A large portion of my childhood was spent in Machias, Washington. One place I had never explored was the Cemetery. It sits just above the old townsite of Machias. There’s two sections to this final resting place, as a road winds through the center. On the left is the newer section and on the right you’ll find headstones from the 1800’s. I wandered through both sides and found veterans from the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I and World War II.
I meandered through the entire cemetery and eventually came across 4 tall standing markers that all appeared to be related. The father, Horace Andrus, struck me as someone I wanted to know more about. This is the allure I have with these places because each plot holds history of a life lived. Individuals that had experiences and saw things we can only read about or will never even know. I just had to learn Horace’s story.
with some luck I was actually able to find a good amount of history on this guy. Turns out he was quite a badass in his time. Somebody that certainly should not be forgotten.
Horace J. Andrus was born in 1838 in Maryville, New York to a farming family. He enlisted in the army in the summer of 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War. This began a journey of turmoil and hard fought battles that I just couldn’t even fathom what life was like
His career began in Dubuque, IA before moving on to Benton Barracks of St. Louis, MO. From there he began a march toward one of the greatest battles of our country’s history, the Battle at Pea Ridge, Arkansas. This was one of the few battles where the confederate soldiers outnumbered the Union. The North proved triumphant still and the battle went on record for being a pivotal win for securing Missouri for the Union as well as opening the way to Arkansas. Corporal Andrus continued his mission through Arkansas and the Ozark Mountains until reaching Jackson, Mississippi where he fought at the Black River Bridge. Immediately thereafter he joined the 47 day battle known as The Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. This gave the Union control of the Mississippi River.
Corporal Horace J. Andrus 1838-1903
You would think that this soldier had seen enough war and chaos to earn retirement in these first few years, but that was not the end of this Corporal’s military experience. Horace continued his march an incredible 500 miles to Chattanooga where he fought several more battles including The battle Above the Clouds, The Battle at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. In 1864 he moved on to Alabama and fought The Battle of Sauke, Dalton, Resika, New Hope Church and several other small battles.
On May 26th, 1864 the Corporal was taken prisoner in Georgia at Andersonville prison camp for 9 months of his heroic life. There he suffered just like other prisoners of war at that time and barely survived. Below is a horrifying photo of another Union soldier in the same prison hardly clinging to life. What a desperate time it must’ve been.
After the war ended Horace eventually married and moved to Snohomish, Washington where he homesteaded in the area known as Machias. You know, the little town below the cemetery where I found him today. Also, remember the other tombstones I mentioned that were next to his? A few of those were that of his 8 children. He outlived 4 of them. Despite this life of trials and grief, Corporal Horace J. Andrus was a respected member of the community and it was said that his funeral was the largest they had ever had in that little town and the Snohomish Tribune called it “Impressive.” He died of a lingering illness in 1903 at the age of 65. It was certainly an honor meeting (or happening upon) Mr. Andrus today.
1201 Silva St Snohomish, Wa 98290