Military Monday — Jacob Munster

Today we will focus on another military man in my family, this time a Civil War veteran, Jacob Munster — and I have always had a real interest in the Civil War. Last week one of my posts was about Jacob and his history as a founder of Munster, Indiana. Today I will do a short dive into his military background in the Civil War.

Cindy Watson Badten has written a fascinating history of Jacob Munster’s participation in the Civil War for the Munster Historical Society, and even included a photo of Jacob as a soldier.

Jacob Munster was born on February 28, 1845 in the Netherlands near Strijen. The name Monster was anglicized to Munster but Jacob used the original name when he enlisted. Jacob was recruited as a private into the northern army on October 18, 1864 in the 30th Illinois Infantry, Company K as a substitute. “Substitute” means that someone paid him to take his place and serve for him. At that time, Generals Grant and Sherman were pursuing Confederate General Hood into Alabama. Eventually Jacob was a part of General Sherman’s “March to the Sea”.

In February of 1865, the troops moved north into the Carolinas. Sherman and his men burned the City of Columbia and continued north into North Carolina. Late in March of 1865, they faced Joe Johnston and the confederate troops at the Battle of Bentonville, North Carolina. On April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered to Grant in Virginia. Then on April 26, 1865, Jacob was there during the historic moment when Johnston surrendered the southern Confederate troops. He was mustered out on July 17, 1865 in Louisville, Kentucky and discharged in Chicago on July 24, 1865.

Photo: Lawrence Varkalis

After the war, Jacob returned to his village to marry and raise thirteen children. He opened the Munster General Store in 1870 and became the first postmaster. Besides doing this and being a farmer, he was Road Supervisor, Town Trustee and School Board member. In 1907, the town was incorporated and named after him.

Jacob died on February 8, 1924 and was buried in the First Reformed Church of Lansing Cemetery.

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