Rollin G. Harmon was born around 1843 in Astabula, Ohio. He enlisted in Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery on August 6, 1861 and was mustered in on October 5 at the rank of corporal. Sometime during the summer of 1862, he was promoted to sergeant. From September 16, 1863 through December 1863, he was absent on medical furlough, returning to his family in Ohio, due to ague and weakness so severe that he was “unable to sit up for more than 15-20 minutes.” In January, he reenlisted, at which time he was described as being 6 feet tall, with gray eyes, and light hair and complexion. His residence at the time was Sycamore, Illinois. After his return to the battery, he was promoted again, this time to 2nd Lieutenant on March 14, 1864. In April, he took his veteran’s furlough. In the fall, he was raised to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He was mustered out in September 1865.
After the war, Harmon continued in the military, joining Company D [regiment not given] U.S. Infantry on April 25, 1866, serving until April 4, 1869. He married Mary Sophia Quicksall on October 10, 1878 in Chicago. She was the widow of Samuel Quicksall of [Fort?] Wayne, Indiana, who died Dec. 16, 1871 on the Wabash Railroad near Huntington, Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Harmon apparently had no children. Rollin served as a member of the Chicago Fire Department, where he was more commonly known as George R. Harmon; it is not known if he helped combat the famous conflagration of October 1871.
Rollin died of consumption (tuberculosis) on December 15, 1883, and was buried at Chicago’s Rosehill Cemetery. At the time of his death, he was living at 408 Wabash Ave. In January 1884, his body was disinterred and shipped to Ohio.
Sometime in 1898 – perhaps as early as July, or as late as November, Joseph O’Donahue was appointed Mary’s guardian by the Cook County Probate Court. Mary was sent to Illinois Eastern Hospital for the Insane at Kankakee, Illinois. She died Oct. 27, 1900.
SOURCES: Rollin Harmon military and pension records, National Archives, made possible through a generous donation by Larry Werline.