Andrew Barclay Spurling
|Andrew Barclay Spurling|
Brigadier General Andrew Barclay Spurling
March 20, 1833|
Cranberry Isles, Maine
|Died||August 13, 1906
|Place of burial||Rosehill Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois|
|Allegiance||United States of America
|Years of service||1861–1866|
|Unit||2nd Maine Volunteer Cavalry Regiment|
|Awards||Medal of Honor|
|Other work||Merchant ship captain, sheriff, cowboy, gold prospector, businessman, real estate investor|
Prior to the war he served on merchant ships, spent time in the California gold fields, worked as a cowboy for a time, and then obtain the captaincy of a merchant vessel. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted as a trooper in the 2nd Maine Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, eventually rising to the rank of brigadier general.
In 1895, as a Lieutenant Colonel, he was involved in fierce fighting at Evergreen, Alabama. In a solo engagement, he exchanged fire with five Confederate soldiers, wounding two and single-handedly capturing the group. In 1897 he was awarded the Medal of Honor by the United States Congress for heroism in this action.
After the war, he again returned to merchant shipping, but gave it up after surviving a shipwreck. Spurling settled in Maine, where he was elected sheriff of Hancock County. Subsequently, he held positions the US Interior, Justice, and Postal Departments. These led him to Chicago. He speculated in real estate there, and was one of three investors who founded the Chicago Rawhide Manufacturing Company; he was elected as its first president.
He moved to Elgin, Illinois, where he invested in real estate, and was appointed chief of police. His zealous enforcement of the law, without favoritism, annoyed liquor interests, and the City Council refused to renew his appointment.
He went on to construct a large home and other buildings, started preparations for the construction of Elgin's first skyscraper, and formed a syndicate to create an industrial center. In 1892, construction began on the city's first steel framed building, but construction was delayed due to a strike at the Carnegie steel plant. All of these projects had Spurling heavily in debt at the time of the Panic of 1893 financial crisis, which had the effect of ending the real estate boom, worsening his financial difficulties.
Spurling's holdings and properties were foreclosed by creditors. He lost his fortune, including his shares in Chicago Rawhide. He lost election bid in 1894 for sheriff of Kane County, and moved back to Chicago. He lived there, eyesight failing, with only a $50 a month government pension for income.
Medal of Honor citation
SPURLING, ANDREW BARCLAY
Rank and Organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 2d Maine Cavalry. Place and Date: Near Evergreen, Alabama, 23 March 1865. Entered Service At: Maine Born: 20 March 1833, at Cranberry Isles, Maine Date Of Issue: 10 September 1897.
Advanced alone in the darkness beyond the picket line, came upon 3 of the enemy, fired upon them (his fire being returned), wounded 2, and captured the whole party..
-  Military Times Hall of Heroes: Andrew Barclay Spurling
- http://www.elginhistory.com/dgb/ch05.htm Alft, E. C., Elgin History–VETERANS (The General).