Memorial Day about sacrifice


When members of the North River Volunteer Fire Company were cutting firewood May 5 for fellow firefighter Matthew Allen, who is currently serving in the Army National Guard in Afghanistan, his wife Julie spoke of the sacrifices Americans make during times of war. And she was thankful for the help.

“To me it just proves that people here realize that there is a sacrifice always by everybody, the family, the men that are there, the communities that suffer because they are gone,” she said. “But the whole reason they are there is so people can be happy here at home.”

Several miles to the south, in the hamlet of North Creek, Edward Austin Jr. (1811-1883) and his wife, Minerva Rollin Austin (1811-1908), saw five of their 11 sons leave home to fight for the Union during the Civil War. There was service and sacrifice in their household, as four of the Austin brothers died during the conflict.

It was 150 years ago when the family learned of their first son’s death. Over the next two years, three more would die serving their country.

•Pvt. Rollin Austin, 19, died April 10, 1862 in Washington, D.C. He was in Company E of the 22nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

•Pvt. Shelden Austin, 23, died June 23, 1862 at the White House Hospital, Virginia. He was in Company A of the 93rd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

•Pvt. David Austin, 22, died Sept. 25, 1863 at the Hampton Hospital, Virginia. He was in Company D of the 118th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

•Pvt. Charles Austin, 18, died April 5, 1864 at Pingo Landing, North Carolina. He was in Company B of the 96th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The surviving brother in the Army, George Washington Austin, joined Company B of the 148th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

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