Early Evansville Portraits And Biographies
From History of Vanderburgh County, Indiana
by Brant & Fuller
1889

Charles H. Myerhoff

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myerhoff

CAPT. CHARLES H. MYERHOFF was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, March 10, 1842. His mother dying when he was but six years old he was sent to live with an uncle residing on a farm in Jackson County, Ind., with whom, and with John J. Cummins, a lawyer of the same county, he remained until 1856, when he returned to live with his father who had again married. His father's death occurring two years later, he hired to a gardener near Newport, Ky., but soon thereafter moved to Grandview, Ind., where he was occupied as a laborer.

He made a trip to Vicksburg, Miss., on a flatboat, and in 1859 started out in a sail-boat with three others to seek adventure and employment. A storm drove them to shore near Hickman, Ky., where they took possession of a cabin, and for so doing were set upon by a planter and his hounds. They were thought to be hard characters and were roundly abused by the irate planter, but when he learned the truth he was profuse in his apologies and offered the men employment. The next morning all went to work in the woods, and while absent the cabin burned to the ground, by which mishap all their clothes were lost. Young Myerhoff was sent to interview the planter, who furnished what money they needed, declining to take a note for the amount, considering the young man's verbal promise to pay sufficient.

After some hard work in the woods and in the employ of a store boatman, the young man retracing his steps reached Evansville, at the time carrying all his possessions in a bandanna.

His brother, John H. Myerhoff, was foreman in the Armstrong Furniture Factory, and here he obtained employment, remaining until the tocsin of war was sounded in 1861. He attended the meeting in the old Crescent City hall, when the two first home guard companies were organized. His name was entered on Gen. Blythe's company roll, but when Blythe Hynes moved down the aisle rapidly, vaulted upon the platform and announced that Dr. Noah S. Thompson had received a commission as captain and orders to organize a volunteer company to start for Washington, D.C., at once, to defend the capital, young Myerhoff arose from his seat and asked that his name be taken from the roll of the home guard, In a few minutes he presented himself to Capt. Thompson, offering to enlist, but was refused because he was too young and too frail. He persisted, however, and after an examination, in which he showed a familiarity with military tactics, was accepted, being the first accepted man in the first company that left Evansville for the war.

While company drill was being conducted it Klausman's hall he was armed with broomstick and detailed as guard at the front door of the building. His general bearing and sternness made such at impression on the boys that when he returned to the city as a first lieutenant in 1863, on recruiting service, they remembered him as the man who kept them from seeing the first soldiers in company drill.

He was in all the battles participated in by the Fourteenth Indiana Infantry, except those fought while he was on recruiting service or in prison. He was appointed Corporal; was promoted on Cheat Mountain to sergeant; to Orderly Sergeant October 1, 1862; to First Lieutenant May 7, 1863; was in command of the company in the famous charge of Carroll's brigade on east Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg; had command of Co. H in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna and Cold Harbor. Of the twenty-three that he started with on the 4th of May, 1864, only two were left to leave the works when the regiment's term of service expired on the 7th of June, 1864.

Capt. Myerhoff was seriously wounded while in front of his men at Cold Harbor - the bail being still in his body - and was sent to hospital, where he effected some heroic reforms, for which he received the thanks of every patient. His regiment was mustered out long before he was able to leave the hospital.

When at length he was discharged, he came to Evansville, and soon became interested in a sawmill at Grandview. But this work was too heavy for him because of his wounds, and he entered the employ of Philip Decker, who was then sutler of the Tenth Tennessee Infantry, stationed at Nashville. While attempting to go to Nashville he was arrested four times on grave charges, but he was not long delayed. He remained with Mr. Decker as a clerk until the war was over.

Returning to Evansville, he entered the Commercial College of Jeremiah Behme and studied bookkeeping. In 1866 he entered the employment of Keller & White as bookkeeper, and in the next year went with Boetticher, Kellogg & Co. in the same capacity. Here he remained for nearly twenty-one years, and is now a member of the firm of Harrison, Ooodwin & Co., proprietors of the Evansville Stove Works. He is also secretary and treasurer of the Evansville Union Stock Yards Company.

His civic prominence consists principally in his connection with drill organizations. He was elected three times successively as captain of the Evansville Light Guard, a prosperous organization during his captaincy; was elected captain of Orion Drill Corps, K. of P., and was so thorough as an officer that the corps took three prizes, and he himself was awarded a magnificent gold medal as first prize for excellency as a commander at St. Louis, Mo., August 25, 1880.

His drill companies, Red Shirts and Zouaves, in political processions, have attracted much favorable notice. As chief marshal of several large processions he has acquitted himself with credit. He was on the staffs of National Commanders Kountz and Fairchild, of the G.A.R.; district delegate to the National Encampment of the G.A.R. at St. Louis, in 1887; was strongly urged for department commander of the G.A.R., in 1888; was the second commander of Farragut Post, and is now serving as officer of the day.

Capt. Myerhoff was married December 1, 1867, to Miss Jennie, daughter of Alexander Sham, of Evansville. Two children have been born of this union, as follows: Carl S., born September 22, 1868, and Zulma Lois, born October 17, 1888. Misses Emma Wollner and Fannie Sharro have made their home with them for years.