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As we enter the third year of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, I feel it appropriate that remember one of the many veterans of Steuben County, whose tireless efforts helped to preserve the Union; Major John Stocum.
John Stocum was born in Pultney, Steuben County, on April 27, 1825. That same year his father drowned in the Conhocton River. Alone and penniless, John moved to Bath in1840. Here he learned the cabinet making and undertaking trade. In February of 1847 Stocum, a member of the First Presbyterian Church married Elizabeth Metcalf of Bath. Together they had at least three children; John L., James D. and daughter, Osie (nicknamed Kate.) When his son John was old enough he joined his father’s business. The Directory of 1854 shows Stocum and Son had a warehouse located on the eastern edge of Pioneer Cemetery on West Steuben Street. In 1858 Elizabeth died. Stocum remarried in June of 1860. His new wife Susan B. Townsend of Elmira gave birth to Frank and Ruby.
In 1852, Stocum had joined the local militia, the 60th Regiment, 27th Brigade, New York State Volunteers and served as the orderly sergeant. When its commanding officer, Captain Levi C. Whiting, was promoted to major, Stocum was commissioned captain by New York governor Myron H. Clark. Stocum served in this capacity until 1858. He also served as watchman for the village of Bath from 1853 to 1857.