Monday, February 3, 2014

William Monroe: A Civil War Veteran

Few Monrovians may know that their city’s founder, William Monroe, had red hair that was once described as having “a perfect wave.” They may also not realize that Monroe was a schoolteacher, or that he was a veteran of the Civil War. Indeed, following Monroe’s graduation from college, he taught school in a small Iowa community. However, shortly thereafter, the Civil War broke out. Monroe joined the First Regiment of the Iowa Volunteer Calvary when he was barely twenty years old, and rode a horse from his father’s farm.

Monroe served with the First Regiment until 1863, at which point, now commissioned as First Lieutenant, he was transferred to the Seventh Iowa Regiment. It was while serving at Fort Kearney in present-day Nebraska that he met and married his wife, schoolteacher Mary Jane Hall. At the conclusion of the Civil War in 1865, Monroe was mustered out of service, now with the rank of Major. It was said that he never used the title, and few who knew him later in life were aware that he had achieved this rank during his service.

In Library Park there is a monument dedicated to him on the Southeast corner

If you would like to learn more about William Monroe, Monrovia Library has books about Monrovia's history available for library use.

Source: Edithe Harbison Hathaway, William Newton Monroe (1935); folder: Monroe, Mr. and Mrs. William Newton, vertical files; Heritage Room, Monrovia Public Library, Monrovia, California.