Shades of Dubuque

Frank Lewis Quade was Dubuque County’s Last Civil War Veteran

This article is brought to you by Trappist Caskets

More than 20 years ago in 2003, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War started the Last Soldier Project to locate and mark the final resting place of the last surviving Civil War soldier buried in each county or parish of every state in the United States. Funded by the organization’s Monuments and Memorials Grant Fund, the program has successfully identified, marked, and honored Civil War veteran graves throughout the country.

Last Civil War Veteran star. Provided by Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.

Frank Lewis Quade was the last living Civil War veteran in Dubuque County when he died on May 9, 1945, at the age of 98. Danny Krock, past Commander of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, honored Frank Quade and placed a Last Soldier marker on his grave at Dubuque’s St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery on August 30, 2019.

Frank was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on December 23, 1846, the son of Charles and Theresa Rhodamich Quade, natives of Hanover, Germany. They came to the United States in August 1846 and lived in New York for a short time before moving their household to Rhode Island. In March 1861, the Quade family, including Frank and his eight siblings, left their home on the East Coast and traveled west to Dubuque County, Iowa, where they began farming 80 acres near Ballyclough in Table Mound Township.

The Civil War divided the country when Confederate troops fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor on April 12, 1861. On October 10, 1864, seventeen-year-old Frank answered the Union call to arms and enlisted as a private in Company G of the Iowa 8th Cavalry Regiment. Two days later, he mustered into service.  During the closing months of the Civil War, Frank fought in several Georgia skirmishes. At the end of the hostilities, he mustered out on August 13, 1865, at Macon, Georgia, and soon returned to his home in Dubuque.

Telegraph Herald May 9, 1945

After the war, Frank married Louisa Schwab, a German native born in Baden. By 1884, Frank and Louisa had become parents of Charles, Lena, Lydia, and Lulu. Frank successfully supported his growing family by working as a painter.

Although family life and his work schedule must have kept Frank busy, he found time to become an active member of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Civil War veterans’ organization founded in 1868. In 1933, Frank was elected commander-in-chief of the GAR’s Iowa Department and was reelected to that post the following year. He also served as a GAR national senior vice-commander.

Frank’s wife Louisa died in 1894. Six years later, Frank married Mrs. Lettie Byrne Gill. She and her three children from a previous marriage came to live with Frank and his children on Dubuque’s Wood Ave. By 1900, Frank had found new employment in the Dubuque United States Post Office where he worked as a mailing clerk, a position he would continue to hold for the next thirty-four years.

Unfortunately, Frank’s second wife, Lettie, died in 1911. That same year, he married Selina Walker, a widow from LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Following Selina’s death in 1929, Frank spent several months in the San Diego area living with his daughter Louise (Lulu) and his son-in-law Joseph Lowe. Returning to Dubuque, Frank married divorcee Frances Rosemire Waller on October 1930.

By the end of August 1930, only 13 of the original 460 members of Dubuque’s Hyde Clark GAR Post were still living and all the veterans were more than 83 years old. The local post had been founded on May 20, 1882, by 38 charter members and named in honor of William Hyde Clark. Clark was a soldier and Civil War veteran who had enlisted as a first lieutenant in Company I of the First Iowa Infantry Volunteers on April 22, 1861.

When 100-year-old James Harrison Jackson died on October 28, 1940, only two Civil War veterans were still living in Dubuque – A.E. Keen and Frank Quade. Frank appeared to be in exceptionally good health for his age. Just four years earlier, he and his wife had traveled to visit family in Chula Vista, California, to celebrate Frank’s 90th birthday on December 23, 1936. The couple made the nearly 2,000-mile journey by car, leaving Dubuque on December 10th and stopping along the way to visit various friends and relatives. The Quades spent five months in California, returning to Dubuque in mid May 1937.

Frank Quade grave with marker. Provided by Danny Krock.

When 95-year-old Civil War veteran Almond E. Keen died at Dubuque’s Finley Hospital on May 24, 1943, Frank Quade earned the distinction of becoming Dubuque County’s last living Civil War veteran. In January 1945, only nine Civil War veterans were still living in Iowa, and Frank was proud to be among them. Too weak to participate in the previous two Memorial Day observations, Frank finally succumbed to the infirmities of old age on May 9, 1945, and died at his home at 1652 Lawndale Ave. He was 98 years old.

Services for Frank Lewis Quade were held on May 12, 1945, at the Haudenshield Funeral Home on Dubuque’s Main St. with the Rev. C.S. Hempstead, pastor of St. Luke’s Methodist Church, officiating. Following the funeral services, Frank was buried in Dubuque’s St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery on Davis St. The Dubuque post of the American Legion oversaw military rites.

Seventy-four years after his death, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War honored Frank and marked his grave with the Last Soldier Star in 2019 – a testament to Frank’s service to the Union cause and to the long life he lived.

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