Samuel Adolphus Judd was born on May 11 or 21, 1834, in South Hadley, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel 1806-1890) and Julia Ann Swain or Swaine (d. 1894).
Samuel and Julia were married on December 1, 1830 and by 1833 were residing in Avon, New York, although shortly afterwards they moved to South Hadley, Massachusetts where they were living by 1834 and indeed where they lived for some years.
Sometime around 1852 Samuel (elder) moved his family from South Hadley, where he had lived for 46 years, to Grand Rapids, and joined into partnership with one B. B. Church in the market business. In 1855 he brought his son George into the business, and by 1858 Samuel Sr. had left the firm to become crier for the U.S. Court. In 1859-60 Samuel was living on the north side of Park between Division and Bostwick Streets in Grand Rapids, and in the spring of 1860, Samuel A. entered into a co-partnership with one E. Powers “for the purpose of carrying on the business of the bakery and confectionery business.” Their store was opposite R. E. Butterworth’s block of buildings on Monroe Street.
Samuel A. married South Hadley native Clarissa Louise Smith (1834-1922) October 25, 1854, at the Congregational church in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and they had two children: William Elliott (b. 1855) and Jennie Eugenia (b. 1858).
By 1860 Samuel was operating a flour and feed store and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids, Third Ward. When the war broke out he was also serving as a volunteer fireman having been elected assistant foreman of Hook and Ladder company 1, and Treasurer of the Fireman’s Association.
During the late 1850s, Samuel A. and his brother George E. both became actively involved in the development of the Valley City Guards (VCG), a local militia company organized in Grand Rapids in 1855. Sam Judd was elected Second Lieutenant of the VCG on February 12, 1858, and elected First Lieutenant on April 24, 1859. According to one observer Samuel was a superb marksman. On May 28, 1859, the VCG, “numbering 25 guns under the command of Captain Byron R. Pierce, and accompanied by the German Brass Band, were out yesterday afternoon on their fourth target excursion. The company marched to a vacant lot near the old slaughter house, when the target was erected at a distance of 12 rods from the line. Major [Stephen] Champlin, Paymaster [Robert] Collins and Captain [John] Fay, were selected as judges. After each member had fired three shots, the judges reported the best string shot to have been made by Color-Sargeant Thomas Greenly, whose average shot measured 7 and 3/16 inches; second best, Geo. Judd. The best single shot, and the only one in the ‘bull's eye’, was made by Samuel Judd.” He was elected as Captain on December 3, 1860, when Captain Byron Pierce resigned.
Samuel was 27 years old when he enlisted as Captain of Company A on May 13, 1861, along with his younger brother George, and indeed the VCG would form the nucleus of Company A. When the Regiment embarked on two boats at Detroit on the evening of June 13, 1861, “Captain Judd,” wrote George Miller of Company A, and Lieutenant Fred Schriver, also of Company A, “were accidentally left but they took the next boat and came after us, they overtook the rear train at Pittsburg, they overhauled our train just before we got to Harrisburg [Pennsylvania]. Our train had stopped for something when the second train came up, Captain Judd and the Lieutenant came up and joined us, as they came walking up they were greeted with 3 heavy cheers from our boys who swore they would not go through Baltimore without Captain Judd.”
While in camp, one of Judd’s responsibilities, according to Charles Wright of Company A, was to hand out the mail to the members of his company, and “When the mail came in to our camp our boys all crowded around captain Sam Judd expecting to get news from their friends.” At some point after the Regiment went into its winter quarters Clara Judd joined her husband. On January 15, 1862, Wright wrote home to his sister that “They live in a log house, close by, that I and the boys built for him.”
Samuel was killed in action on May 31, 1862 at Fair Oaks, Virginia, at the same time that his brother George lost an arm.
The Third Regiment’s chaplain, Rev. Joseph Anderson, wrote an expression of sympathy to the deceased’s family on June 2, 1862. “You will have received ere this reaches you,” Anderson wrote,
the saddening intelligence of the death of your noble son, and the maiming for life, if not the death, of another. There are times when a calamity is so overwhelming as to mock all efforts at consolation, and i really scarcely know how to approach you, under your sad bereavement, so as to be the minister of comfort to you both. But, if to know that Samuel Judd was the idol of not merely his own company, but also of the whole Regiment; if to know that the sympathies of them all are yours -- earnestly and deeply yours; if that remembrance of the fact that the cause for which he poured out his noble life was worthy of such a sacrifice; if bravery, courage and manly daring on that hard fought battle field, in which the Michigan Third crowned themselves with laurels, and decided the fortunes of the day, on one of the hardest fought battle fields of history of our country; and if to know that among the heroes of that day the deeds of your sons will live in the memory of all the witnesses of their bravery -- if all those and even more are any alleviation, or will bring any balm to your wounded spirits, then you have the satisfaction of knowing that all these are true; and that, while these cannot restore him that is gone, nor make him whole who is maimed, yet, certainly the cause and manner of your bereavement should be some alleviation of your grief; and, while it is natural that the parents bosom should heave, and the tear of sorrow fall, yet remember that his life was his country's; and when she demanded it, Samuel Judd nobly and willingly surrendered it. If a heathen poet, therefore, exclaimed: “It is honorable and glorious to die for our country,” how much more should a Christian parent be imbued with a higher feeling.
