JAMES WEBB LONG was born at Hillsborough, Orange County, North Carolina, June 20, 1840. His father Edwin Ramsay Long, was an officer in the Second United States Infantry, and when James was an infant was ordered to Buffalo, New York, where the regiment was stationed. In 1844 the regiment was ordered to Detroit. Lieut. E. R. Long read medicine, and graduated at the Rush Medical College, Chicago; but died as a result of a cut received while making a post mortem examination. From Detroit, Major Long's mother went to North Carolina with her children, remained a year, then returned to Buffalo, where they lived until her death in 1851, she having in the meantime been married to William Lovering, Jr. Soon after her death James W. Long was sent to North Carolina to complete his education, under the care of his grandfather, the Hon. John Long of Randolph County, in that State. There he graduated in the higher branches, including languages, from the collegiate institute presided over by the Rev. Simcon Colton, D.D.; first President of Amherst College. He then went into a store and learned mercantile customs and practical book-keeping, afterward studied medicine and read law. In 1859 Major Long came north to Buffalo, soon secured the position of local editor of the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser; afterward became correspondent of the Buffalo Courier, and then Washington correspondent of the Commercial Advertiser; being also at the time a paid correspondent for Russell & Tollman's Boston Musical Journal. In Washington, Mrs. Edith Grimsley, a relative of the wife of Abraham Lincoln, procured for him, as a personal favor to herself, an appointment as Second Lieutenant in the Second Regular Infantry (his father's old regiment), his commission dating August 5, 1861. Joining his company at Rolla, Missouri- the captain of which, Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, had been killed at Wilson's Creek- he found a brigade of regular troops under the command of Gen. Frederick Steele. Lieut. Long was appointed Assistant Adjutant General, retaining command of his company. The subsequent movements were: To St. Louis; thence to Jefferson City, participating in the Pope campaign; then into camp at Sedalia, from which he was ordered with two companies of the Second to join the rest of the regiment at Washington, D.C. He spent the winter of 1861-62 in Washington on provost duty; afterward participated in the campaigns of the Army of the Potomac until the battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862, where he was severely wounded, being shot in the foot, in the left wrist and through the right side of the face, thoroughly disabling him. While convalescing at Buffalo, he was detailed on recruiting service. On his way to rejoin his regiment he was stopped in Washington by an order to report in person to Maj. Gen. Heintzelman, commanding the Department, and was afterward assigned to duty as mustering officer for the defenses south of the Potomac, where he remained until promoted to a captaincy, where he rejoined and took command of his company (H) in the field at Beverly Ford, Va., in 1863. The regiment was sent from there to New York to assist in quelling the draft riots; returned to camp at Beverly Ford; then took part in the Virginia campaigns, Major Long being in command a large share of the time; participating in the battles of the Wilderness and Spottsylvania, from which place he was ordered to Alexandria for treatment, and from there to Annapolis when he was placed in military command at the officers' hospital. Next he was ordered to Louisville, Ky., on mustering duty, then to Newport on recruiting service, and from there to Trenton N.J., and at the latter place filled the position of recruiting officer, mustering officer, Assistant Adjutant General, Post Adjutant, officer in charge of drafts and credits, A.A.Q.M. and A.A.C.S. Subsequently Major Long was ordered, in succession, to Newport Barracks; to Louisville, Ky., with regiment; to command of Post of Jeffersonville, Indiana; to Louisville again; to command of Post of Warsaw, Ky.- at which place, February 19, 1867, he married Annie, daughter of Hon. L. Graves; back to Louisville; to Atlanta, Ga., where he was placed on "waiting orders" on account of physical disability resulting from his wounds, and directed to await orders at Warsaw, Ky. While there he was detailed on duty as Indian Agent for the State of Michigan, and ordered to Detroit to relieve William H. Brockway. The following notice of his administration of the office is taken from the History of Isabella County:


Major Long held the position of Indian Agent during the most important period of its existence. The country in which the Indian Reservations were situated was being stunted in its growth by the Indian lands not being taxable or the titles transferable. Major Long set to work earnestly, and to him Isabella county owes the flourishing condition of its northern portion, by reason of his procuring the Indians their patents from the Government. Although the duties were onerous and in hundreds of cases required the most critical judgment, as he was necessarily the sole arbiter and judge, yet, with different interests pressing their claims upon him, he so conducted the immense business that when he resigned he carried with him not only the respect of all classes of citizens, but the unqualified endorsement and confidence of the Indian Department at Washington, and the lasting good will of his Indian wards.

In 1871 Major Long resigned this position, removing to Saginaw City and afterward to Isabella County. During his military service he received two brevets for gallant and meritorious service in action- one being Brevet-Captain, for Gaines's Mill, Va., the other Brevet-Major, for the Battle of the Wilderness. Soon after settling in Isabella County he assumed the editorship of the Enterprise at Mt. Pleasant; afterward became editor and proprietor of the Times at the same place, and in 1884 purchased the Farwell (Clare County) Register, running both papers in the Republican cause during the Alger political canvass of that year. Major Long has been connected with journalism during the greater part of his life, beginning as early as 1858 as a contributor to the Newberne, N.C., Daily Progress. He has also had published thirty-six pieces of original music, vocal and instrumental, all of which have met with favor. His family ancestry and connections, both paternal and maternal, were prominently political and literary as well as military in their history. Five children have been born to Major and Mrs. Long, of whom but one daughter is now living- Annie Fitch, born at Mt. Pleasant, Mich., November 21, 1873. In the State Legislature, session of 1885, Major Long was clerk of the House Committees on State affairs and Labor Interests, and subsequently assistant Engrossing and Enrolling Clerk. The bill creating the Soldiers' Home was practically placed in his hands, after being referred by request to the Committee on State affairs. With others, he worked earnestly for the passage of the bill, and when it because a law, Gov. Alger appointed him as one of the officers of the Home. He first went to Lansing, where under Col. Samuel Wells, the office was opened, but after a short time it was removed to Grand Rapids, where it has since remained. Major Long has been connected with the Home since its organization, and is now its Adjutant and Quartermaster.

Document Source: Baxter, Albert, History of the City of Grand Rapids, New York and Grand Rapids: Munsell & Company, Publishers, 1891.

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