Caroline's Top Matches
About Caroline Merritt (Warren)
First wife of Major General Wesley Merritt. Born Caroline Warren in Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1849, Mrs. Merritt was approximately a dozen years younger than her celebrated husband, a West Point alumnus who had first risen to fame as one the Union's "boy generals" during the American Civil War. The couple were wed in Germany in May 1871, while he was on an extended tour of Europe that included stays in England, Italy, and Austria as well. Their 22-year marriage, although childless, would be a happy one. Enjoying travel, they returned to Europe for another eight months when he was on leave in 1873. A devoted military wife, Caroline accompanied her husband to his various posts during the Indian Wars, from Texas to the Great Plains, but particularly enjoyed the years they spent at West Point, where he served as Superintendent of his alma mater from 1882-1887. His consequent promotion and assumption of departmental commands later took the couple to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and St. Paul, Minnesota, but while the dangers posed by Indian hostilities were then largely over, their lives were shadowed by Caroline's development of kidney disease. Merritt took her to New York for treatment, then to Fort Monroe, Virginia, where it was hoped that she would find the gentler weather more beneficial. After her death there of "acute chronic nephritis" at the age of 44, she was interred in the post cemetery here at West Point, where she had spent her happiest years. Deeply grieved by her death, General Merritt, then 56, would return to the battlefield during the Spanish American War five years later. During the interim his military duties and family connections brought him to Chicago, where he found a kindred spirit in Laura Williams, the daughter of his close friend Norman Williams, a prominent local attorney. On October 28, 1898, he married 27-year-old Laura in London, England, after his return from the occupied Philippines. The second Mrs. Merritt, who survived the general, saw that he was interred beside Caroline after his death from heart disease in 1910.