James Monroe “Roe” Stookey
James Monroe Stookey was born on 10 July 1838; on a farm called “Centerville Settlement” near the Village of Millstadt. He attended Shurtleff College between 1855-58; and afterwards he returned to the farm. In 1860; he moved to Belleville, and gained employment as a clerk at Morris’ Store.
In the first call for troops, he and his brother Albert H. Stookey; recruited a company of soldiers from the area; however, with Illinois having a full quota of soldiers; the company voted to join a Missouri Regiment. Traveling to St. Louis, Missouri; his Company of men joined an all Illinois Regiment in Missouri; which became known as the 9th Missouri Infantry & Stookey was elected Captain of Company E.
The 9th Missouri saw no action in the State of Missouri as a Missouri Regiment; but were involved in several campaigns in the western part of the State. Illinois Governor Richard Yates, protested to the U.S. Army about a Missouri Regiment comprised of Illinois men, and petitioned for its return to Illinois. Governor Yates’ request was granted and the 9th Missouri became the 59th Illinois.
Stookey led his Company in the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas; the Advance and Siege of Corinth, Mississippi and the Battle of Perryville. Captain Stookey was wounded in action during the Battle of Perryville; and served as Acting Major during the Battle (however he didn’t receive the promotion, since he was third in line). During the Battle of Stone River; his Company didn’t take any casualties, despite being heavily involved. Stookey was again the “Acting Major” during Stones River, his horse was shot out from underneath him, and later died; but Stookey was cited for bravery during the engagement. Afterwards, Captain Stookey was given furlough time and he returned to Belleville to take the hand of Mary Adams in Holy Matrimony (her fate is unknown); on 4 April 1863.
After the Tullahoma Campaign; Captain Stookey was robbed of $880 while in Tennessee. Being sent home for re-enlistment after the Chickamauga Campaign; Stookey was promoted to Major on 23 January 1864, and the 59th Illinois Infantry returned to the front lines in April 1864. According to Major Stookey’s personal letters home (unable to verify with a second source); he was given temporary command of the 80th Illinois Infantry; after their entire command leadership was captured and sent to Libby Prison in Richmond, VA; where he led the regiment during the later half of the Atlanta Campaign. Once the Lt. Colonel and Major were exchanged; Stookey returned to the 59th Illinois; where he was involved in the pursuit of Hood and the Battle of Nashville. Following the cessation of hostilities of the U.S. Civil War; Stookey joined the 59th into Texas to ward off any possible French intrusion into the State. Major Stookey was mustered out of service on 8 December 1865; then proceeded to Springfield, Illinois for his final discharge.
Following the Civil War, James Stookey married Huda Delaplain who bore him 5 children, sadly only two daughters survived into adulthood. Stookey was elected St. Clair County Sheriff and served from 1868 to 1870. Afterwards, he bought a large track of land to farm near Golden City, Missouri; and moved his family there.
By early 1880; James Stookey was taken ill and passed away from his illness, on 23 March 1880. His body was returned to Belleville for his funeral and burial. A large gathering of mourners turned out for their final farewell of the fallen veteran soldier and county sheriff. His casket was closed during the funeral and services were conducted by the Reverend O.S. Thompson, Reverend F.M. Van Treese and the Reverend John Powell. He was laid to rest in Green Mount Cemetery, on top of the hill overlooking the surrounding area; in the family plot.
By Jon Stacy: Camp Historian, Frederick K. Hecker Camp #443, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.