Joseph R. Lawe, of Oconto, Wis., member of G. A. R. Post No. 74, was born February 10, 1842, at Kaukauna, Wis. His father, David R. Lawe, of Green Bay was born in England, and married Betsy Pricket, of Green Bay. She was the daughter of a Kentuckian, and her mother was of mixed Spanish and Indian blood. In his early manhood Mr. Lawe was engaged in the lumber trade, and enlisted October, 14, 1861, at Oconto, Company F, 12th Wisconsin Infantry. The rendezvous of the regiment was at Madison, and Mr. Lawe went with the command to Chicago, and thence to Quincy, Ill. He was taken sick and was carried to Hannibal and Weston Mo. He went thence to Leavenworth, to Kansas City, to Fort Scott, to Lawrence, to Fort Reily and back to Leavenworth, where he took passage on a transport down the Missouri River to St. Louis. He went thence to Columbus, and from there to Humboldt, where he was sick with bilious fever. He was detailed as escort to a mule train, and was attacked by rebels, his first encounter with them. None were injured, and they went to Bolivar, skirmishing on the route. He was next in the Oxford raid and returned to Holly Springs, and went next to Vicksburg and, after the capture of the city, joined in the pursuit of Johnston, and fought in the battle at Jackson.
The regiment went next to Natchez, where Mr. Lawe was sick in the hospital, and afterwards returned to Vicksburg and Natchez. He veteranized in January, 1864, and afterwards went on the Meridian Expedition, in which he was engaged in half a dozen skirmishes. Returning again to Vicksburg and Natchez, he came to Wisconsin on his veteran's furlough. He rejoined the regiment at Cairo, went to Paducah and to Rome, Ga., and marched with the columns of Sherman across the country to the sea. He was in the actions at Kennesaw Mountain and Peach Tree Creek, July 21, 1864; he was in the charge on the crest of the hill at Peach Tree Creek, and during the, two days of the fight at Atlanta, the, regiment won special commendation. They were in the lively work which followed until the battle, of Jonesboro, and returned to Atlanta. Meanwhile the date of the presidential election passed, on which Mr. Lawe cast his first vote for 'Honest Old Abe." He was present at the capture of Savannah, and went to Beauford Island, S. C., and next to Pocotaligo and was I'll a skirmish at the Salkahatchie River. He was in an engagement at Orangeburg, at Cheraw and at Fayettville, and witnessed the battle of Bentonville, going thence to Goldsboro and Raleigh. At Orangeburg three men crossed the Edisto River, Thomas Haley of Company H swimming across and carrying a rope preparatory to laying a pontoon bridge. He received a Medal of Honor and was breveted captain. After the surrender of Johnston, the regiment did its last marching thence to Washington, and participated in the Grand Review. A month latter, they went to Louisville to be mustered out and Mr. Lawe received honorable discharge in August.
Mr. Lawe was married to Mary C,. Bowers, July 11, 1879, at Peshtigo, Wis. Since his return to Oconto, Mr. Lawe has managed his business in the lumber trade.
The parents of Mrs. Lawe were William and Frances (Welch) Bowers. Her father was born in Georgia, and her mother in Virginia. They came to Wisconsin in 1862, and Mr. Bowers died at the age of 84. George, Jasper and Joshua, brothers of Mrs. Lawe, were in Wisconsin regiments. The last was wounded in action and taken prisoner, and sent to Andersonville.