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COL.JOHN CROES BLOOMFIELD
I T WILL always be a badge of honor in this country to have known that a person's father, or even his uncle, enlisted in the service of his country when the great War of the Rebellion broke out, to assist in saving the Union and in eradicating slavery from our soil.
Just as to this day we boast that our grandfather or great-grandfather fought in the Revolution to gain independence, or took part in the 'War of 1812 to protect our rights on the high seas, so the descendants of the gallant soldiers who offered their services and their lives, if need be, during the great Civil War to save the nation, will boast during the coming generations of the bravery and self-sacrifice of their fathers or other relatives. It is a pleasure to write of the late Colonel John Croes Bloomfield, for many years one of the leading citizens of Akron, Ohio, for he was
one of the "boys in blue" who went forth to give his best service for the salvation of the country during the darkest hour in her history. His career as an officer in that war was a brilliant and most commendable one. But that is not the only reason why his name should be perpetuated in a work of the province of the one in hand, for his record further shows that he was a citizen of the highest type, always loyal to the right as he saw and understood the right, and his private life was most exemplary.
Colonel Bloomfield was born in New York City, March 4, 1842. He was a son of Judge William and Katherine (Van Marter) Bloomfield, and the great-grandson of Bishop John Croes, the first Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey, and he was named for this eminent pioneer divine. John Croes came from a fighting race, a member of a family serving with distinction in various old wars. The father of the subject of this memoir was a celebrated lawyer of New York City. Ile and his wife have long been deceased. They were parents of eight children, of whom only two now survive—Charles A. Bloomfield, who resides in New Jersey, and Miss Jessie Bloomfield, who makes her home in New York City.
Colonel Bloomfield grew to manhood in New York City, and there received his early education in the public schools, then attended college for some time. Upon finishing his education, he began work as a clerk for a hardware merchant in his native city. Early in life he displayed many of the qualities which later contributed to his successful military career. In 1859, when only seventeen years of age, he joined the famous Seventh Regiment of New York, of which he remained very proud throughout his life. This was the first regiment of State troops to be sworn into the service of the United States at the outbreak of the Civil War, in which conflict it became one of the most noted in the Federal armies. He entered the service as a private, but for meritorious conduct and peculiar natural abilities, he rose to the rank of lieutenant-colonel of his regiment in due course of time. Soon after the firing on Fort Sumter, Bloomfield was made captain of Company F of the Sixth New York
Volunteer Infantry, and for the next two years served under Generals Hunter and Butler in the Department of the Gulf. He
was then.transferred to the Trans-Mississippi Department, and was assigned
to the hazardous. special duty of looking after the breaking up of the
numerous and troublesome guerilla bands that infested the section of the South in which he was then stationed. This was work that could be performed only with the highest courage and daring, but
he did his duty most faithfully and well, winning the hearty thanks
of his superior officers and the admiration of his men. In the engagements incident to this dangerous service, Colonel Bloomfield was wounded several times, the severe wound he received at Escambia, Florida, continuing to give him trouble practically the rest of his life. He was a brave and efficient soldier and possessed every quality of the successful commander, being cool in the face of danger, a man who grasped a situation instantly, and who had the courage of his convictions. He remained in the service throughout the conflict, receiving an honorable discharge.
After the close of hostilities, Colonel Bloomfield became interested in the hardware business in St. Louis, Missouri, under the firm name of Menzie-Raschoe and Company. About five years later, in 1871, he turned his attention to the insurance business. He had not long been in St. Louis before he 'became connected with military affairs again, associating himself with a regiment of the Missouri National Guard. He did much in perfecting that organization and was soon made lieutenant-colonel of the Seventh Regiment there, and was in command of that organization when it took part in the ceremonies at the inauguration of General Grant as President in 1873. And from that time until his death, Colonel Bloomfield's knowledge and experience of military affairs, as well as his soldierly bearing and his delight in offering his services when he was needed, made him a useful and almost indispensable man at many public functions.
May 30, 1892, Colonel Bloomfield came to Akron, Ohio, and opened an insurance office in the Hamilton Building, in which he retained his office until the time of his death, or for a period of nearly twenty-one years. He built up a large business in this line as the result of his energy, fair dealings, and uniform courtesy, all who knew him respecting him for his genial, honest, and kindly nature. Straight and erect, he always retained the military bearing, even when past his three score and ten. Being a man of unusual height and striking personality, he could easily be distinguished in any crowd. He was well known to practically every business man in Akron, as well as others.
Colonel Bloomfield was prominent in fraternal circles during two-thirds of his life. He was a Knights Templar. He was Grand Master of the Masonic Order of the State of Missouri. He organized the military parade of the first conclave of Knights Templars of America, held in St. Louis in 1868, and served as chief of staff of the Grand Commander. He had held all the commanding offices in all. the bodies of the Masonic order up to the Knights Templar degree. He became Grand Commander
of the Knights Templar. He was also Adjutant-General. However,
after locating in Akron he gradually dropped from the Masonic order, until at the time of his death he was no longer a member of any of the orders. He was a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, he having belonged to Sherman Post, of St. Louis, and later of Buckeye Post, of Akron. He was very active in church circles, and for many years held the position of vestryman in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Akron. He belonged to the Portage Country Club and was also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
On June 3, 1889, Colonel Bloomfield was united in marriage to Mrrs. Fannie C. (Cobb) Wager, a daughter of Charles B. Cobb, one of the pioneers and highly-respected citizens of Summit County, Ohio.The colonel was fond of his home, and his domestic life was ideal. Mrs. Bloomfield, who survives him, is a woman who can claim a very wide circle of warm friends in Akron or wherever she is known.
The death of Colonel Bloomfield occurred very suddenly in Akron on February 16, 1913. Many fine eulogies were pronounced on him by those who knew him well, one of the leading attornies of Akron remarking, "You didn't need an interpreter to tell you where Colonel Bloomfield stood on any important issue. He was straightforward, and was not afraid to speak his thoughts." No man was held in higher general esteem in his home city than the colonel and he will long be sadly missed there.
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