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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

ASHMUN, GEORGE COATES

ASHMUN, GEORGE COATES

ASHMUN, GEORGE COATES (31 Jan. 1841-25 June 1929) became a distinguished medical professor and civic official while remaining one of Cleveland's most illustrious CIVIL WAR veterans. Born to Russell Atwater and Maria (Wright) Ashmun and educated in Tallmadge, O., he served as a musician in the SECOND OHIO VOLUNTEER CAVALRY before being recruited for a special Ohio company assigned as personal bodyguard to President Abraham Lincoln. He served as lieutenant in that unit, where he was a highly visible participant in Lincoln's 2nd Inauguration. Following the war he earned a medical degree in 1873 from the Cleveland College of Medicine, where he became professor of children's diseases. After that institution merged in 1893 into Western Reserve University (see CASE WESTERN RESERVE), he served the latter institution as professor of hygiene and preventive medicine and professor of jurisprudence and medical ethics until retirement in 1925. Ashmun served Cleveland as a health officer in the 1880s, when he was credited with ridding the city of its backyard pig sties. He contributed several articles during the period to the Cleveland Medical Gazette. Ashmun also served for 2 terms on the city council and several on the Board of Education, including president in 1910. He served as a surgeon in the 5th Ohio Infantry during the SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR and with the Case School unit of the Students Army Training Corps during WORLD WAR I. Believed to be the last survivor of Lincoln's bodyguard unit, Ashmun was widely consulted by Civil War scholars and made local appearances at Lincoln Day observances. Married in 1880 to Laura J. Post (d. 1886) and then to Alice Ford in 1888, he left 4 children, Russell Ford, Louis Henry, George Slaght, and Bernice, when he died at home in CLEVELAND HTS. Ashmun was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.