Contributed by Clark H. Jillson
This is an image of Private Clark Harvey Jillson of the First Vermont Volunteer Infantry. The unit got as far as Camp Thomas at Chickamauga Georgia, where this image was taken.
Private Jillson was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont on October 17, 1876. He enlisted in Company F of the First Vermont on May 10, 1898. The unit journeyed from Vermont to Camp Thomas, on the former Civil War Battlefield of Chickamauga in Georgia. During the war, Jillson developed a dislike for tomatoes. It seems that the unit requisitioned potatoes, but were instead given wagons full of tomatoes. After having to subsist on the tomatoes for a long time, he apparently lost an desire to eat them in the future! Pvt. Jillson had one other interesting experience during the war. While standing guard in the mess hall, he noticed a notorious loudmouth and troublemaker attempting to pass through the chow line twice. Jillson confronted the man, telling him that he was not permitted to pass through the line again. After an argument, the man backed up, lowered his head, and charged. Instantly, the man fell to the ground, knocked out! Jillson, a much smaller man, used some ingenuity to stop the larger man. He placed his .45/70 Springfield rifle (seen in the photo) across the door frame in which he was standing. The man had run head-first into it! Everyone, also knowing the man to be a troublemaker, cheered.
On July 4, 1898, Jillson went AWOL for four days. It is assumed that he got caught up celebrating the holiday in town.
Private Jillson, along with his company, was discharged at Northfield, Vermont on October 26, 1898. The following year, he married Helena G. Trow, on August 23, 1899. The couple settled in Montpelier where they had three sons and a daughter. Jillson worked as a fireman on the Montpelier and Wells River Railroad before starting his own trucking and piano-moving company. For years he also served with the Montpelier Fire Department.
Clark Jillson died on March 21, 1941 and was buried in the West Berlin, Vermont, Cemetery, outside of Montpelier.