Rudolph Doll

Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War

Photos from the Past

Colonel Rudolph Doll

The following two newspapers articles, one from August 24, 1929 and the other from June 12, 1935, present information on Colonel Rundolph Doll, a Civil War and Spanish American War Veteran.

PASADENA STAR NEWS, August 24, 1929
Shell Fragment Hit Rudolph Doll in Civil War, But He is Very Much Alive at 94
Friends Gather at Patriotic Hall for Congratulations to Comrade Doll and Help Him Plan for His Hundredth Birthday Anniversary

Rudolph Doll, oldest member of John F. Godfrey Post, G.A.R., doughty fighter and pioneer, who came around the Horn in 1856, was honored by a large and enthusiastic group of friends at Patriotic Hall yesterday afternoon on the occasion of the ninety-fourth anniversary of his birth. The aged but lively guest of honor insisted that it was his ninety-fifth birthday, counting the day he first saw the light, and more than 150 friends stoutly backed him up in this contention.

Mr. Doll is another example of the old adage: "Live alone and live long," as also exemplified by Galusha M. Cole, centenarian, who was among the guests yesterday. Mr. Doll is sole occupant of his home at 676 West Washington street. He cooks his own meals, washes his own dishes, and tends to his garden and lawn. He has some of the most beautiful flowers in that section of the city, and is a horticulturist of long experience. He is already planning his one hundredth birthday anniversary, and is anxious that every centenarian in the Southwest attend it.

Tell of Old Times

Stories of Mr. Doll's part in the campaigns of the first two years of the Civil War were told by members of the local G.A.R. post and allied patriotic orders yesterday when the fife and drum corps had played several selections. Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Elton, 950 Sinaloa Ave., were hosts for the day. Mr. Elton introduced the guest of honor, who spoke a few words of appreciation for the compliment tendered him. There were refreshments after the strictly impromptu program, furnished by the ladies of the patriotic orders.

He was born in New York City August 24, 1833, and was mustered into Company K. Twentieth New York Volunteer Infantry, on May 3, 1861. He was promoted to color sergeant Novemeber 13, 1862, and was assigned to Company C after his own company had been decimated by shot and shell in 104 days of terrific battles, climaxed with the Battle of Antietam, where he was wounded in the head by a piece of shell. This wound did not heal for several years, and when he was discharged for disability June 1, 1863, he was refused re-enlistment on account of the wound. He was the only member of his original company to answer muster-out roll call, most of the gallant group having died on the battlefield or passed away as a result of wounds or sickness.

When his services were refused for the second time because of his wound, he was sent to Washington where he acted as a guard at the White House. Probably no one in Pasadena knew Abraham Lincoln as intimately as Rudolph Doll. He saw him almost every day he was in Washington, and learned to know him very well. President Lincoln called him by his first name and many times cracked jokes with him. He also came to know General Ulysses S. Grant, John A. Logan and William McKinley. He was for eight years chaplain of the Comrades of the Battlefields, an order organized by General John A. Logan.

Yearned for West
At the close of the war he yearned for the West. He had made a trip to California by boat in 1856, remaining there for three years. He started to the Pacific Coast by land this time, landing in Kansas and then in Nebraska, where he took up farming. He married Miss Abbie Murray, daughter of Rev. John A. Murray, private secretary to General William Sewell during the war. One daughter was born to the couple, but both wife and daughter have passed to the beyond. He returned east in 1872.

The longing for California came to him with emphasis in 1907, and he came to Pasadena, settling in Linda Vista, which was almost all sagebrush, dotted with oaks at that time. He planted the first eucalyptus grove in Linda Vista, and some of those trees are still standing. He helped to build the first trail from Linda Vista to Devil's Gate Dam on the west side of the Arroyo Seco. About five years ago, he built and occupied his present residence.

At the outbreak of the Spanish American War, he organized a company of sharpshooters and offered their services to his country. He was regularly commissioned Colonel by William McKinley, who was a warm personal friend, and was assured by the latter that if the war continued to the point where sharpshooters were needed, his company would be among the first called.

Mr. Doll made a trip to the last encampment of the Division of G.A.R. at Santa Rosa by automobile and is in unusually good health, his advanced age considered. He plays a crack game of cribbage, his friends say.

Col. Rudolph Doll Dies at Placerville, CA
Once White House Guard Knew Lincoln, Stanton

Col. Rudolph Doll, nearly 102, oldest living member of the John F. Godfrey Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, died yesterday noon at his home near Placerville, according to advices received here this morning.

Funeral services will be held in Pasadena under G.A.R. auspices. Entombment will be at Mountain View Mausoleum. Details were being completed today.

Coming to Pasadena some 35 years ago, Colonel Doll was active in patriotic and civic work until six years ago when he went to live with Mr. and Mrs. Ray Vroman at Placerville.

Enlists in New York

Born in New York City August 24, 1833, Mr. Doll enlisted in the 20th New York Infantry and serviced until June 1, 1863, when he was honorably discharged because of a wound in the head received at Antietam, MD, Sept. 17, 1862.

Colonel Doll served in 56 major battles of the Civil War and was 104 days under fire. When he was refused re-enlistment, he offered his services as a guard at the White House, where he serviced until after the end of the war. He knew and frequently conversed with President Lincoln and was intimately acquainted with Secretary of War Edwin A. Stanton, as well as Dr. Stone who attended President Lincoln on his assassination, and other prominent government officials of that time.

Organized Sharp Shooters

At the beginning of the Spanish-American War Colonel Doll organized a company of sharp shooters which he offered to the government.. This group was discovered to be too old for active duty, but Theodore Roosevelt gave Colonel Doll the title of honorary colonel in the regular army. His wife and daughter died many years ago and he had no near living relatives.

Photograph and information submitted by Colonel Doll's great niece, Connie Linder .

Colonel Rudolph Doll