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"History of Eau Claire County Wisconsin, 1914, Past and Present"


Chapter  14 - The Griffin Rifles

Biographical Notes

(-as transcribed from pages 216 - 217)

Sketches of those prominently identified with the company in its earlier days are of special interest.

The Griffin Rifles was named in honor of General Michael Griffin of Eau Claire.  He was born in County Clare, Ireland, September 9, 1842.  Enlisted in the Twelfth Wisconsin Infantry, September 11, 1861.  Wounded in battle of Bald Hill, Ga., on February 11, 1865. With Sherman on the march from Atlanta to the sea.  Commissioned First Lieutenant July 5, 1865.  In 1894 was elected to Congress and served two terms.  Was Department Commander of the G. A. R.  Died suddenly December 29, 1899.

General Griffin was Quartermaster General during the administration of Governor Hoard, 1891 and 1892.  He was an active and sincere friend of the company from its organization to the time of his death.

Harry B. McMaster, Captain from the organization, resigned and received his discharge January 28, 1890.  He had two years' experience at West Point and served the interests of the company with zeal, and established it upon a firm foundation.

John Eugene Horan, a charter member of the company, was discharged as First Lieutenant August 25, 1890.  He was a model officer, capable, indefatigable, and thoroughly informed.  He is now a prominent lawyer in the State of Washington, residing in Everett.

Edward G. Kehr was discharged as First Lieutenant March 13, 1891.  He rendered the company valuable service and was a particularly efficient and popular officer.

John Fred Farr, now a prominent practicing physician of this city, resigned and was discharged April 4, 1899.  His retirement was the subject of much regret.  He was an able, energetic officer.  in 1898 he resided at Stanley, Wis., and organized a company for service in the Spanish-American War, which was offered to the Government.  The war ended before the services of this company were required.  Several years later Dr. Farr again established his home in Eau Claire.

Moses W. Burns was the father of small arms practice in E Company and was among the first in the State to take up this branch of the military work.  No attention had been paid to practice until after the establishment of Camp Douglas ranges.  There in 1889 Captain Phillip Reade, of the regular army, started the work and from that day to this Wisconsin has been a shooting State and the Third Infantry has the reputation of being one of the best shooting regiments in the National Guard of the country.  Private Burns was made the team Captain of E Company and took entire charge of the instruction.  For years he had been interested in rifle shooting and had made a reputation as a rifle shot before he began with the military rifles.  With him rifle shooting had been reduced to a science.  As an instructor he was very efficient and took great satisfaction in imparting to the beginner information on the many fine points of the shooting game.  He took more delight in coaching a recruit into a good score than to make one himself.

He had been a member of the old City Guards, which existed in the seventies, and became a charter member of the Griffin Rifles.  He served five years in the company, when ill health compelled his retirement.  He died October 1, 1894.

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