Geddes House

Geoffroy Hall

Floor Plans

Rooms 7305-7343

House Details

Floor #: 7 East
Gender: Female
Capacity: 55
Room #s: 7305-7343
A/C: Yes
Bed Type: Lofted
Floor Type: Solid Surface
Room Types: Double
Room Size: 11' 3" x 16' 2"
Window Size: 4' wide x 5' tall
Ceiling Height: 9'

House History

James Lorraine Geddes (1879), James Lorraine Geddes was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 19, 1827. His family immigrated to Canada in 1837. Geddes returned to Scotland in 1843 to live with relatives. In 1845, he moved to Calcutta, India and studied at the British military academy for two years. After graduating, he joined the Royal horse artillery and served seven years under Sir Hugh Gough, Sir Charles Napier, and Sir Colin Campbell. For his service, Geddes was awarded a medal and made a Colonel (1854-1857) of the Canadian cavalry. He resigned his post in Canada and moved to a farm near Vinton, Iowa. In addition to farming, Geddes taught at a country school. When the Civil War started, he resigned as from the school to became a Private (1861) in Company D of the Iowa 8th Infantry. He was promoted to Captain (1861), Lieutenant Colonel (1861-1862), Colonel (1862-1865), and Brevet Brigadier General (1865). During the war, he fought at Shiloh and was wounded and taken prisoner (1862-1863) by the Confederate Army. After being released, Geddes went on to fight at Vicksburg and Jackson, Mississippi. He was briefly sent to Brownsville, Texas and then to Memphis, Tennessee where he was the Provost-Marshall of the district. His last major battle was in Mobile, Alabama campaign where his brigade helped capture Spanish Fort. He resigned from service on June 30, 1865. Geddes returned to Vinton and became Superintendent of the Iowa Institution for the Education of the Blind (1867-1869). He then joined the staff of the Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University) as its Steward (1870-1882). A year later, he was made Professor (1871-1883) of Military Tactics and Engineering. During his time at the College, Geddes was also Acting President (1877-1878), Treasurer (1880-1883), and Treasurer, Recorder, and Land Agent (1885-1887). General Geddes wrote several war-songs, which were set to music and became widely popular. Among them were "The Soldier's Battle-Prayer" and " The Stars and Stripes."