Gen. Andrew Barclay Spurling

b. 20 March 1833 (Cranberry Isles)
d. 22 August 1906 (Chicago)


General Andrew B. Spurling won the Congressional Medal of Honor in the Civil War.

MARCH 21, 1878 / Marriages / Boston, Mar. 12, by Rev. Robert G. Seymore, Gen. ANDREW B. SPURLING of Bucksport and Mrs. Harriet Stewart TISDALE of Ellsworth.

Abigail Elizabeth Little was born on 16 Sep 1810 at Castine, Hancock, Maine.  She was also known as Elizabeth E.  Children of William H. Black and Abigail Elizabeth Little were as follows:  ii. Harriett Stewart was born on 13 Feb 1837 at Ellsworth, Hancock, Maine.  She married Edward S. Tisdale on 16 Feb 1861.  She married Andrew B. Spurling on 21 Mar 1878.  [other children of Black & Little also listed]

draft of an appreciation by Ted Spurling, Sr.

The following is copied by BK from an old newspaper clipping:

Reminder of a Gallant Soldier

Portrait of General Andrew B Spurling in the [Maine] State House -- His Record
The portrait of the late Gen. Andrew Barclay Spurling, the gift of which to the adjutant general's office in the State House has been received at office and immediate measures were taken for placing it in position.  The portrait is an enlargement from a photograph and is enclosed in a heavy gilt frame.  The likeness is said by those who knew the general to be a good one.

Gen. Spurling was one of the most gallant soldiers of the Civil War.  He was born in Cranberry Isles, Hancock county, March 20, 1833.  His grandfather, Capt. Benj. Spurling, had many adventures on the sea with the English in the war of 1812, being for a time a prisoner on a British man of war.  His father, Capt. Samuel Spurling, master of the schooner Cashier of Cranberry Isles defeated a crew of pirates conspicuous on the coast of Cuba and his exploit was signalized by the citizens of Trinidad de Cuba with a gift of sword and pistols and a purse of $500 in gold.  The family was a race of sailors and fighting stock.  Andrew B. Spurling attended school until 12 years old and then became a sailor, following the traditions of the family.

At the age of 18 he went to California where he worked as a miner until nearly 20, when he took up a claim in San Jose valley and for four years lived as a farmer and hunter, becoming an expert rider.  He was a radical anti-slavery man and on one occasion is [s]aid to have fought a duel with a Southern man the weapons used being bowie knives.  Young Spurling was the victor, disabling his opponent, who was forced to cry for mercy.

In 1855 when 22 years of age, he returned to Maine and settled in Orland taking up again a sailor's life as captain, until he enlisted in the Civil War.  In September 1861, he enlisted in the United States Volunteers and was commissioned first lieutenant of Co. D., 1st Maine Cavalry and was promoted captain of the company in February 1863.  During his service in the 1st Maine he distinguished himself by many acts of personal daring, marking him as possessing the characteristics of a born cavalry partisan and soldier.  He commanded his company at the cavalry battle of Brandy Station and was wounded in a personal hand-to-hand fight at Upperville.

In January, 1864, Capt. Spurling was commissioned junior major of the 2d Maine Cavalry, and with his new regiment was ordered to the department of the Gulf, and was sent in command of four companies to Brazier City, La., where he was very active in fighting guerrillas and where in June he was promoted lieutenant colonel of the regiment.  In the early fall of 1864 the regiment was transferred to Florida, and there Colonel Spurling distinguished himself in many actions with the enemy, winning the approval of the commanding officers, the affection of the soldiers and subordinates and the respect of his foes.  He took part later in the operations against Mobile, and saw service in Alabama until mustered out, always with credit to himself and the cause he served, as is borne out by the official records, by the testimony of all who knew of his acts, by a Congressional medal of honor, conferring in 1897, and by his brevet rank of brigadier general.

At the close of the war he returned to his old calling as a sea captain, and was at one time wrecked off Cape May.  He was elected sheriff of Hancock county, served four years, and after a year was appointed postoffice inspector with headquarters at Chicago, holding his office for five years.  He was then president of the Chicago Rawhide Manufacturing company for 12 years, when he sold out and engaged in real estate in Elgin.

Gen. Spurling died August 23, 1906, at the Homeopathic hospital in Chicago agted [sic] 73 years, leaving a bright record as a brave and able soldier and citizen worthy of his country.

In addition to the portrait there has also been forwarded to the office the saber and pistols of both Gen Spurling and his father, and the gifts will always be treasured.

Another old clipping transcribed by BK:

Hon. Edward Wiggin of the Educational department, has received a letter from C.C. Roberts, formerly of Stockton Springs and a lieutenant in the 1st Maine Heavy Artillery, and now holding a position in the Chicago postoffice, saying that among the effects of the late Gen. A. B. Spurling, who died in Chicago about four months ago, was a fine large portrait of the general in full uniform.  Mr. Roberts thought that this portrait should be placed in some appropriate place in the Capitol.  Mr. Wiggin acquainted Adjutant General Farnham with the contents of the letter, and that officer at once requested him to write Mr. Robers [sic] to forward the picture to him to be hung in the adjutant general's department at the Capitol.

