Robert Wampler, honored as a pioneer in Iowa and as one of the few remaining veterans of the Civil war, has
been a resident of Allamakee county since 1852. He has, therefore, witnessed almost its entire growth and development
and has borne an honored part therein, his work along agricultural lines having constituted one of the forces in
local agricultural development. He was born in Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, May 22, 1842, and is a son of
Eli Wampler, also a native of the Keystone state. The father grew to maturity in Westmoreland county and there
married Miss Mary Jane Luek, a native of the same section. They moved west in 1850 and settled as pioneers in Jackson
county, where they resided for two years, moving in 1852 to Allamakee county. The father, however, never arrived
in this section for he died of cholera on a Mississippi river boat upon the journey, while two of his sons and
one of his daughters died of the same disease after reaching Lansing, Iowa. Mrs. Wampler with her surviving children
located on Clear creek, where she later married again.
Robert Wampler remained with his mother until the outbreak of the Civil war, when, on October 15, 1861, he joined
Company B, Twelfth Iowa Volunteer Infantry. The regiment was soon afterward sent to Dubuque, where it was organized
and drilled for some time, and afterward it went to St. Louis, where it remained during the winter months. In the
spring of 1862 it was sent down the river to Fort Henry, where Mr. Sampler was for the first time under fire. He
later participated in the battle of Shiloh, where he was wounded in a peculiar manner. Having put his hand to his
head to pull down his cap behind, a ball cut off his finger and gave him also a scalp wound across the back of
his head. He was taken prisoner with General Prentiss and taken to Memphis, and later to Mobile and Montgomery,
where he contracted typhoid fever so severely as to bring him near death and was placed in a hospital until his
recovery. He was then paroled and sent to Chattanooga with about eleven hundred other soldiers to be exchanged,
but it was not until October of that year that the exchange was completed in Richmond. Upon his exchange he went
to St. Louis, where he drew some money and received clothing and through the influence and kindness of Colonel
Earl his company was sent home on a furlough to recuperate. After six weeks he returned to St. Louis and rejoined
his command at Benton Barracks, the regiment being later ordered to Vicksburg. It participated in the siege preceding
the fall of that city and also in the battle at Jackson. It later returned to Memphis and afterward took part in
the raid Wampler retired from active life and moved into Waukon, having earned leisure and rest by many years of
honorable and worthy labor. He purchased a comfortable residence in the city and makes his home therein, having
disposed of all of his farm property.
While home on a furlough during the Civil war Mr. Wampler married, April 11, 1864, Miss Margaret Duff, a native
of Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, who was reared and educated in Allamakee county. Mr. and Mrs. Wampler have
five children: Eli M., who is a resident of Sioux City, Iowa; L. O., of Saukon; Ella, married J. E. Mills, of Sioux
Falls, South Dakota; Mary Agnes, the wife of L. F. Seelig, of Saukon; and Lillian, who was married December 25,
1912. Two sons born to Mr. and Mrs. Sampler have passed away. James grew to maturity and married. He died in St.
Paul, Minnesota, in 1901. Warren met death by accident, having been killed by a horse when he was a young man of
seventeen, his death occuring in 1892.
Politically Mr. Wampler is identified with the republican party and has been for many years an active worker in
its ranks. He has been a delegate to numerous republican conventions and served for a number of years as city assessor.
He is prominent in the affairs of the Grand Army of the Republic, being connected with John J. Stillman Post, No.
194, of which he has served as commander and of which he is at present chaplain. Since he was a lad of ten years
he has been a resident of Allamakee county and now at seventy one can count among his friends many who have known
him from boyhood. As a public spirited and progressive citizen he has borne his part in the work of development
and progress, displaying in all business, public and private relations of life the same loyalty and courage which
marked his service on the southern battlefields.
Past and Present of Allamakee County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organization, Progress and Achievemant
By: Ellery M. Hancock
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Allamakee County, IA
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