GLEASON, WILLIAM J. (2 June 1846-20 Jan. 1905), volunteer CIVIL WAR soldier and first president of the Soldiers & Sailors Monument Commission, was born in County Clare, Ireland. His parents, Patrick and Margaret Gleason, moved to Vermont when he was 6 months old, and shortly thereafter to Cleveland. Fifteen when the Civil War broke out, he left his job as a printer's "devil" for the PLAIN DEALER, bought a drum, and drilled for 3 months with troops gathering at Camp Taylor in Cleveland. The following year he lied about his age and enlisted in the 60TH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY, serving 1 week before his parents obtained a writ of habeas corpus and brought him home. His parents allowed him to join the 29th Regiment, Ohio Natl. Guard, Co. E, as a drummer boy. He continued working at the Plain Dealer but ran away to enlist in the 150TH OHIO VOLUNTEER INFANTRY REGIMENT at 17, serving in the defenses of Washington, D.C. in the summer of 1864. After the war, Gleason worked as a compositor in the printing trade and in the insurance business. He served on the board of elections and as secretary of the CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY board, Cleveland controller, president of the Irish Natl. League, and nationally as a staff member of the commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. He also served on the Soldiers & Sailors Monument Commission, 1894-1905.

On 15 Feb. 1870, Gleason married Margaret Gleason and had 7 children: Agnes, Katherine, Alma, Florence, Charles, Edward, and William. Gleason is buried in CALVARY CEMETERY.

Gleason, William J. History of the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1894).

Article Categories