Gen. Spurling will be remembered by many veterans of the Grand Army of the Republic, as he had a record of bravery and efficiency excelled by few soldiers in the Union army.  He entered the service in l861 as a lieutenant in the 1st Maine Cavalry, was afterward made a major of the 3d Maine Cavalry and later was promoted to the position of lieutenant-colonel and had command of the regiment.

Yet another old clipping by BK:

An Exploit of Gen. Spurling, a Native of Maine, Just Awarded a Medal of Honor.
Washington, D. C., Aug. 28 (Special)-

There is a fine story of valor, which will especially interest the veterans of the old Second Maine Cavalry, behind the recent press announcement that Gen. Andrew B. Spurling of Chicago, has been awarded a medal of honor for gallantry in the late war.  While Gen. Spurling is a resident of Chicago he is a native of Maine and for a number of years was conspicuous in the affairs of the Pine Tree State.  He was at Augusta during the troublesome count-out days and was one of the sturdy men kept in that vicinity by the knowing ones to take a hand if there had been an outbreak.  Before the adjournment of Congress last month General Spurling spent a few days in Washington, where he was cordially received by prominent Maine and Illinois people.

General Spurling was awarded his medal of honor by the President for gallantry at Evergreen, Ala., March 23, 1865.  On that day he captured three Johnnie Rebs single handed, wounding two of them aud bringing all three into the Union camp.  He was at that time in command of a cavalry expedition and, while visiting his pickets, heard men approaching.  Leaving his outpost he advanced in the dark and came upon the three rebels.  He fired at them and the fire was returned.  Gen. Spurling wounded two of the rebels and proceeded to take the trio back into the Union lines.  The official endorsements on his papers in the War Department state that this capture prevented the rebels from obtaining information concerning the movements of Union troops and was of great value to the Union cause.  The Second Maine Cavalry was recruited at Augusta November 30, 1863.

The following is copied from

The General

Andrew Barclay Spurling led an adventurous life, surviving perils at sea and on the battlefield, and became a very wealthy man. His luck ran out in Elgin.

Born in Maine, Spurling went to sea at the age of 15. Three years later he set off for the California gold fields, lost his health in the mines, and then became a cowboy. He later returned to the sea as captain of a merchant vessel until the Civil War, when he enlisted as a cavalry trooper. A series of rapid promotions for gallant conduct led to the rank of brigadier. General Spurling later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for heroic action at Evergreen, Alabama.

When peace came he returned to the sea. Surviving a shipwreck, Spurling settled in Maine and was elected sheriff of Hancock County. Later service with the U.S. Interior, Justice, and Postal departments took him to Chicago, where he speculated in real estate. In 1878, Spurling was one of three investors who put up $50,000 dollars each to form the Chicago Rawhide Manufacturing Company, which made leather belting for running machinery. The following year, when the firm was incorporated, he was elected its president.

His interest in Elgin real estate led him to this city, where a friend, Mayor Vincent S. Lovell, put him in charge of the police. Spurling enforced the law without favoritism, on one occasion ordering the arrest of his own son for disorderly conduct. Saloons had to obey the closing hours, even if the proprietor was a friend of an alderman. Although one local paper declared him the "most efficient marshal Elgin has ever had," the City Council, sensitive to the liquor interests, refused to renew his appointment. Mayor Lovell resigned his office in protest.

Of independent means, Spurling put up a brick flat and carriage house and erected a large home overlooking the river at what is now 1045 N. Spring Street. He kept a string of trotting horses at the east end of Driving Park, made plans to build the city's first skyscraper, and formed a syndicate to develop an industrial center. Called Midway, it was to be built on what was then farmland between Elgin and South Elgin.

The five-story Spurling Block, Elgin's first steel-framed building, was under construction in 1892-93. The site, at the northwest corner of Spring and DuPage Streets, had underground springs and sandy subsoil. W. Wright Abell, the architect, surmounted this problem, but a strike at the Carnegie works delayed the arrival of the structural steel.

The cost of the building and lot, about $105,000, and his borrowing for the Midway venture put Spurling heavily in debt when the Panic of '93 ended the real estate boom and brought hard times. The huge building could not be filled with tenants when many businesses were failing. Creditors pushed the foreclosure of the project as well as the Midway venture, and Spurling lost his fortune, including his stock holdings in Chicago Rawhide.

Unsuccessful in an 1894 campaign for sheriff of Kane County, he returned to Chicago. There he spent his final days with failing eyesight, living in reduced circumstances on a $50 a month government pension.

In 1950, the firm he helped to found, Chicago Rawhide, put one of its plants in Elgin. Few, if any, remembered that General Andrew Spurling had been the company's president or that he had won the Medal of Honor.

The following is copied from from

Andrew B. Spurling

"Gen. Spurling Dies in Chicago,"
The Elgin Daily Courier, August 27, 1906, p. 1.
Former Elgin Police Marshal and Civil War Hero Succumbs at Hospital.
Prominent in Maine and Illinois Politics and Builder of Famous Elgin Block.

