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12th Vermont Infantry

Biography
Aretas Bailey Blood

Army Life in Virginia

Aretas Bailey Blood8, {Sylvester7, John6, Caleb5, John4 James3, Richard2, James1}, was born on Blood Hill in West Windsor, Vt. 6 July, 1830. He m. in Hartland, Vt., 15 Sept., 1851, Nancy Delight Oakes (b. W. Windsor, 1 Jan., 1835, dau. of James William & Ann Louisa (Hall) Oakes).

Aretas lived on the homestead farm of his grandfather, known as "Blood Hill." At the taking of the 1870 census of Windsor, his farm was valued at $4,000, and he had additional personal property valued at $1,200. Children Ellen (age 17), Howard (age 9), Lester (age 7), Mary (age 4), Herman (age 3), and Eugene (age 2), were living in the household with George Grow (age 56), a hired hand, and Edgar Sawin (age 16), a farm laborer. Delight McNelly (age 68), was living with the family as well.

In a directory of the town in 1884, Aretas was farming 173 acres of land, and was a breeder of Merino sheep. He had a sugar orchard of 600 trees. In the same year it was mentioned that an elm tree standing near the house had a circumference of 18 feet and 2 inches. This elm was planted by a brother of Aretas' grandfather, John Blood when he moved to the area. Sadly, many of these ancient and beautiful Vermont elm trees were destroyed by a disease, but one can only imagine how beautiful they were, gracing the by-ways of the old dirt roads through the towns and villages of Vermont before the turn of the century.

Aretas was a Civil War soldier, serving in Co. "A", 12th Reg't Vt. Vols. He enlisted 19 Aug., 1862. He was mustered in on 4 Oct., 1862 and discharged 31 Jan., 1863. Family records say that he was discharged because he suffered with severe migraine headaches on the field and was unable to withstand the daily camp life because of these headaches. His wife Nancy probably never weighed over one hundred pounds in her life, only when she was carrying her children, according to her granddaughter, yet she lugged all her own water for household chores from a well 'across the yard from the house.' Aretas and Nancy had 13 children.

Aretas d. on the farm of heart disease, 11 Feb., 1892 (age 62).

Nancy d. at Walpole, Massachusetts, 15 Nov., 1899. They are both buried in the Sheddsville cemetery in West Windsor, Vt.

Source: Families of Cavendish and the Black River Valley of Windsor County, Vermont, Vol. 3, by Linda M. F. Welch. For more information contact: lindamfw@charter.net, or write her at: 179 Meriden Road, Lebanon, NH 03766]