Everyone has read at least one story about a man's devotion to his dog but this is a true story about a man's devotion to his horse.
Abraham Conger was born in Seneca County, Ohio on 21 Jul 1836, the son of John Baker Conger (b. 1805) and Beulah Carson. He grew up in Ohio and at the time of the Civil War was a Saddler, one who makes, repairs, or sells saddles for horses.
Abe, as he was known, enlisted on 8 November 1863 at Bucyrus, Ohio in Company A of the 12th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry as a Corporal/Saddler. He was then assigned a three-year old horse named "Frank" as his Cavalry mount. The 12th O.V.C. served under General William T. Sherman throughout most of the Civil War, including the famous March to the Sea in Georgia. Abe and Frank were also under the command of General George Stoneman in the campaign that fought behind enemy lines. You might say that Abe's life literally depended on Frank getting him back safely to the Union lines on several different occasions.
Abe was promoted to Sgt. in 1864 and both Abe and Frank survived their war service without any wounds. Abraham Conger was discharged with his unit, at Nashville, TN on 14 Nov 1865. Abe was then offered the opportunity to purchase his mount, which he did. He took Frank back to a farm he owned in Eden Twp., Wyandot Co., Ohio. Abe and Frank lived alone on the farm until Abe married Elizabeth Brintlinger on 21 Dec 1871 at Columbus, Franklin Co., OH. Three children (Ulysses Grant on 12 Oct 1872, Lettie Leora on 14 Sep 1875 and John Curtis on 19 Dec 1877) were born to Abe and Elizabeth while they lived at Nevada, Wyandot Co., OH.
Certainly the children looked on Frank as a member of the family while growing up. Abe Conger took care of Frank for over 20 years, until the horse died in 1886. Abe, with the help of some of his Civil War friends, buried Frank on a farm in adjacent Crawford County, Ohio and erected a monument to Frank's war service. After 112 years this monument is in need of restoration.
It is rather ironic that shortly after Frank's death Abe's health began to fail and he was forced to sell his farm and move to the small community of Lewis Center, in Delaware County, Ohio
Abraham Conger received a pension in 1890 for his Civil War service. He died at Lewis Center, Ohio on 31 May 1905.
[Note: Doris Ann Conger supplied some of the material in this article and some came from Conger Family in America, Vol. II. The author, Robert R. Guilinger, is the grandson of Margaret (Conger) Guilinger (1863-1927)
(Source: Written by Robert R. Guilinger, January 1998)