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JBS site ed. 2011 - K
Copyright,2000 through 2011, Leonard Bucklin
Biographical Notes on the
LIFE OF JOHN
By Leonard H.
Who was John Knight Bucklyn?
What did he do?
John Knight Bucklyn (with a "y") was born on 21 April 1834 in Hopkins Mill, Forster, Rhode
Island. His family line is firmly in the Bucklin (spelled with an "i") family,
directly from William Bucklin who came to New England in 1630. . (William -
Joseph - Joseph, Jr - Benjamin - Squire - Squire, Jr. - Jeremiah - John Knight.)
John's father - Jeremiah - was born into the Bucklins that had been in
Forster since Squire Bucklin settled there as a blacksmith.
siblings retained the "Bucklin" without the "y" as it had
been for several generations --- except for brother Isaac, who changed his
family's spelling to an "e" to be Bucklens!.
As to the the Isaac who changed to using an "e" and the Jeremiah that changed
to using a "y", it might be significant that each of them were highly educated.
Perhaps each thought they "knew better" how the family name should be spelled.
Jeremiah change was a firm one. He even had some relatives reburied with the new spelling in the
new grave markers. Why the name spelling change? We do not know.
Newspaper clippings show the "Bucklyns" attending "Bucklin "family weddings and such
family events, so there
apparently was no animosity that caused John Knight's father to distinguish himself from his
ancestors, siblings, aunts and uncles by using a different spelling.
John Knight Bucklyn graduated from the Academy at East Greenwich, RI, and
taught school in East Greenwich for a period until he returned to the Academy
for additional education. In the fall of 1856
he entered the Smithville Seminary and graduated with a college degree in 1857.
(One biographer indicates John had a Doctor of Legal Literature degree.) He then entered Brown University
in Providence, RI, from which he graduated with honors, in 1861,
with a Master of Arts degree. After his graduation he again became a teacher.
When the Civil War started, John Knight Bucklyn was in Battery E of the 1st Regiment Light Artillery, which was
organized at Providence 23 Sep 1861. Bucklyn declined an offered commission as
an officer, stating he wanted to earn his rank. He enlisted as a private and rose
through the non-commissioned ranks and commissioned officer grades to become the Captain of the
Batterty E. Unit. The unit began its service
at the effective start of the military campaigns of the Civil War, and participated
almost continuously in battles, including the bloody battles of Bull Run, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville,
and Gettysburg, in which Capt. Bucklin was the commanding officer.
The appreciation his men had for Bucklyn as their commander was illustrated
in 1886, when a monument was erected on the Gettysburg battlefield, to mark where
Battery E had fought. (The unit was stationed at Cemetery Ridge, and
specifically later, at the Peach Orchard, scenes of perhaps the most intense
fighting of the Civil War.) After the service of dedication, several of the
soldiers asked for permission, and were granted permission, to chisel at the bottom: "Lt. J. K. Bucklyn Commanding".
After the Civil War, Bucklyn formed a college preparatory school at Mystic,
Connecticut, the Mystic Valley Institute, and was its President until his death.
Bucklyn's tomb is in the Lower Mystic Cemetery (Fish Town Cemetery), Mystic, CT.
Historian Steve Usler, of Warwick, Rhode Island, has written an article about
John Knight Bucklin. Volume 4, Civil War Historian (March/April
2008 issue). Usler is in the process of writing a full book about John Knight Bucklyn.
Read our page on John Knight Bucklyn's Medal of Honor citation,
which contains both the official citation and our research notes on his heroic acts.
biographical material, focusing on the personal facts and civilian career of
John Knight Bucklin, at our additional page on him.
biographical material, focusing on the military career of John Knight Bucklin,
at our additional page on him.
Bucklyn is mentioned often in the several hundred pages of the official history of
Battery E of the First Regiment of Rhode Island Light Artillery. We
have some additional notes on Bucklyn and
also the entire history book of Battery E available for you.
Read still more biographical J.K. Bucklyn material,
written at the start of the 1900's. It is a part of the material we have not
yet incorporated into our data base or biography of JK Bucklyn, because of lack
of funds to do so.