Compiled by John W. Quist


      Stephen Philander Thrall was born in Berlin Township, Delaware County, Ohio on April 25, 1843. (1)  He was the son of Arza (1818-1909) and Mary (Chandler) (1820-1902) Thrall.  In addition to being a farmer, Arza was a harness and saddle maker.  Over time, Arza prospered and owned much good land. (2)  Arza and Mary had ten children:  Comfort Amanda (born c.1841), Stephen Philander (1843), Phoebe Jane (1846), Mary Ella (1848), Emma Eliza (c.1850), Josephine (1852), Asineth (c.1854), Asa James (1858), Sarah (1861), and Cornelia (1863). (3)

      On August 10, 1861, at the age of 18, Stephen Thrall enlisted at the town of Delaware as a Private for three years’ service in Delaware County’s Company D, 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment (20th O.V.I.). (4)  The regiment was reorganized as a three years’ regiment at Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio.  It was moved to Camp King near Covington, KY and mustered in for three years’ service on October 21.  It was then stationed at Covington and Newport, KY until February 11, 1862 to defend Cincinnati against a threatened attack by Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith.  Their first major engagement was the Battle of Fort Donelson, TN (February 14-16), in which the Union forces were victorious. (5)  Stephen told a story about what happened after the battle: “…while there, and assisting in guarding 1,400 [Confederate] prisoners on the boat, they formed a plot to overpower the guard and escape, but the secret leaked out just as they were about to execute it, when Maj. [Charles H.] McElroy [then a Captain], with pistol, covered the pilot, and ordered him to ‘pull for the middle of the stream,’ and, with sixty-five heavily loaded guns, with bayonets bristling at them, the prisoners were prevented from consummating their plan of escape.” (6)   The 20th was next involved in the following actions:  Battle of Shiloh, TN (April 6-7), siege of Corinth, MS (April 29-May 30), guard duty at Pittsburg Landing, TN until June, at Bolivar, TN until September, General U.S. Grant’s Central Mississippi Campaign (November 2-January 10, 1863), Memphis, TN (January 26), Lake Providence, LA (February 22 until April), the Battle of Port Gibson, MS (April 25-May 1, 1863), Battle of Raymond, MS (May 12). (7)  He was wounded at Raymond, and, while hospitalized, he and many others were captured by the Confederates.  After 13 days, they were paroled. (8)  The regiment was then involved in the Vicksburg, MS siege and assault (May 18-July 4) and duty at Vicksburg (July-February 1864).  On January 1, 1864, the regiment “veteranized,” which means they reenlisted.   The next action was the Meridian, MS Campaign (February 3-March 2).  During the months of March and April, the men were on furlough.  When they returned to duty, they moved to Clifton, TN and then marched to Ackworth, GA (April 29-June 9).  They were involved in the long Atlanta, GA Campaign from June 9 until September 8, including actions at Marietta, GA and Kennesaw Mountain, GA (June 10-July 2), the Siege of Atlanta (July 22-August 25), the Battle of Jonesboro, GA (August 31-September 2), operations against General John Bell Hood in northern GA and southern AL (September 29-November 3), and General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” (November 15-December 10), (9) during which Stephen was detailed in the ordnance department. (10)  Next came the Siege of Savannah, GA (December 10-21), Carolinas Campaign (January-April 1865), and surrender of General Joseph E. Johnston and his armies near Durham, NC (April 26).  They moved to Washington, D.C., via Richmond, VA (April 29-May 20), and participated in the Grand Review of the Armies (May 24).  In June, the regiment was moved to Louisville, KY, where Stephen was mustered out with the rest of his Company on July 15, 1865. ­­­­(11)

      About a year after Stephen enlisted in Company D, 20th O.V.I., his father, Arza, on October 6, 1862, enlisted in the same Company and served to the end of the Civil War. (12)

      On March 27, 1866 in the county, Stephen married Evaline Marietta Gilson who was born in Geauga County, Ohio on October 28, 1846. (13)  She was the daughter of Ohio natives Winfield Scott (1821-1862) and Betsy Ann (Evarts) Gilson (1822-1913). (14)  Winfield was a “cooper” by trade, which means he was a cask or barrel maker. (15)  They had four children born between 1843 and 1850, and the family was living in Berlin Township for the 1860 U.S. census.  Both parents died at Burr Oak Village, Burr Oak Township, St. Joseph County, Michigan. (16)

      Stephen and Evaline had ten children, only 8 of whom reached adulthood:  Ada M. (born in 1867), Myrtie L. (1870), Anna M. (1873), Charles E. (1875), George (1878), Herbert Arthur (1880), Frederick G. (1883), and Lena (1887). (17)

      When Stephen’s father and mother ended farming and moved to Delaware in 1878 to start a livery business, (18) Stephen and his family moved to the homestead.  Stephen became one of the most successful and well known farmers of Delaware County.  He served as County Sheriff for two terms, from 1891 to 1898. (19

      The Thrall family members were faithful members of the Cheshire Baptist church of Berlin Township.

      Stephen was a member of the Masonic Lodge of Sunbury.  He was also a member of the George B. Torrence Post 60 of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) in Delaware, being mustered in on May 25, 1882. (20)

      Stephen Thrall died at his home in the early morning of June 1, 1904, (21) and, on July 5, Evaline applied for a U.S. government pension as the widow of a Civil War veteran. (22)  Evaline (Gilson) Thrall died on September 16, 1933. (23)  Both were buried at the Cheshire Cemetery. (24)

Compiled by John W. Quist
Delaware, Ohio
July 21, 2011


“Stephen Philander Thrall.” Baird/Howland Family Tree, (online)

 “A. Thrall.” History of Delaware County and Ohio.  O.L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1880;

      page 646

Footnote 1; some birthdates from U.S. censuses of 1850, 1860, and 1870

  “Stephen P Thrall.” U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles,

“20th O.V.I.” (online)

  “Stephen P. Thrall.” History of Delaware County and Ohio.  O.L. Baskin & Co., Chicago,

    1880; page 705

Footnote 5 

“Thrall, Stephen P.” The Military History of Ohio. H.H. Hardesty, Publisher; New York,
      1886 (with special section for Delaware County); page 316

  Footnote 5

 10  Footnote 8

 11  Footnote 5

12  “Thrall, Arza.” Twentieth Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Company D, Official Roster of
Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1961-1866, Vol. II,
      Cincinnati, Ohio, 1886,  page 700

 13  “Evaline Marietta Gilson.” Alum Creek Families, Delaware & Morrow County, Ohio,

 14  “Winfield S. Gilson.” (View Post-em) Baird/Howland Family Tree,

 15  “Cooper.”

 16  Footnote 14

 17  Footnote 1

 18  “A. Thrall.” History of Delaware County and Ohio.  O.L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1880;
        page 646

 19  Footnote 6

 20  Footnote 8, page 326

 21  “Death of S.P. Thrall.” The Weekly Journal-Herald, Delaware, Ohio, Thursday, June 9,
        1904, page 7

 22  “Stephen P. Thrall.” Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-

 23  Footnote 13 

24  Cheshire Cemetery records, Berlin Township, Delaware County


Goto Arza Thrall, his father
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