General Andrew B. Spurling, former Elgin city marshal, and builder of the Spurling block, died at six o'clock Wednesday evening at the Chicago Homeopathic hospital. Death was due to an attack of heart trouble last Saturday.

General Spurling distinguished himself many times during the civil war and was awarded a medal for his bravery. He attained the most renown at Evergreen, Ala., in 1865, when with a company of scouts he captured three confederates who were riding for reinforcements, which would probably have wiped out the federal command.

General Spurling was wounded about a dozen times during the war, but seemed to bear a charmed life. At the G.A.R. encampment at Boston in 1904 a booklet was compiled by C.C. Roberts, giving the life of General Spurling and a history of the Second Maine cavalry, of which he was lieutenant-colonel.

Andrew Barclay Spurling was born in Cranberry Isles, Hancock county, Maine, March 29, 1833. Leaving school at the age of 12, he became a sailor. When 18 years old he took up mining in California, later taking up a claim in the San Jose valley and becoming a farmer and hunter. Many interesting incidents are related of his life there.

General Spurling returned to Maine again in 1855 and married. He took up the sea life again until the war broke out. After the war he followed the sea until he lost his ship in a wreck. He then took up politics and served four years as sheriff of Hancock county, Maine. He was defeated for a third term.

He then came west, and in 1891 was the independent republican candidate for sheriff of Kane county. He was not elected, however.

As postoffice inspector, with headquarters in Chicago, General Spruling was very efficient in dealing with postoffice robbers. For twelve years he was president of the Chicago Rawhide Manufacturing company, after which he came to this city to engage in real estate. After erecting the Spurling block, he was caught in the hard times and lost his entire fortune of $100,000 by the depreciation of real estate and the failure of men indebted to him.

Mr. Spurling received a stroke of apoplexy October 19, 1900, and since then had been obliged to abandon all business. His home was at 77 Maple street, Chicago.

Before becoming postoffice inspector, Mr. Spurling was appointed to a government position in the Interior department. He was afterwards employed in the department of justice, resigning this position to take the postoffice inspectorship.

Born Cranberry Isles, Maine
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Organization Second Maine Cavalry
Action At Evergreen, Alabama, 23 March 1865
Citation Advanced alone in the darkness beyond the picket line, came upon three of the enemy, fired upon them, (his fire being returned), wounded two, and captured the whole party.
Issued 10 September 1897

Buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.

Transcribed Copy of letter, sent by Edgar B. Davis, 1838-?

Barancas, Fla.
Oct. 2, 1864

Gen John L. Hodgdon
Adjt Gen State of Maine


I have the honor to inform you that an Expedition under Command of Gen Asboth, consisting of all the available force of the 2nd Maine Cav., 2 small Cos of 1st Fla Cav -- called so from courtesy -- and 2 Cos colored troops Infy, mounted, left this place on the 16th of Sept. with the intention of making a raid into the Western part of Fla.  They were transported to Deer Point -- opposite Pensacola -- and commenced the march.  They met no rebel force until they reached Euchelia, 50 miles inland where the 2nd Me. under Col. Spurling surprised and captured 25 rebel Cav. who were there enforcing the conscription.

Here Col Spurling was orderd to take a small detachment of his command and go in another direction, and rejoin the main column the same day.  The main body pushed on, crossed the Choctawatchie River at Cerro Gordo and encountered a strong rebel force at Marianna the Co. seat of Jackson Co. the 2d Maine Cav ws in the advance.  Maj Cutlers battalion ahead, as they advanced they received a volley from the Reb Cav., which dismounted Quite a number killed Lt. Ayer Co. I outright.  The 1st Battalion wavered and fell back Maj Cutler gallantly striving to rally them, but without success  Maj Hutchinson was ordered to charge with his Battalion which he did, he and Maj Cutler leading the charge, the Rebs fleeing like a flock of sheep before them.  Charging down a street they met a barricade of wagons which they cleared in gallant style, when they received a volley from a body of militia concealed in the stores, houses and churches, which literally mowed down the head of the column Maj Cutler fell badly wounded, his leg broken, wrist fractured and other wounds.  Maj Hutchinson, wounded in leg & foot Lieut Adams mortally, shot through the chest.  Lieut Moody L. Co. in the thigh. Sergt Clarke Co. L mortally wounded.  Corp Davis Co. L killed and many others wounded whose names I have not yet obtained I am informed our casualties will reach 30.

Our force remained at Marianna about 5 hours.  They left Maj Cutler and Lt. Adams, Sergt Clark and several others at that place.  The occupants of the house where they are promised they should have the best of care.

The other commands took no part in the fight it was all done and well done by the 2nd Maine, and the large number of casualties among our officers is a proof that they do not ask their men to go where they dare not lead.

Col Woodman did not accompany the Expedition.  Col Spurling did not rejoin the command until they reached Cerro Gordo on their return when he and his 19 men came in with 15 prisoners, 50 horses, several teams, and a large train of cattle, mules and contrabands, having been absent 5 days and accomplished all this without the loss of a man.

Our wounded are doing well.

Very Respy Genl
Your Obt. Servt

Ed. B. Davis Private Co. L. 2nd Me Cav.

photo from

Return home___