Brigadier John Lawrence Maxwell CBE MC Royal Artillery (1895-1972)
Colonel Norman James Maxwell (The Roundheads) (1834-1929)
J. Maxwell was born 13th March 1834 on the old Maxwell homestead in Plain Grove
Township, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania, second son of William and Nancy Maxwell.
His boyhood days were spent on the farm in the summer and attending district
school in the winter months. At the age of 17 he went to Mercer to learn the
wagon and carriage maker's trade living there for five years, when he relocated
to North Liberty and went into business for himself. In 1853 he married Elizabeth,
daughter of Mr. Benjamin Campbell, of Slippery Rock Township, Butler County.
They had a single daughter, Flora. With the coming of the Civil War he was,
with his brother George, one of the first to volunteer as a member of Capt.
Bentley's company. This company afterwards became Company E of the 100th Regiment,
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry Regiment (the Roundheads) of the Ninth Army
The company soon had their complement of 100 men and engaged in drill every few weeks until August, 1861, they were mustered into the United States service at Harrisburg, where the company and regimental organizations were effected. The company officers soon saw the potential in Maxwell and he was promoted to second sergeant and then commissioned two months later to second lieutenant. He was further promoted to first lieutenant in February 1863. Maxwell's company saw their first action in June of 1862 at James Island where Maxwell's brother George was wounded. Their next major battle was the second Battle of Bull Run on 29th August 1862. Though this battle was a Confederate rout, the company fought bravely. In the battle that Norman was wounded in the neck. The company went on the fight a Chantilly and Sharpsburg. Maxwell was absent from the regiment with the Ambulance Corps for the 1st Division for several months returning in April 1863 when he was promoted to Captain commanding Company E after Captain Bentley resigned.
The regiment went on to take part of the Siege of Vicksburg. Early in May 1864, Maxwell had a fall which resulted in injury to his right leg and he was hospitalized and thus missed the Battle of Spotsylvania where his regiment took severe casualties including his brother George who was injured again and his brother-in-law who was killed. Maxwell was back with his company at Cold Harbor on 2nd June 1864 and at the Battle of the Crater on 30th July 1864 where he was again injured. He was promoted to Major in November 1864 following the loss of many of the regiments ranking officers in the battles of the previous months. The regiment was then involved in the battle to retake Fort Stedman on 25th March 1865. Colonel Joseph Pentecost who was in command of the regiment at the beginning of the battle was mortally wounded and Major Maxwell took over. Fort Stedman was ultimately capture with no small part of the honor going to Major Maxwell.
This was the last action of the war for the regiment apart from some small skirmishes. Maxwell was promoted to the Colonel followed in April 1865, and so the young volunteer now a war bronzed veteran, was commander of one of the most famous regiments in the United States service. For gallant conspicuous services at the Battle of Fort Steadman, he was brevetted a Brigadier General, but he preferred to be known simply as the Colonel of the Roundheads. The regiment was discharged 24th July 1865, after nearly four years of active service, and the Colonel and his soldiers again resumed their peaceful vocations which war had interrupted.
Col. Maxwell moved with his family to Grove City in 1866 and engaged in the mercantile business for twelve years. In 1896, he was appointed as Adjutant and Commander of the Soldiers and Sailors Home at Erie. He spent twelve years at Erie, three years of which he served as Commander. On account of family health he resigned and returned to Grove City where he lived until his death in January 1929 just two months short of his 95th birthday.
General, Sir John Grenfell Maxwell PC GCB KCMG CVO DSO 1859-1929
Grenfell Maxwell was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool, on 13th August 1859 the
son of Robert Maxwell and his wife Maria Emma, daughter of John Pascoe Grenfell
an Admiral in the Brazilian Navy. His father Robert Maxwell was the son and
heir to Archibald Maxwell of Threave, a descendent of the Maxwells of Drumpark.
In 1879 John was commissioned into the 42nd Royal Highlanders, The Black Watch.
The Regiment joined the Lord Wolseley's Khartoom relief force in Egypt in 1882
and John was joined in his first action at the battle of Tel-el-Kebir.
Maxwell's regiment stayed on in Egypt as part of the army of occupation when he became one of the first British officers to enter the Egyptian service as a Staff Captain in the Egyptian Military Police. In 1884, Maxwell served in the Nile Campaign as Headquarters Camp Commandant and Provost-Marshal. Sir Francis Grenfell, the Sirdar, his maternal grandfather's brother, took Maxwell on to his personal staff and he was awarded the D.S.O. for his participation in the action at Giniss. He witnessed the whole reorganisation and training of the Egyptain Army and was with them at the battle of Omdurman when they finally retook the Sudan. John Maxwell was brevet Colonel in 1898 and was all but the last of his generation to leave the service of the Egyptian Army 1899.
In 1892 he had married Louise Selina daughter of Charles William Bonynge by whom he had an only daughter Helena Philae who married Lieut. Clifford Carver of the US. Navy. He went on to South Africa in 1899 where he Commanded the 14th Brigade in the South African War,. He was on Lord Roberts' march to Pretoria and was later appointed Military Governor of Pretoria and the Western Transvaal (1900) received the K.C.B. and the C.M.G. for his services. Between 1904 and 1908 he was in the staff of the Duke of Connaught in Ireland, London and Malta and was in 1907 appointed Major-General of the General Staff. From 1908 he was for four years General Officer Commanding in Egypt returning to the General Staff in Whitehall thereafter.
With the outbreak of the great war he was appointed Colonel of the Black Watch and returned to Egypt as commander of the British troops and commences a passive defence of the Suez Canal. For this service to the allies he receives many foreign honours and was made a K.C.M.G. In March 1916, Irish revolutionaries declare their independence and seize Dublin. Sir John was appointed Commander-in-Chief and Military Governor of Ireland. His tenure of office in Ireland was remarkable for the firm measures which he took against the rebel leaders. His action in executing a number of them caused him to be the subject of an attack in the House of Commons, led by Mr. John Redmond, the Home Rule leader and gained him the name "Bloody Maxwell" Later that year he returned to England and was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Northern Command at York mainly occupied in the training of recruits.
In 1919 he was promoted to full General. He returned to Egypt with Lord Milner's mission in 1920 and retired in 1922. He returned to Egypt again in 1923 travelling to Luxor to view the newly discovered tomb of Tutankhamen. Sir John Maxwell died at Capetown in South Africa on 20th February 1929.