John A. Landis was born January 14, 1835 in Ohio. He was one of ten children born to Henry and Catherine Landis. According to the 1850 U.S. Census, the family was living in Clay Township, Decatur County, Indiana where Landis’ father farmed. By 1860 the family had relocated to Steady Run, Keokuk County, Iowa, although John was no longer living with the family.
On June 13, 1861, at age 26, Landis enlisted as a Private in Company I of the 1st Regiment of the Iowa Calvary. His residence was reported as Martinsburg, Keokuk County, Iowa. He was mustered into service August 3, 1861 at Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa. He was promoted to 1st Battalion Quartermaster on October 7, 1861 and transferred to Field and Staff. He was mustered out on April 10, 1862. He was appointed Captain of Company D of the 18th Iowa Infantry on June 6, 1862. He was mustered into service at Clinton, Clinton County, Iowa on August 6, 1862.
On January 8, 1863, while serving as Captain of Company D, Landis was severely injured in the Battle of Springfield, Missouri. Landis’ younger brother, David, also enlisted in the 18th Iowa Infantry, and was severely injured in the same battle. As a result of his wounds, John Landis resigned his commission on February 28, 1863 at St. Louis, Missouri. His brother, David, was discharged as a result of his wounds and died in December of 1863.
Landis’ life immediately after the war is not well documented. There are unsubstantiated reports that he married in 1863 and that his wife died the same year. What is known is that by 1906 he was living in Washington State. On April 5, 1906 he married Clara Louise Trundy in Bremerton, Kitsap County, Washington. The marriage resulted in at least three children. The 1910 U.S. Census shows John and Clara living in Black Lake, Thurston County, Washington with three children.
On December 21, 1912, John Landis joined the George H. Thomas Post No. 5 of the GAR based in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington.
On March 11, 1913 Landis was admitted to the Washington State Soldiers Home at Orting, Pierce County, Washington. Included in his record of application is a handwritten note from Landis on his business stationery. The letterhead reads “Capital Poultry Ranch, Olympia, Washington - John Landis, Proprietor”. On March 17, 1913 Landis transferred to the Soldiers Home Colony at Orting, Washington.
Landis’ obituary reports his final residence as Puyallup, Pierce County, Washington and notes that he lived in Olympia, Thurston County, Washington and Orting, Pierce County, Washington before coming to Puyallup. John A. Landis died on April 26, 1915 and is buried at Oakwood Hill Cemetery, Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington. Custer Post No. 6 of Tacoma, Washington coordinated the services. John’s wife, Clara Landis, died in 1958.
More information about John A. Landis's grave can be found here.