Last Two Men to Die At Camp Chase

The article below mentions Hartup and Oliver and the compiler feels it necessary to explain who they were.

Ironically the only planned execution at the Camp Chase Prison were not Confederate but rather Union soldiers. They were Hiram Oliver and J. W. Hartup both of Company A of the 43rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry. They were hanged next to prison number 1 at the Camp Chase Prison on September 6, 1865. Their bodies were given to their familes and taken back home to Knox County, Ohio. They are not buried at the Camp Chase Cemetery. The two soldiers were deserters from the Union Army although when the compiler pulled Hiram Oliver's Compiled Military Service Records at the National Archives it showed him being discharged in 1862 and then reenlisting again. A Provost Marshall named Cook was after Hartup and Oliver. Cook had a reputation of getting his deserters and tracking them down. When Oliver and Hartup found out who was going to be coming after them they came up with a plan. In late 1864 both Oliver and Hartup knocked on the door of Provost Marshall Cook's private home in Ohio. When he answered they ask to speak to Cook. When Cook replied who he was they took their revolvers out and shot him dead. However, the neighbors were able to identify who had shot Cook and the court-marital that followed in Cambridge, Ohio made state news. There are over three (3) roles of micro-film just on the trial of Hartup and Oliver at the National Archives. It would probably take a week or so to read the whole transcripts of the trial.

When ask about the killing of Provost Marshal Cook, Oliver stated “Yes, I did it – Hartup did not. I did it because I thought that he [Cook] would come to Illinois and arrest me, as he had done and if he did I know that I would kill him or he would kill me. Yes, I am the guilty one. Oh my God, forgive me!”

John Wesley Hartup had no family or children.

Oliver’s family came to the Guard House at Camp Chase to give their final good-byes.  “Several times came the firm, sorrowful order to go, but each time came such floods of bursting sorrow that the departure was delayed.  A sturdy soldier took the little girl in his arms, an officer supported the half crazed mother to the door and Oliver was alone with his clergymen.”

Oliver was dressed in black while Hartup was dressed in a checkered shirt vest and pants.

Two wooden red colored coffins awaited the guilty parties.  On the platform a black cap was put over their head. When the last Amen was heard the order was given to release the drop and Oliver and Hartup fell four feet. The neck of Oliver seemed broken by the fall and he scarcely struggled, but Hartup evidently died by strangulation and his struggles, were prolonged.  It took more than twenty-six minutes before the body of Hartup was still.

The following was supplied by George Martiin at The Civil War Message Board Portal

Hiram Oliver

Residence was not listed; 18 years old.
Enlisted on 10/21/1861 as a Private.
On 12/19/1861 he mustered into "A" Co. OH 43rd Infantry
He was discharged for disability on 7/28/1862 at Camp Chase, OH
Other Information: died 9/6/1865 in Camp Chase, Columbus, OH

John W. Hartup

Residence was not listed; 18 years old.
Enlisted on 10/24/1861 as a Private.
On 12/19/1861 he mustered into "A" Co. OH 43rd Infantry
He was Executed on 9/6/1865 at Camp Chase, OH

The following article came from the newspaper "The Ohio State Journal" on May 3, 1866 on page three column three:

CAMP CHASE IN ITS DECLINE- During the war there flourished as a thing of life, a few miles from Columbus, a great military center, a city within itself, a monstrous struggling thing, bound down by law and force, a something with an organism different from all around it, a power in the land looked to with anxious eye, a living giant preparing always for a great struggle. It is no longer a military center, no more a living thing; the city is deserted, the giant’s form, a skeleton. Hundreds and thousands of armed men, paraded on the guardians of the living thing; a single man, unarmed, keeps watch and ward over the remains of the thing dead waiting for burial. Two years ago you entered the precincts of Camp Chase armed with passes signed and countersigned; were directed by short spoken orderlies; warned by straight up and down sentinels; received with punctilious standoffishness by officials; and came away duly impressed with the military power of the country. Now you drive up to the gate as you would to that of a cemetery; the guardian presents himself in his shirt sleeves; you tell him your desires; he kicks away a huge stone; opens the gate; cautions you a little, and you enter unchallenged and unheralded to the mighty presence of the great solitude of loneliness. The rows of barracks remain unchanged; the flowers planted by some careful wife of some careless officer are ready to record that the hand of woman has been here; the flag staff stands without pulley, rope or flag; the chapel with its half change in the latter day to a theatre remains a monument of the one, a tell tale of the other, the prison pens frown still with barred gates, but are silent within. In one, the scaffold upon which Hartup and Oliver were executed stands firm-the grim guardian of the ghostly solitude, and with beam in place, and trap half sprung, seems waiting for another victim. Everywhere are the marks of the skeleton. The pump stocks have all been withdrawn from the wells; the windows taken from the buildings grass growing on the parade ground. Old shoes tumble into promiscuous grouping, tell which buildings have been last occupied; and the martin-boxes give some signs of life. A little fruit tree, in the midst of all this loneliness, blossoms and puts forth leaves with all the proud defiance of nature, and with a scornful fling with every wave of wind, for the works of man perishing on every side. Camp Chase has but few visitors now, and these few can scarcely tell why they go. Proud and powerful while living, it is not great, but only silent and gloomy in its decline.

Top of page

© 2020 Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery. All rights reserved.
Website by BlueTone Media