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John B. OakesJohn B. Oakes
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school, “female seminary,” in a small town, Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. During that period the Mexican War broke out [1848]. He enlisted in the army in the Mexican War, and although he never was sent to Mexico he had that military experience. So when the Civil War broke out, he immediately volunteered -- he was an ardent abolitionist -- for the northern army in Cincinnati. He served throughout the Civil War as an officer, principally guarding the Ohio River, in the Cincinnati area, against incursions and smugglers from Kentucky.

My father was born October 27, 1861, just a few months after the Civil War broke out, and his father, in a burst of patriotism, named my father George Washington Ochs. And the one incident in the Civil War period probably worth telling as part of the family lore, family background, is that Julius Ochs' wife, Bertha Levy Ochs, whom he had married several years earlier, had settled in Natchez, Mississippi, when she had to leave Germany under some pressure because as a student she had taken a small part in the student revolutions in 1848, in Landau, Rhenish Palatinate, where she was growing up. She was threatened with arrest and her family shipped her out to Mississippi, to Natchez, where they had some relatives.

Julius Ochs had met her there in his business travels around the South, and they were married in Louisville in 1855. She, having lived several years in the South, was a very ardent Confederate supporter during the war. And although she was married to an officer in the Union Army, the family story is that soon after my father was born in Cincinnati -- October 27, 1861, a few months after the war began -- she would wheel him in a baby carriage across the bridge that linked Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky, across the Ohio, loading the sides of the baby carriage with quinine, with medicine for the Confederate

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