raid of Confederate troops on banks and other institutions of that city.
He was honorably discharged in 1865 at Burlington. In July of 1938 he attended the 75th reunion of Civil War veterans at Gettysburg, PA, accompanied by his nephew, Graham Lucier of this town, a veteran of World War I.
Lucier had vivid recollections of both President Lincoln and commander-in-chief of the Union armies, General Ulysses S. Grant.
Born in Enosburg Falls, his family moved to Jay when he was a mere youngster. He married Lucy A. King, who died in 1941. Prior to the death of Mrs. Lucier, the well-known couple were honored by their many friends on the attainment of their 72nd wedding anniversary on October 3rd, 1940.
The last of the Grand Army of the Republic in Vermont, Mr. Lucier was a charter member of Bailey Post, North Troy, which at one time contained the names of 116 Civil War veterans. He was one of 39 Jay men who volunteered their services to save the Union. The town also had several citizens who enlisted to swell the quotas of other towns and states.
In recent years Mr. Lucier had spent the winters with his two daughters, Mrs. Arthur Lucia and Mrs. Ed Nason, in Wamesit and Needham, Mass., but had pleasurably returned each summer to his life-long home here beneath the shadows of Jay Peak.
For one of his years, Mr. Lucier had been in remarkably good health. This past summer, however, his advanced age brought on disabilities which gradually weakened him until his death early this morning. An attack of pneumonia a few years ago which would have overcome men his junior, was survived and he was able to carry on again as vigorously as many younger, continuing a keen interest in the affairs of his native town and state and always a firm supporter of the fortunes of his country.
Mr. Lucier had held many responsible elected offices in Jay in addition to being a man of varied farming and business interests throughout his long lifetime. He had been town representative, selectman and road commissioner among other public trusts.
Until recent years he had largely tended his own garden and even lately had supervised the summer garden plot.
In addition to his two daughters, Mabel E. Nason, Needham, Mass., who has been caring for him this summer, and Mrs. Maude A. Lucia, Wamesit, Mass., Mr. Lucier is survived by one brother, Walter Lucier of Brattleboro, and several nephews and nieces.
With his fast dwindling band of comrades of 1861-65, Mr. Lucier held for nearly four score years, a warm place in the hearts of the succeeding generations of school children in the Missisquoi river valley who came to look upon these stalwart men as embodying the highest type of self-sacrifice and patriotism.
Funeral arrangements will be announced by the family later.
Orleans County Pays Fine Tribute To Gilbert Lucier - Full Military Honors For Civil War Vet Solemn Funeral Services, September 25, 1944.
JAY, Sept., 25 (Special) - Orleans county paid deserved tribute to the late Gilbert Lucier, 97, with full military honors for the state's last veteran of the Civil War in solemn funeral services held at the veteran's late home, here, Sunday afternoon. The love and devotion of a reverently grateful people were in evidence at the final rites and committal for Vermont's sole surviving representative of the Grand Army of the Republic who was laid tenderly to eternal rest beneath the green sod of the hills he loved.
Every bud, every blossom, every wreath which banked the last resting place of this honored veteran seemed to symbolize not only the memory of the one departed but also of all those heroes of '61-'65 of Cold Harbor, The Wilderness, Gettysburg, who have been recruited to that army invisible; the deeds of which are today the source of inspiration to those called upon to valiantly uphold the traditions of the glorious past, so dear to the heart of every true American.
The large throng which gathered to pay their last respects to this honored and much loved old veteran was silent testimony to his high character and neighborly ways. The Reverend Robert C. Yoh, pastor of the North Troy Congregational Church, officiated and Olin Miller of North Troy sang two favorite hymns of the deceased during the service. Mr. Lucier was laid to rest beside his late wife in the Jay cemetery with Reverend Mr. Yoh giving the committal service.
The honorary bearers were Harry Drown, representing the Sons of Union Veterans, John Rocque of Newport and E. Taylor of Newport Center, representing the Spanish American War veterans, Byron Herrick of Derby Line, representing Foster Cosby Post, American Legion.
The active bearers were, Walker Degree, commander of the Jay Peak Post, American Legion, North Troy; Everett Martin, North Troy, Fred McAllister, Westfield, and Graham Lucier, Jay, all members of Jay Peak Post and the last named a nephew of the late Mr. Lucier.
The county commander of the American Legion, Warren Hopkins of Newport was in charge of the color bearers and color guards. The color bearers were Earl Westover, Jay, Leslie Leach, Newport, and the guards were N. P. Mayo, Newport, and George Hunter, Newport, all members of the American Legion.
District American Legion commander Grant Reed, of Newport was also in attendance.
The firing squad, Sgt. McMullen, Sgt. Davio, Sgt. Parker , and Cpl. Marsh, were supplied by the Vermont state guard through the courtesy of Capt. Earl Cheney, Newport. Sounding taps at the grave, the soldier's military honor, was Pvt. Carpenter, bugler, Co. L, Newport, and the echo sounded in the distance by George Paulette of North Troy.
Among the members of the Women's Relief Corps, auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, who were present to pay their tribute to Bailey Post's last member were: Mrs. John Rocque, past department president of Newport; Mrs. B. H. Doran, national delegate at large of Newport; Mrs. T. H. Ouimet, conductor, all of Baxter Post W. R. C., of Newport, also Mrs. Harvey Bolton, Mrs. Norman Toof, Mrs. Louise Marsh and Mrs. Lueen Manual of Bailey Post W. R. C., North Troy.
Among other friends from out of town in attendance were: Mrs. Mabel Nason, formerly of Needham, Mass., Mrs. Maude Lucia, Wamesit, Mass., Walter Lucier, Brattleboro, Mrs. Alice King, Tewksbury, Mass., Miss Catherine McGinnis, Brattleboro, Mrs. Louise Chamberlain, Westboro, Mass., Mrs. Violet Gallup, Mrs. C. A. Briggs, Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Cobleigh, Mr. and Mrs. Howard Day, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Mooney, and Harold Chamberlain, all of Newport.
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Last updated on 5 August 2000.