Civil War History
This elegant pre-Civil War historic estate with Gardens was the residence of Dr. Edward Kittoe, physician and friend of Ulysses S. Grant, who lived two doors down.
It was constructed sometime between 1845 and 1850 and was first occupied by Alex Young. The original portion of the house was constructed of Galena Brick and may have been Federal Style in appearance. Sometime prior to the Civil War, the home was purchased by Dr. Edward D. Kittoe who enlarged the house with additions completed in 1861 and then again in 1870, upon his return from his duties as Surgeon of Volunteers in the Civil War. The exterior remains relatively unchanged since the late 1800s.
Dr. Kittoe was recorded as a physician practicing on Main Street in Galena in the 1854 City of Galena Directory. In an 1860’s city directory he is listed as living in the home on the Hill and High Streets.
What was Dr. Kittoe like as a person? His obituary describes him as “a very modest man who shunned notoriety… No man living had a kinder or more sympathetic heart. He despised falsehood, hypocrisy and sham, and was incapable of a mean or despicable act…Few men have done as much good in their lives as he did.”
Appointed Regimental Surgeon of the 45th Illinois Infantry in August of 1861, Dr. Kittoe was promoted to Surgeon of the Volunteers in December of 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln. Placed on the personal staff of General Grant in 1863, he was breveted as Lieutenant Colonel Medical Inspector, United States Army by the close of the war. (Galena National Register Historic District)
Dr. Kittoe is not one of Galena’s Civil War generals, but his importance to the war effort was greater than that of many of his celebrated neighbors. After serving on U.S. Grant’s personal staff, he accompanied Sherman on his March to Atlanta as Medical Director of the Army of the Tennessee (See Photo: Kittoe on left of cannon, Sherman on right). It was Kittoe who worked to institute more sanitary conditions and better medical procedures during the war. His efforts probably saved thousands of lives, and he continued to care for Civil War veterans long after the end of the war. (Galena’s Civil War Generals )
Dr. Kittoe was one of General U.S. Grant’s closest friends in Galena. Before the Civil War, both families lived up on the west side where the Grant Family rented a house on High Street. Dr. Kittoe is mentioned many times in published letters written by General Grant. President and Mrs. Grant would have visited the Kittoe’s in their home at 105 S. High Street when they came to Galena after the war. Gen. John Rawlins, General William Rowley, and Dr. Kittoe were very close friends while living in Galena after returning home.
Dr. Kittoe on the Left and General Sherman on right during Civil War
In 1875, while in the White House, President Grant wrote the following letter to General R.C. Schrenck, who at the time was Minister to England.
“Let me introduce you to an old friend of mine, Dr. Kittoe of Galena, Il. and his daughter, who visit Europe for a time. The Dr. served as surgeon during the rebellion and was Medical Director on my staff during the latter portion of my service in the west. He is a gentleman Galena people esteem very highly and I’m sure you will be pleased with him also.
When Dr. Kittoe died in September of 1887, his funeral procession was reported as one of the largest ever seen in Galena. After the service at the Grace Episcopal Church, of which he had been a member for over 30 years, he was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
(Marsh, Diann “A Garden for Dr. Kittoe.” Miners’ Journal [Galena] Fall 2005 Published Quarterly by The Galena /Jo Daviess County Historical Society)
Former Abbey's High Street Bed & Breakfast
From 2000-2021, the home was owned by Tom & Kathleen Meyer. When they purchased the home, it was in a disarray. Kathleen jokes that she had to really twist Tom's arm to convince him that it was the right house for them. When he finally got on board, they started the restoration. They did most of the renovations themselves and spent over 20 years making the Bed & Breakfast a success. After retiring and move closer to family, the Meyer's lovingly sold the home to us; where we promise to continue the same care and passion they had for both the home and guests.