Some years after the war Dan Crotty of Company F wrote of Judd’s death, “Oh, how many of our comrades we leave behind, fallen in defence of their Nation's flag. The brave and heroic Captain Samuel Judd, of Company A, is no more. He was killed on the skirmish line leading on his men. He sold his life well, however, for when his body was found three large rebels lay by his side, whom he had made bite the dust. The whole Regiment mourn his loss.” At home in Grand Rapids the news of Judd’s death came as a shock. Rebecca Richmond, daughter of William Richmond, one of Grand Rapids leading citizens, wrote in her diary on June 4, 1862, “We received today very bad news from the Third Regiment which was engaged in the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia on Saturday and Sunday last. The report is that Captain Samuel Judd is killed and . . . Geo. Judd . . . severely wounded, beside very many subordinate officers and privates of course. Our city is in a state of excitement and mourning and constantly expecting and dreading a confirmation of our worst fears!”
In late June of 1862, N. L. Avery was chosen by several of the leading citizens of Grand Rapids to go out to Fair Oaks soon after the battle and distribute hospital supplies, money etc. to the wounded men of the Old Third; he was also tasked with bringing home the remains of Samuel Judd. On July 2, 1862, Judd’s remains were returned to Grand Rapids and according to one report the turnout for the “return” of the body was most impressive. According to one local report,
The Telegraph of Tuesday morning last, announced to our citizens that the earthly remains of this gallant soldier, in charge of N. L. Avery, Esq., would reach this city on the afternoon train from the east. The Masonic Fraternity, fireman, Military, and a large concourse of our citizens repaired to the depot to receive them. Upon the arrival of the cars a procession was formed, the Masonic fraternity taking charge of the corpse, and marched to McConnell's block; the bells of the city tolling, and the band with muffled drums beating, where the body in a metallic coffin, was deposited until Wednesday afternoon, when the last sad rites of burial of consigning ‘dust to dust’ of all that remained to earth of the late S. A. Judd was performed according to the Masonic ritual, Rev. S. S. N. Greely preaching the funeral sermon. The services were attended by the Grand Rapids Greys and other military, the several Fire companies, and an immense concourse of citizens. This sad scene has brought the war home to our very doors. The death of Captain Judd, who was universally respected by our citizens, and who was slain at the battle of Fair Oaks, gloriously fighting under the Stars and Stripes to preserve the inestimable blessings of our Union, has touched many a heart-chord in this community, and made us to feel the sad realities of war. This loss, though most keenly felt by his own family and relatives, is the loss of the whole community -- the Nation. Upon the rough and rugged path of the battle field he was ruthlessly slain by the murderous hands of rebels. He was rudely sent into the presence of Him who ‘ruleth all things well,’ where there are no wars or rumors of war, where all is peace, and love supreme prevades [sic] all, presides over all. And whilst we cherish and treasure up his memory in our heart of hearts, as one who fell valiantly fighting for the right -- the bravest of the brave -- let me earnestly pray for an influx of the Divine love that shall melt the hearts of obstinate rebels and again unite us in fraternal bonds of mutual sympathy and kindness, that we may again enjoy the blessings of a united, happy and prosperous people.”
Samuel Judd had indeed been popular with many of the men of Company A, and quite a few of his former comrades subscribed to a fund to place substantial memorial built over his remains in Fulton cemetery, Grand Rapids. The Grand Rapids Eagle wrote on June 13, 1863 that
a very appropriate and beautiful monument has just been completed and this day erected in the old City Cemetery, over the remains of our late esteemed fellow citizen, and lamented Captain Samuel A. Judd, who fell in the battle of Fair Oaks, bravely fighting under the Stars and Stripes, for Freedom and the Union. The monument is made of beautiful Italian marble, and is 11 feet high. Its base is made of 2 slabs of Ohio stone; its plinth is a square marble block 2 and a half feet high, with marble caps, on one side of which is chiseled the following inscription: ‘Samuel A. Judd, Captain of Company A, 3d Michigan Infantry volunteers, in the war for the Suppression of the Rebellion, killed in the Battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, May 31, 1862, aged 28 years, 10 days’; and on the other side: ‘This monument was erected by members of his company, who loved him as a brother, obeyed with alacrity his commands, and will during life, cherish the remembrance of his courage and patriotism.’ The spire is a pillar of plain white marble, square and tapering in form, 6 and a half feet in height, and upon which is chiseled a sabre, and upon the other a double triangle, square and compass. The monument is the work of Wm. Laraway & company, and it speaks for itself in praise of the good taste and skill displayed on it, by this accomplished artist.
And Charles Wright wrote home to his sister on August 9, 1863, “I am glad to hear that Cap. Judd has got a beautiful monument, and I expect to see it some day.”
In August of 1869 the Grand Army of the Republic Samuel Judd Post No. 49 in Grand Rapids was named in his honor. On August 5, “At a meeting . . . of the [G.A.R.], recently organized in this city, it was decided that the Post should hereafter be known and organized as ‘Judd Post No. 49, Department of Michigan.’ The name was chosen in honor of Captain Samuel A. Judd, of the 3rd Michigan Infantry, who went from this city at the commencement of the war and was killed at Fair Oaks, Virginia, while gallantly leading his command. He left many friends here by whom his virtues and his manly character will never be forgotten, and this society of veteran soldiers did well when they made choice of so honorable a name for their Post.”
Samuel Judd was interred in Fulton cemetery: block 7 lot 5.
In August of 1862 Clarissa applied for and received a widow’s pension (no. 415). In 1868 she married John Kellogg of Massachusetts and subsequently reported herself as guardian when she applied for and was granted a pension on behalf of her children (no. 125349).
Following the death of her second husband in 1887, Clarissa, who was living in Holyoke, Hampden County, Massachusetts, applied for a renewal of her former widow’s pension in 1901 which was granted, drawing $20 per month, and $30 per month by 1922. By 1922 she was living at 102 Elm Street in Holyoke, Massachusetts.