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Laconia

Postwar photo of Wade Laconia and wife, at a veterans’ reunion.

Little is known of his parents, except that he was “of foreign parentage” (the obituary of Wade’s son, James Wade LaConia/Laconia, claimed that the family was of Irish descent). No traces of the family (at least the way that it is spelled in Page County) can be found in the U.S. census records before 1870. However, the Laconia family of Page may have links to the Laconey/Leconey/Lecony/Lacony families that appear in and around the area of Camden County, New Jersey in census records as early as the mid 1800s. If that be the case, then the family may have been in the United States as early as the middle 1700s.

According to his obituary, Wade Laconia “led a varied life having been a detective of policeman in or near Philadelphia for sixteen years, a sailor for eight years, and having also had experience in the oyster packing business and other lines of work in various parts of the country.” Wade Laconia married sometime around 1840, and a son by this union, James Wade Laconia, was born in Pennsylvania in 1841.

Not long after the outbreak of the Civil War, on July 21, 1861, Wade Laconia enlisted in Company K, 28th Pennsylvania Infantry, and was described as 5’3 ½, with fair complexion, blue eyes, and grey hair. During Laconia’s term of service (he, serving as an orderly sergeant/hospital cook with the regiment during most of his service), his regiment served in actions at Bolivar Heights, Front Royal and Cedar Mountain. Before the Second Battle of Bull Run (Manassas), Laconia suffered from vertigo, which caused him “to fall very often and from which he became seriously injured.” Following the battle of Antietam (Sharpsburg), Laconia was injured while offloading hospital stores from a wagon. The injuries sustained during the late summer of 1862 caused Laconia’s detachment from his regiment and his subsequent discharge, from Chestnut Hill Hospital in Philadelphia, on June 10, 1864. While residing at his home at 524 North Street in Philadelphia, on September 7, 1864, Wade Laconia filed for and received a disability pension (application #51150, certificate #181603). Despite having done this, he again volunteered for military service on March 29, 1865 as a substitute, and served in Co. E, 91st Pennsylvania Infantry until discharged again on June 2, 1865, at Campbell U.S. Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.. There is also an indication that Wade may have served with the 147th Pennsylvania Infantry, but nothing conclusive can be located on said service.

In between his service in the Union army and the time he moved to Page County, Wade Laconia served in the Navy Yard in Philadelphia (from 1867-1871), and married a second time (this time to Anna Mariah Harding). He and Mariah are shown in the 1870 census for Philadelphia. Wade Laconia was also listed twenty years later in the 1890 Veterans Census and, was at that time, residing at 1518 S. Second Street and was recorded as having been wounded by an artillery shell during the war. Wade married a third time to Elizabeth Russell, in Camden, New Jersey, on November 2, 1894.

Wade Laconia can also be traced through his status as a veteran in later years when he applied for an upgrade to his military pension in 1897, and when he was admitted to the National Soldiers Home in Hampton, Virginia, on February 23, 1907. Having been taken seriously ill during a visit during the holidays, Wade Laconia died at the home of his grandson, Hubert Perry Laconia in Shenandoah, on Friday, January 20, 1914, at the age of 87. Though a member of the Methodist church, he was buried in Antioch Cemetery.

LaconiawithConfederates

Closeup of Laconia at a reunion of local Confederate veterans from the Rosser-Gibbons Camp, 1924. Waving the U.S. flag, Laconia is believed to be the only Union veteran in the photograph.

1924RosserGibbonscsreunion

Laconia, at right, in the complete image of the reunion in 1924.

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