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Monticello, Minnesota 
May 6, 1920

Andrew McCornack
Death of a Gallant Veteran of 61

 

The death of Andrew McCornack on Tuesday morning came as a great surprise and a shock to many friends.  Mr. McCornack has suffered from rheumatism for the past two or three months but his friends did not think there was anything more serious.  A short time ago he took to his bed and did not rally, passing away early Tuesday morning.

 

Funeral services were held from the M.E. church this afternoon which was filled to overflowing by friends and citizens.  The GAR veterans and the WRO were there in a body, Mr. McCornack having been an officer in the local post for many years.  He was accorded a military funeral participated in by the members of the American Legion of Monticello.  The casket was covered with beautiful flowers and with Old Glory, a flag that the dead veteran loved beyond everything.  For years he has been an honored and most useful member of the M.E. church, serving as Sunday School superintendent for twenty years.  He will be greatly missed not only by his immediate family but by a host of friends in this town who knew his worth.

Andrew McCornack was born April 2, 1844 near Elgin, Kane County, Illinois.  His parents were John McCornack and Martha Malinda McMillan both of Scotch parentage.  If the child is father to a man, I am sure he was a robust lusty.  Andrew grew to manhood on his fathers farm, and in August 1862 enlisted in Co. I, 127th Regt. of Illinois Infantry to serve in the great war of the rebellion.  He was as good a soldier has he had been a farmer lad.

His regiment was sent to Memphis, Tenn.; and was assigned to Grant’s army under the immediate command of Gen. W.T. Sherman.  Here he participated in all the maneuvers and battles of that active, untiring commander.

He helped to dig Grant’s great ditch and was along with Sherman on the expedition to Young’s Point and was in the movement against Vicksburg from start to finish.  He was on the skirmish line that drove in the rebel pickets as Grant closed in on the doomed fortress.

It is recorded that Private Andrew McCornack fired the first shot over the walls of Vicksburg, aimed at an officer who was riding along the works.  At the first assault on the city young McCornack was a comrade, made himself conspicuous for noble courage and fearlessness by carrying from the field several wounded comrades in the midst of a perfect hail of shot and shell.

May 22nd, preceding the second great assault on the fortress a number of volunteers were called for to lead an assault and McCornack was quick to respond.

Soon after Vicksburg surrendered, Andrew was promoted to sergeant in his company and given a furlough to visit his home.

Congress voted him a “medal of honor” for his conspicuous gallantry.  Young McCornack was along with Sherman on that wonderful flanking campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta, and for one hundred and ten consecutive days was constantly within range of the enemy’s bullets and shells.  He marched with Sherman from “Atlanta to the sea” and up through the Carolina’s and Virginia to Washington.  His regiment was detailed to forage for the “Army of the Tennessee” and on that great march they reveled in horses and cattle and in the turkeys and sweet potatoes which the old song has made famous.

After the grand review at Washington his regiment was soon mustered out and McCornack returned to his home near Elgin, Illinois.  He was a modest man and one would scarcely believe, to look at him, that his young life was so thrilling and wonderful.

Shortly after leaving the army, Andrew, following Horace Greeley’s advice, “went west.”  He settled in Monticello, Minn.

On May 8, 1919, Mr. And Mrs. McCornack celebrated their golden wedding which was a most joyful event to all who participated.

All the children except Mrs. Mott of North Dakota, and Mrs. Moulton of Washington, were present at the funeral and two sisters, of of Cleveland, Ohio and the other of Elgin, Illinois.

 

OBITUARY 

Our community was shocked and grieved to hear of the sudden death of Andrew McCornack, which occurred at his home early Tuesday morning, May 4th, 1920.  He had been confined to his bed for three weeks with sciatic rheumatism and stomach trouble.  For a week he had been improving, but Sunday suffered a paralytic stroke after which he never regained consciousness.  His wife, son and four daughters were at his bedside as he passed peacefully into the Great Beyond just at daybreak.

Andrew McCornack was born at Elgin, Ill., April 2nd, 1844.  He was the eldest child and only son.  In August 1862 he enlisted as a volunteer in Co. I, 127th Reg. Illinois Infantry, in which company he served for two years and eleven months.  He was with Sherman’s Army from Chattanooga to Atlanta and from “Atlanta to the Sea,” and was awarded a medal for special bravery at the Battle of Vicksburg.  It was after this battle he was promoted to Sergeant.

He first came to Minnesota in the summer of 1867.  On May 3rd, 1869, he was married to Elsie Hanaford and returned to Elgin, where he and his wife remained for six years, and where three of their ten children were born.  They then returned and settled on a farm near Monticello.  Eighteen years ago they retired from farming and made their home in the village.

Mr. McCornack was always a public-spirited man, standing in readiness to do whatever he could for the country he loved and helped to save.  For many years he was assessor in town and village, and while engaged in this work his circle of friends was greatly widened and his cheery, kindly face was warmly welcomed in may of the remote corners of the township.  He was especially active in temperance work and in the G.A.R. Post.  He was a charter member of the original Post organized in this town, and was always its leader, at the time of his death holding the position of Chaplain and Adjutant.

Mr. McCornack was raised a Presbyterian, and his life was a beautiful testimony to the training of his good Scotch parents.  In 1891 he united with the Methodist church and words are inadequate to describe his work in this church and the Sunday School in which he took such joy and price.  As trustee and as Sunday School Superintendent (in which capacity he served for over twenty years), as one of the “Minute Men” and as a regular attendant at all church services, he showed his unfailing allegiance to his Great commander.

Funeral services were held at the M.E. church at 2:30 Thursday p.m., conducted by Rev. G.R. Geer, the local pastor, and Rev. E. C. Cook of Brainard, a former pastor.  The community had delighted to honor Mr. McCornack while living; they also honored him in death by the closing of all places of business and amusement during the hours of the services.  The love and respect in which he was held by all was shown by the great crowd in attendance, by the exquisite floral offerings from church, Sunday School, different organizations, friends and relatives; by the tears shed by the old, the young and the little children as they came to the home or the church for one last look on one who had always proved himself a friend.

The remains, which were laid to rest in Hillside Cemetery, were accorded a military burial by Civil War veterans, the American Legion, and W.R.C.  As the list rites were read, the sun shone forth on the flower-laden casket and the bowed heads.  As those living dimly felt the beauty of the perfect spring day, and realized the glory of a well spent life, Christ’s words were vividly verified: “Well done good and faithful servant enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

 

Article Contributed by:  Betsy and Bernie Huseth (Bernie is Mr. McCornack's great-grandson). 

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