John Ryan

M, (1831 - 1915)
John Ryan,
Father*William Ryan (c 1788 - 1866)
Mother*Margaret Noonan Ryan (c 1807 - 1892)
RelationshipGranduncle of Thomas Duane McCarthy Sr
ChartsRyan/Noonan family
Birth*12 Apr 1831 Galbally, Limerick, Ireland1 
Christening14 Apr 1831 Galbally, Limerick, Ireland1 
Marriage*1 Jan 1870 Marshalltown, Marshall, Iowa (IA), United States (US); Bride=Anna Margaret Wertenberger Ryan2
Death*19 Mar 1915 Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WI), United States (US)3 
Burial*24 Mar 1915 Wood National Cemetery, Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WI), United States (US)3 
Biography* John Ryan, 1831-1915:
John was the first of seven children born to William Ryan and Margaret Noonan. No record of John's birth exists but he was christened by a Catholic priest on 14 April 1831 and we can surmise that he was only a few days old at that time. We can make this supposition for two reasons: one, his parents were married in the same church during February 1830 and if John had been born before November of that year, he would have been illegitimate and the priest would have recorded that fact; two, his parents, being Catholics, would have been fearful that a child might die before being baptized - Catholics believed that a person would be denied heaven if he/she died unbaptized - therefore, they would have had him christened within a very few days of birth. His christening sponsors were Hugh Moloney and Hanorah Noonan (his mother's sibling?). John spent his childhood in Ireland, immigrating to the United States about 1846 when a teenager. He grew to a height of 5 feet-5 inches, was of slight build with hazel eyes, auburn hair, and fair complexion. He lived for a time in Connecticut where he remained long enough to attain citizenship and vote in the 1852 presidential election. In 1855, John moved to Fillmore County, Minnesota - as did the rest of the family. He bought an 80-acre farm from the United States government that year and another 80-acres the following year. Minnesota became the 32nd state of the union in 1858. John was not in Fillmore County in 1860 and may have been in Polk, Ashland County, Ohio working on the Erie railroad. It was probably during this time that he met his future wife, Anna Wertenberger.

During the civil war, John earned the distinction of serving with units in two different states. He enlisted for three years at Saint Louis, Missouri on 24 July 1861 and served as a private in Company G of the 1st Missouri Volunteer Light Artillery. John was discharged early at Louisville, Kentucky on 4 June 1863. He returned to Fillmore County for the winter and the following spring enlisted again at Saint Paul, Minnesota for three more years on 12 April 1864. John served as a private in Company I of the 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry and was discharged on 24 August 1865. John's military service was eventful. While in the Missouri unit, he was both injured and wounded at the battle of Perryville, Kentucky. During the night of 8 October 1862, John sustained a severe head injury when he was run over by a cannon wagon from his own unit. On the same night, he was also slashed with a sabre which broke a bone in his right forearm and left a 6-inch scar. He was admitted to hospital at Louisville, Kentucky on 17 October 1862 where he spent almost 8-months. John was discharged from hospital on 4 June 1863 and discharged from the service for disability on 21 June. While in the Minnesota unit, John was captured at the "Battle of Brice's Cross Roads" (also known as the Battle of Tishomingo Creek and the Battle of Guntown) near Baldwyn, Mississippi on 10 June 1864 and confined to the infamous Andersonville prison in Georgia. He was paroled almost 6-months later at Savannah, Georgia on 30 November 1864. John was discharged with the rest of his unit on 24 August 1865. With his two enlistments, he spent a total of 3 years-2 months-24 days in the service of union armies. After his discharge John returned to Fillmore County, Minnesota. Until the mid 1880s, he lived there as well as in Marshall and Henry Counties in Iowa. In the mid-1880s, the family moved to Ohio where they lived in Ashland and Wayne Counties.

John's health deteriorated as a result of his head injury and the sabre wound to his right arm. He filed his first declaration for an invalid pension with the Pension Office, Department of the Interior on 1 February 1872. After a lengthy - eleven year - process of documenting and proving his eligibility, a pension was approved on 5 March 1883. John was granted $4/month from 5 June 1863, the day after his discharge from the Missouri unit. This amount was subsequently raised to $6/month, retroactively to 5 June 1863, on 22 March 1889. But wait just a minute --- John had already been paid a pension of $4/month for the sixteen-plus months that he actually was in the service of the U.S. Army in the Minnesota regiment - from 12 Apr 1864 to 24 Aug 1865. So, the Bureau of Pensions withheld the $6/month payments until the government had been repaid for the pension amount erroneously paid. During the ensuing years, as John's health continued to decline, he continued to fight for increased rates of disability. And although he was never able to prove it, in later years John consistently listed his birthdate as 20 December 1829. There are 80-documents in his military pension file including 23 declarations and affidavits filed by himself. Pension amounts were raised to $8/month from 15 July 1891, to $12/month from 7 Dec 1891, and finally to $17/month from 18 Aug 1897 to 4 Sep 1907, the date that he entered the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. John lived at the National Home until he died eight years later, at age 83, on a Friday. On the following Wednesday John was buried in Section 20, Grave 107 of Wood National cemetery. A shield is engraved on his tombstone and inside the shield is embossed "John Ryan, Co.G., 1 MO. L.A." 


Anna Margaret Wertenberger Ryan b. Nov 1844, d. Sep 1903
Last Edited10 Aug 2020


  1. [S257] Galbally Parish, County Limerick, Ireland christening record.
  2. [S462] John Ryan, Military Pension File, National Archives,.
  3. [S216] Director - Wood National Cemetery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin letter from R. C. Anderson to Tom McCarthy. 4 August 1999.