It feels like every time I turn around, its time to commemorate another milestone.
April 6th was the 147th anniversary of a lesser-known event, when a young Pennsylvanian earned a soldier’s highest award. Since May is National Military Appreciation Month, this is a good time to tell that story.
The young man was Trustrim Connell, who courageously captured a Confederate flag at the end of the Civil War. Corporal Connell was with the 138th Pennsylvania Volunteers at the Battle of Sayler’s (Sailer’s) Creek, Virginia.
In 1862 Congress authorized the fabrication of a large number of identical bronze medals, to allow quick recognition of heroes throughout the wide-ranging conflict. (Over 1,000 Medals of Honor were awarded in the Civil War.) By the end of his military career Connell had attained the rank of Captain, and in 1907, received a new gold medal inscribed with the words, “For Valor.”
Trustrim Connell’s medals are currently on display at the Wells Fargo History Museum in Phoenix.
This is appropriate because, at the time Arizona became a state in 1912, Trustrim Connell was Wells Fargo & Co’s Express Agent in Phoenix. His career with Wells Fargo began in 1881 when he was named Agent in the Indian Territory, now within the State of Oklahoma. In 1898, Connell and his family transferred to Phoenix.