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I'm wondering, of course, which of V.V.'s aunts wrote of his death. Was it Ada? If her letters shed any light on V.V.'s fourth wife (Margaret Rose Carroll), I'd be very interested!
My area of expetise is Hawaiian military history. That's how I came to learn of Volney Ashford. I was intrigued by him from the first. We share a strange history: We were both born in Ontario (I'm a Toronto boy). We both joined the Canadian militia (in fact, served in "sister" cavalry regiments). We both reached the rank of Captain. We both moved to Hawaii and then to the San Francisco Bay Area. As I mentioned, I discovered much later that he was buried not 20 minutes from here. Of course, I never knew any of this until I started researching his life in earnest.
I can only comment briefly on the nature of his personal losses...of course, there were friends he lost in the war (his best friend and future brother-in-law, "E.E." Dodds was horribly disfigured). The death of his sister Florence and his brother James (by drowning). His first wife, Mary Jane, died in '78. He very nearly lost his own life in a spectacular train wreck. His second wife Lena, as you know, died in '82 from complications arising from childbirth.
V.V. died at Hayward (a district of Oakland) and is buried in a G.A.R. plot at Piedmont (in the Oakland Hills). His stone is so faded you can hardly read it now.
Hope to hear from you soon.